2023: Gov Sule’s second term bid and the opposition within


By Peter Ahemba

That political parties have since concluded their primaries ahead of the forthcoming 2023 general elections is no longer news. Already, candidates for the various elective positions; ranging from the State House of Assembly to office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria have emerged and are mapping out strategies to face their opponents in the general elections to be conducted by the nation’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), few months from now.

In Nassrawa state, the incumbent Governor Abdullahi A. Sule is the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the governorship election. Governor Sule, in his second term bid, will be slugging it out with David Ombugadu of the leading opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and candidates of other opposition political parties in the state, who are also said to be working hard to unseat the Governor.

The worrisome situation within the ruling party in this direction is however that, apart from the opposition to Governor Sule’s re-election bid by other political parties, the Governor’s quest to remain in office beyond 2023 is also being challenged by anti-party elements within the APC, including some of his appointees. It was alleged that, while many of the appointees have shifted their loyalty to some political godfathers, many others now serve as informants by revealing government’s top secrets to political enemies at the detriment of the electoral fortunes of the Governor and his party.

Worried by this looming political danger, the Governor recently summoned his political appointees, numbering over 200 to Government House for a meeting and warned them to amend their ways and be loyal to his administration or resign honourably. This warning, according to a highly placed source at the Government House was necessitated by brazen display of divided loyalty and involvement in anti- party activities as an aftermath of the recently concluded Primary elections of the ruling APC in the State for State and National Assembly where some aggrieved aspirants defected to other political parties.

Some of the political appointees have been accused of either masterminding the defection or serving as accomplices, using the machinery of government to mislead the gullible party supporters.

According to the Governor, he has no intention of firing any of his appointees but will not hesitate to do so if they remain adamant. The Governor also decried the acrimony existing between the strata of political appointees as a result of clash of interest, warning that his administration will not hesitate to get rid of anyone whose conducts are not in tandem with the direction of his administration.

“I don’t want to fire anybody. I believe that it’s important first to ask people out of respect, to either change their ways to be loyal to the government or quit the government. It has become obvious that some of the political appointees don’t see themselves as part of the administration, giving their loyalty to others outside of the government”

“What a reasonable and honourable person will do, if I am not loyal to somebody, I have no business working for that person. If you don’t think your loyalty is to the government, please be a human being and resign”

Stakeholders of the ruling APC in the state averred that the unwholesome conduct of some of the political appointees was causing a set back to the Governor’s second term bid in particular and the electoral fortunes of the party in the coming elections generally. This position was indeed, collaborated by a recent assertion by the Governor that many of his appointees could not even go to mobilise members of their communities to register during the recently concluded Continues Voter Registration (CVR) excercise, regretting that it effort was left in the hands of very few people working hard to do it. Where are you going to get the voters if you are not doing CVR?” He queried.

Checks by Nigerian Pilot revealed that, shortly after the Governor’s meeting with his appointees, many of them, who were associated with the alleged act of conspiracy and anti- party activities seemed to have abandoned what critics described as their partners – in – crime to avoid being sacked, even as the Governor and the party machinery are said to be closely monitoring the affected appointees for appropriate sanction.

Despite the plots for the downfall of the party by enemies within, loyalists of the APC insist that the party remains unbeatable as according to them the ruling party has the structures enough to subdue opposition parties both within the state and at the national levels as far as the 2023 general elections are concern.

Speaking in the same direction, a political analysts in the state, Alh. Mukhtar Wakeel said the APC has all it takes to retain power in the forthcoming general elections. He however, advised Governor Sule to also extend same warning by reading the Riot Act to Local Government Chairmen and Overseers of Development Areas in the state, including Councillors, who are members of the APC family to ensure that they close ranks and work closely with the party leadership in their respective communities to lead the party to victory.

The re-election of Engr. Abdullahi Sule as well as ensuring victory of all the Senatorial, House of Representatives and State Assembly candidates of the

APC must be in the front burner. According to him, it is glaring that APC has all it takes to retain the position of Nasarawa State as the home of the APC going by the remarkable achievements of Governor Abdullahi Sule across the state as well as the quality of APC candidates in the forthcoming general elections.

Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Pensions matters, Abdullahi Adokwe Ladan also posited that his boss has demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities and commitment to the service of the state and deserve a second term in office.

“His Excellency (Governor Sule) has been able to complete all ongoing projects and initiated/ completed many others, ranging from infrastructure, healthcare provision, agriculture, civil service and pensions reforms, among others”

Although the opposition political parties, particularly the Peoples Democratic Party in the state has vowed to sack Governor Sule from the Shendam road Government House come 2023, many of the electorates, especially those from the grassroots are singing praises of the Governor for what they described as outstanding performance. To them, the Governor has done well, especially in the areas of peace and security and deserves a second term, hence, advising those aspiring for the number one seat of the state to wait till 2027.