HASSAN JIRGI writes on the looming battle between the incumbent Yobe State governor, Ibrahim Geidam and former Governor Bukar Abba Ibrahim
Governor Ibrahim Geidam was elected deputy governor of Yobe State on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in 2007, but became governor on January 27, 2009 following the death of Governor Mamman Bello Ali. After serving out Ali’s term, Geidam contested and won the 2011 governorship election in the state and was re-elected for a second term in the 2015 elections.
This means that he would have spent 10 years in 2019. Unlike some of his colleagues, Geidam was initially more concerned with who succeeds him rather than the Senate. He was quoted on several occasions to having said that he will not hand over the state’s number one office to an absentee politician, though he stressed that he’s not the one to give power, but God. Against this backdrop, he is insisting on a successor, who knows what the masses need and is domiciled in the state so as to continue with the good works and remarkable developmental stride in the state. But, youths in Yobe East senatorial district, where he hails from are calling on him to contest for the Senate seat. The youth, who stormed government house, Damaturu, recently, were received by the deputy governor, Engr Abubakar Ali.
Their leader, Alhaji Umar Kalli, who presented a letter urging Gaidam to contest for the senatorial, said the people of Yobe East, not just the youth are convinced that the governor is best suited to represent them in the Senate given his track record of performance as governor and his personal leadership qualities.
“We believe that although Governor Gaidam is successfully completing his second term in office, we cannot allow him to go and rest. We need him in the Senate because we believe he is the best person who can represent our people there,” Kalli said. The youth leader begged the governor not to turn down the request, saying youths in the area are solidly behind him as the political leader of the state. he also said that youths and like-minded individuals in the area have resolved to purchase the APC senatorial nomination form for him. While receiving the letter on behalf of the governor, the deputy governor said that he will pass on their message to his principal even as he assured them that the governor will respond positively to their request.
“I congratulate you for having a leader like my boss, Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, whose life of service to our state is known to everyone. I am here to listen to you and to convey your message to him and I will do just that. And I can assure you that he will respond positively,” he said. The deputy governor added that Gaidam is the undisputed political leader of the state whether in or out of office, adding that the state will continue to look up to him for political leadership. Should the governor heed to the call, he will have a former governor of the state, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, to contend with. Ibrahim was governor of Yobe State between 1999 and 2007.
He also served as governor of the state from January 1992 to November 1993, during the aborted Third Republic. In 2007, he was elected to the Senate for the Yobe East. He ran for re-election in 2011 and won. He was elected for the third term in 2015. Already, crisis is brewing in the state and may rock the relationship between Gaidam and Ibrahim, following Gaidam’s declaration of intention to replace Ibrahim, who have spent in years in the Senate. According to the governor’s spokesman, Abdullahi Bego, Gaidam is determined to take the Yobe East senatorial ticket from Ibrahim, because he has failed to do anything tangible for his people. “Gaidam remains popular enough to get the APC ticket because of his performance.”
He said, adding that the people in the constituency have decided to retire the three-time senator and former governor, politically. On Geidam’s chances, Bego said: “The governor will defeat Ibrahim easily should he decide to run for the election. But if he is a man of his words, I do not expect him to run again because he has said on record that he is not going to run if Gaidam is running.”
But, the senator, in a statement by his media aide, Yusuf Ali, described Geidam’s claims as funny because everyone knows that the governor is banking on manipulated indirect primaries to pick the APC ticket. He therefore challenged the governor to a direct primary in which members of the party would be free to choose their candidate.
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