Kebbi: A land of equity crying for equity

UMARU MARADUN goes down the path of history as he x-rays the battle for political succession in Kebbi state, especially within the ruling PDP as the country moves towards 2015

Precisely in 1806, the headquarters of the vast Kebbi kingdom, Birnin-Kebbi under the watch of Sarkin Kabi, Muhammadu Hodi was sacked.  Birnin-Kebbi, however, maintained its status as the capital of the western caliphate of the Fulani dynasty under the leadership of Sheikh Abdullahi Fodio as Sarkin Gwandu.
Original inhabitants re-grouped to form the present Argungu town and neighbouring towns and settlements which later transformed to the present Argungu emirate with still the title of Sarkin Kabi.

The sacking of Muhammadu Hodi from Birnin-Kebbi, never ended the hostility as the Kabawas re-grouped and continued fighting the Fulanis in the established Sokoto caliphate with a view to regaining the control of Birnin-Kebbi as their capital.
The hostilities continued unabatedly with serious distrust between Fulanis and Kabawa clans.
The colonial intervention of 1903, never resolved the distrust and superiority complex between the Fulanis and Kabawas, as it continued up to the era of Sultan of Sokoto, Hassan ibn Muazu when the then emir of Argungu, Muhammad Sama sent an official invitation to the Sultan for the annual fishing festival in 1938.

The Sultan’s visit brokered peace between the Fulani clan and Kabawas, but to some extent the hatred and ill-feelings of past events, remained firmly in the minds of Kabawas.
Would history repeat itself in the 2015 general elections, as Governor Saidu Usman Dakingari, Sarkin Fulani Gwandu who is serving second term, is rooting for senatorial seat of Kebbi north senatorial district.

The present Kebbi state consists of four emirate councils namely; Gwandu, Argungu,Yauri and Zuru. The political delineation of the three senatorial districts, paved way for realignment of the 21 local government areas for political convenience.
The Kebbi central carved eight out of ten local government areas in Gwandu emirate; Birnin-Kebbi, Kalgo, Gwandu,Bunza, Jega, Aliero, Maiyama and Koko-Besse, while the North senatorial district comprises of four local government areas in Argungu emirate comprising  Argungu, Augie, Arewa and Dandi, plus the two remaining local government areas of Gwandu emirate, Bagudo and Suru to make it six.

For Kebbi south senatorial district, it consists of  Yauri, Ngaski, Shanga, Zuru, Fakai, Sakaba and Danko-Wasagu local governments  of the two emirates of Yauri and Zuru.
Although, there was never a time political stakeholders contemplated allotting the senatorial ticket to the two local governments of Bagudo and Suru which were carved out of Gwandu emirate, but Governor Dakingari by this political realignment, is eminently qualified to contest for Kebbi north senatorial seat.

The only snag however is that people of the traditional Argungu emirate would feel humiliated in the scheme of things. This is because, technically, the seat had been rotated among  the four local government areas of the emirate since 1999 from late Senators Baba Adamu Augie, Adamu Bagaye,  Sani Kamba, Umar Abubakar and the incumbent, Senator Isah Galau.
History may repeat itself in respect of the incumbent senator. Except the late Augie who died before the completion of his four year term, all other senators served one full term without the benefit of a return ticket.

Sometimes last year, the Argungu Emirate Development Association (AREDA) held its national meeting, where it encouraged its members to develop interest in the governorship slot. The meeting observed that the incumbent governor was representing Kebbi north senatorial district politically, but the attention of his administration focused more on Gwandu emirate. The meeting therefore agreed that the traditional allocation of gubernatorial running mate to the emirate would not be welcomed, especially, with the perceived senatorial ambition of Dakingari.

Although, succession battle for the exalted position of the state governor, had started generating controversy within the political circle of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the generality of the people. The rumoured support being extended to the aspiration of Major General Bello Sarki Yaki (rtd) by Dakingari has been breeding discontentment within the stakeholders of the party.

Another issue of discourse, was the plot of the de facto leader of the PDP in the state and Dakingari’s cousin, Lawali Dakingari to install the state PDP chairman, Alhaji Mansur Shehu as the party’s flag bearer.
Notwithstanding this ploy, there is serious opposition from  amongst other party stalwarts who are ready to run for the governorship. The list includes among others , Senator Atiku Bagudu, Minister of Special Duties,  Kabiru Tanimu Turaki(SAN) and Dr. Samaila Sambawa.

Another challenge that may face the ruling PDP in the selection of its candidate for the forthcoming election is the issue of zoning as people of the south senatorial district are clamouring for the slot. A former member of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Mohammed Shindi contended that, the exalted position of the governor should be zoned to the south senatorial district comprising Zuru and Yauri emirates.

According to him, the south is the rightful owner of the slot going by the zoning arrangement since the creation of the state in 1991.
He argued that the Southern zone produced Alhaji Abubakar Musa during the Babangida abortive democracy of defunct NRC and SDP. Upon the nation’s return to democracy in 1999, the slot was given to the Central zone which produced Adamu Aliero who served for two terms. After him came  Kebbi north which produced the incumbent now serving his second and final term in office.
The former lawmaker stressed that, the Kebbi south senatorial district is full of potential and qualified persons for the wgovernorship.

Also speaking to our reporter, a  youthful politician from the Central zone, Nasiru Magaji faulted the claims of political manipulation by Gwandu emirate or central zone. He noted that in democracy, every eligible person is free to contest for election, and so it has been Kebbi.

According to him, when Musa contested election against Abubakar Koko of Gwandu emirate in 1991, nobody raised zoning issue as he was widely supported by the electorate.
“Let me give more examples on this contentious issue of gubernatorial contest. Late  Gen. Musa Bamaiyi from Zuru contested for PDP ticket, Alhaji Hassan Kangiwa, Umaru
Abubakar Tafida from Argungu emirate also contested for the defunct ANPP and CPC ticket respectively, and nobody stopped them”, he added.

He called for caution amongst the political class to guard against the promotion of sectional interest over the state in general.
Kebbi state, a land of equity is now set for another political cajoling, intrigue and clandestine efforts as 2015 election draws nearer. As the cry and search for equity is on, will the people get it?

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