Secrecy dominates Niger Politics

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Prof Jerry Gana’s secret meeting with Gov Muazu over Niger 2015 Governorship elections has left stakeholders wondering, writes Maryam Musa 

Niger State is largely dominated by the Nupe, as statistically speaking 70% of the population in Niger State is Nupe. Gbagyi and Hausa represent the remaining 30%. But political power at the upper level is divided almost equally. The rotation of political power (PDP Zoning System) is a strong element in the Niger State political system. There seem to be a binding trust between the three parties since 1999. But 2015 general election is coming in with a strong hurricane that is about to destabilize the zoning system in Niger State.

In 2009 Engr. Y. Y. Sani, Chairman Publicity Committee for the Ndaduma State Movement, said “The movement for the creation of the new state out of the present Niger State dates back to 1970. The creation of the present Niger State was at the instance of the Nupes in Niger State. But when the state was created alongside Sokoto State, out of the former North-Western State, there were other states also created as at that time, and then when the agitation for Niger State came up from the Nupes, that state was created.

In the Zoning structure, the Nupe who are the majority (70%) fall under Zone A, the Gbagyi and Hausa fall under Zone B and C. Political power shift to each zone after four or eight years of democratic dispensation by a particular zone, it shift sequentially A-B-C and over again.

After several attempts for state creation, the Zone A majority felt they are not getting a full measure of the dividend of the rotational system. They are warming up to take over the state in the 2015 general election.

The incumbent governor, Dr. Muazu babangida Aliyu, is from Zone B. Therefore, from the zoning system, it is the turn of Zone C to take charge of government. But the zoning system is about to face a structural problem. The Nupe are expected to take charge when power shift to Zone A. But there indigenous Nupes living in Zone C area, in areas like Wushishi, Lokongoma etc.

The political drama about to happen in 2015 is as a result of the new political quest for equality in the power sharing formula allegedly introduced by Prof. Jerry Gana, former Information Minister under Obansanjo/Atiku dispensation. There is an underground movement to anoint a Nupe candidate for the 2015 election from Zone C.

The gimmicks of the drama is, the Jerry Gana movement is not destabilizing the zoning system, but will mobilize all resources for a Nupe candidate from Zone C to contest in the 2015 gubernatorial election. This is an eye-opener to the people and the political class in Niger State, that Nupe deserve more than just a Zone A power shift arrangement. With a 70% majority in the state, if a Nupe candidate from Zone C contests in the forthcoming gubernatorial election; from simple statistics, the candidate will win on a landslide. A support from Nupe minority in Zone C if aligned with a full support from the entire Zone A, the candidate will win more than 60% of the votes.

As the political mathematics appear real and effective, it has caused some thunderstorm in Gov. Muazu Aliyu’s 2015 power-play tactics. Two months ago Prof. Jerry Gana was reported to have come back with the Nupe candidate agenda for 2015 Guber. Series of meetings were held in Abuja, Minna and Bida on the agenda, and a high-level Working Committee was set up to oversee the affairs of the special movement. Powerful members from the Nupe political class, elites and youth leaders are all involved in the process.

Pundits generally believe that the Nupe seem to be united on this course as the leadership of the movement has cut-across both PDP and APC on an equal representation scale.
The reason for the unity is to ensure that the movement leaves no room for any form of intrusion by an external power. The youth wing has been more active in carrying out day to day consultations, consolidating the mission of the agenda.

 

In order to neutralize this plan, Gov. Muazu Aliyu found it necessary to discuss with the leadership of the group over how to negotiate the power deal in the 2015 Guber race. The underlying currents of the whole deal are to keep the People Democratic Party (PDP) in power at all level in the forthcoming 2015 election.

Political forces of the opposition are yet to gain a solid ground in the politics of Niger State. The reason for this trend of affair is as a result of the dimensions and influence traditional culture plays in the political socialization of the people. Since 1999, the Nupe has affiliated themselves to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The dispensation of Gov. Abdulkadir Kure was more of a one-party affair all road lead to the PDP. Gov. Kure, who happens to be the first Nupe democratically elected governor in the fourth republic, completed his tenure from 1999-20O7 without much push from the opposition. It is the regime of Gov. Kure that set Niger State on the track of one-party system. This was due to his ability to bring together all the political forces within the Nupe axis under one roof.

If the Jerry Gana group and Gov. Muazu Aliyu did not reach an agreement that favors both parties, the Jerry Gana group might pool a grand support for Hon. Bashir Lokogoma, a graduate of University of Abuja, former Deputy Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly and House Committee Chairman on Information. Hon. Lokogoma (PDP) is representing Wushishi Constituency. Hon. Lokogoma will be contesting under the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

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