As the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, warms up for the 2023 general elections, politicians and political parties are angling for the elections that may end the eight years reign of some governors including President Muhammadu Buhari. In Bauchi state, it will be like a “dog and the baboon parable”. Governor Bala Mohammed may face a strong challenge from the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC. This may be due to glaring evidence of the ongoing leadership style of the governor or the same factors that favoured him to unseat the then Governor MA Abubakar in 2019.
For the 2023 general elections, APC in Bauchi state is strategising to bounce back to power. APC is getting stronger by the day. This may be due to many reasons including underperformance by the government, marginalisation, alleged corruption, amongst others.
Below are the names of top politicians that may emerge as the 2023 APC governorship candidate to challenge Governor Bala Mohamed if he is to seek a second term in office or he’s to represent his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; though Senator Abdul Ningi may also join the race under the same party he lost to the incumbent during the last primary election conducted.
Barrister Mohammed Abdullahi Abubabakar, 63, is the immediate past Governor of Bauchi state and the 2019 APC governorship candidate. He lost to Bala Mohammed in 2019 governorship election. Abubakar served between May 2015 and May 2019. Prior to his emergence as governor, he was Bauchi state attorney general and commissioner for justice.
He is well positioned to represent APC to battle the incumbent governor. MA has the good record of regular payment of salaries.
Senator Lawal Yahaya Gumau
Gumau, 52, is the APC senator representing Bauchi South. He was elected in 2018 to replace Senator Mallam Wakili who died in 2018. Prior to being a senator, Gumau represented Toro federal constituency in the House of Representatives between 2011 and 2018. Many believe he is not exposed enough to govern the state. His poor representation at the National Assembly may disqualify.
Dr. Musa Babayo, known as Talban, was chairman of Tertiary Education Fund (TETfund). The banker turned politician hails from Azare, Bauchi state. He was a member of PDP and joined APC in October 2015. Talban Katagum doesn’t have any structure and his deceptive mechanism may work against him just as he has never won his ward in Azare.
Senator Jika Dauda Haliru, popularly known as Dokaji, his traditional title. Haliru, 44, is the senator representing Bauchi Central. He was speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly and two-term member of the House of Representatives (Darazo/Ganjuwa, 2007 to 2015). He lacks the ability to govern Bauchi state.
Captain Bala Mohammed Jibrin was APC governorship aspirant who lost at the primary election to the then Governor MA. Abubakar in 2019. He was ommissioner for works; education; science and technology.
Many believe he is in the race for federal appointment, while; others believed he has good structure and vision to challenge the opposition party if given the mandate.
- Amb. Yusuf Maitama
Tuga, 53, is currently the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany. He spent several years in the private sector as the CEO of Nordic Oil and Gas Services. In 2007, he was elected as to represent Gamawa federal constituency in the House of Representatives, a position he occupied until 2011. Tuga ran for governor in 2011 and 2015. His connection with the federal government and support from his constituent, may stand him in good stead.
Hon. Farouq Mustapha represented Katagum in the House of Representatives from 2003 to 2007. In 2018, he dumped the APC for the newly formed New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) to run for the Bauchi North senatorial seat, which he lost. Shortly after the election, Mustapha returned to APC. He is a grassroots politician, admired by many. His existing structure can help him to unseat the incumbent governor if given the mandate.
Abdullahi Babani Tela is serving top Nigerian Customs officer. His posters have surfaced on the internet and rumours are rife he is watering ground for an undisclosed person.
Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, former chief of air staff, and now an ambassador, is another possible candidate for governorship. Sanusu Mohamed a social commentator described him as a failed candidate considering his record when he managed the nation’s air force.
Whatever the case, only time will tell if any of these candidates can dethrone Governor Bala Mohammed if he is to seek a second term in office.
Umar Usman Duguri,