The drums have since started beating ahead of the 2023 general elections, with actors in the political scene already taking the cue and joining the fray. In Nasarawa West senatorial district of Nasarawa state, one man stands out tall among other aspirants for the senatorial ticket under the banners of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Hon Ahmed Aliyu Wadada is indeed a household name not only across Nasarawa West senatorial district but also the entire state. Hon Wadada is a politician that has paid his dues and in reciprocity, he enjoys grassroots support and followership across the length and breadth of Nasarawa state.
The two-term former member of the House of Representatives and presently, Chairman of the Peugeot Automobile Nigeria, PAN, Limited, straddled the political space when he was elected into the green chamber of the National Assembly from 2003 to 2011.
He was the pioneer Chairman of the House Committee on Capital Market and Institutions, and was concurrently a member of the House Committees on Gas, National Security and Intelligence, and Media and Publicity.
In his second term in the House of Representatives, he was the Chairman of the House Committee on Information and National Orientation, a member of Committees of the Federal Capital Territory, Sports, and Police Affairs.
It was during his time as Chairman of House Committee on Information and National Orientation that the Freedom of Information Act 2011 was enacted.
Between 2011 and 2012, Hon Wadada was appointed Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Hon. Minister of the Federal Capital Territory on Budget, Project Monitoring and Evaluation, as well as National Assembly Matters.
In 2015, Wadada, in answering the call of his people to represent the zone at the upper chamber of the National Assembly, contested for the seat of the senate on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The election was keenly contested against Senator Abdullahi Adamu of the APC.
The 2015 Nasarawa West senatorial election ended in controversies, with Hon Wadada heading to the election petition tribunal armed with incontrovertible evidence suggesting the election was manipulated in favour of Senator Adamu. He later abandoned his cause after his late father prevailed on him to withdraw the matter from the tribunal.
In 2019, Hon Wadada joined the race to occupy the Shendam Road Government House, having defected to the APC in 2016. It was time for him to test his popularity and acceptance across the state and he actually proved his mettle when he came second during the governorship primary election.
Pundits agree generally that loyalty is part of the glue that holds relationships together. Families, friendships, marriages, clans, organisations, nations, regions and states all depend, at least in part, on loyalty to remain stable in times of difficulty.
They argue that loyalty can induce and sustain cooperation. On his part, since losing the party primary election to incumbent Governor A. A. Sule, Hon Wadada has demonstrated unalloyed loyalty both to the APC and the state government. Instead of pandering to the calls of some of his admirers, for him to defect to another party and challenge Engineer Sule at the polls, Wadada instead became the chairman of the APC campaign council. It’s worthy of note that, it was only during his time as the chairman of the campaign council that President Muhammadu Buhari was finally able to win election in Nasarawa state.
Not only that, as a demonstration of his loyalty, Wadada, rather than pick issues with the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Tanko Al-Makura, for supporting Engineer Sule become governor, worked tirelessly to further concretise the relationship between the two. He became a cement that binds the relationship between the former governor and the incumbent.
A major stakeholder sharing his view on the electoral value of Wadada, said the APC will do itself great disservice if it fails to reward Wadada’s loyalty by making him the senatorial candidate of the party in Nasarawa West.
According to the stakeholder, Wadada is the only politician that has the experience, connection, grassroots appeal and wherewithal to not only provide quality representation but also attract development to the zone and state at large.
It’s no wonder that, Wadada has in his political camp every politician worth his salt from the zone, including former secretary to the state government, Alhaji Aliyu Tijani, former state assembly members, ex-commissioners, former top government officials, some prominent retired uniform men and former council chairmen amongst others.
There’s therefore the need to draw attention of the APC in Nasarawa state to seek to be fair and just by ensuring that Wadada gets the ticket of the party for the senatorial seat. This is even more expedient, considering the fluid political landscape in the country, especially with the emergence of the new New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), with its potential to upset the cart.
Since the emergence of Senator Abdullahi Adamu as the national chairman of the APC, there were indications that the party may seek to impose a candidate for the zone. Hon Wadada may be willing to accept the outcome of the party primary election if the process involved is transparent, free and fair.
On the matter of the national chairman of the party, who many believed, may not be amenable to a Wadada candidature, based on their previous encounter in the political terrain, there’s the need to imbibe the spirit of forgiveness This is based on the premise that politicians are like footballers on the pitch who will readily go for each others throat during the game but will shake hands and embrace each other after the match.
Forgiveness in politics is a recurrent decimal if not lots of people will not be on the scene. Even the national chairman of the APC is a shining example. During his time as governor of Nasarawa State, it was alleged that Senator Adamu took permission from then president Olusegun Obasanjo, to deal with President Buhari. Not only that, in 2003, Adamu ensured that traditional rulers shut their palaces against a visiting Buhari. President Buhari must have forgiven him, to have paved the way for Senator Adamu to become the national chairman of the APC.
The APC, therefore, should ensure justice and fairness in the coming party primaries, especially during the Nasarawa West senatorial district primary election, as anything short of that, may have negative consequences on the electoral fortune of the party.
Galadima writes in from Masaka, Karu Local Government Area, Nasarawa State.