By Mallam Yusuf Suleiman Keffi
As the country gears towards the 2023 general elections, already there are ongoing permutations and realignments as politicians jostle to occupy various political offices both at the national and subnational levels.
In Nasarawa State, particularly the western senatorial zone, politicking has since commenced in earnest with stalwarts from across political divides positioning themselves for various political offices, especially the Nasarawa West senatorial ticket.
Since the disclosure by none other than the Nasarawa State governor, Engineer Abdullahi A. Sule, confirming that the incumbent senator and first civilian governor of the state, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, is no longer in the race, stalwarts of the ruling APC in the zone have breast up to this window of opportunity and openly declare their intentions to vie for the exalted seat.
Leading this array of political juggernauts from the Nasarawa West senatorial zone, the name of Hon. Ahmed Aliyu Wadada continues to ring a bell and from all indications, remains the candidate to beat ahead of the 2023 election.
Like him or not, Hon Wadada, a two-term former member of the Federal House of Representatives and presently chairman of Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Limited (PAN), has created a political niche for himself and is a household name not only in the zone but across the entire state.
It will be to the detriment of any politician in the zone, to seek to undermine the popularity and acceptance of the Sarkin Yakin Keffi, who has endeared himself in the hearts of the people, irrespective of class, tribe or religion.
Hon. Wadada was a two-term member of Nigeria’s Federal House of Representatives (2003-2011). He was the pioneer Chairman of the House Committee on Capital Markets 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.
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 and National Assembly Matters.
Hon. Wadada holds a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Business Administration from Federal Polytechnic Nasarawa, Nasarawa State. He has over 32 years work experience spanning UBA Plc, Benue Cement Company, Kano Tobacco Company, and Vision Group.
He has attended international conferences, seminars, and workshops in Canada, the United States of America, Jordan, Kenya, and Sri Lanka. He is the recipient of many awards granted by various Nigerian organisations.
Hon. Wadada contested alongside 11 others for the 2019 governorship seat of Nasarawa State, where he came second after losing to the incumbent Governor Abdullahi A. Sule.
Politically though, Hon Wadada has always triumphed over his adversaries who continue to plot against him but who were invariably left to rue their failure. Prior to his election as a member of the House of Representatives in 2003, Hon Wadada faced staunched opposition from none other than the then governor Abdullahi Adamu, who made it clear he preferred another candidate to occupy that seat. However, Hon Wadada, being God’s annointed, took up the challenge, braved the odds to emerge victorious.
Throughout his political career, Hon Wadada has sought to build bridges of understanding, cooperation and support, opening up his mind, heart, house and pockets for all and sundry, while also working assiduously to empower countless women and youths in the society.
His foray into education, as demonstrated by the yearly polo tournaments he organises, with the proceeds channeled towards improving the standards of education in the zone, remain a testimony to his abiding trust in uplifting the standards of living of his people.
Just like in the past, his decision to contest for the Nasarawa West senatorial ticket, has ilicited diverging comments and reactions across the zone. While his admirers and supporters hail his decision to join the race for the senate, his detractors once again have picked up from where they stopped in their unholy bid to stop the Sarkin Yaki from achieving his political ambition.
At a ceremony at the Government House, where critical stakeholders from Nasarawa West went to declare to their support for Governor Abdullahi Sule, it was a war of words between especially Senator Adamu and Hon Wadada.
In his characteristic frankness, Hon Wadada had opened up on his intention to run for the senate seat to represent the zone at the Red Chamber. He was brutal in his candidness when he told the gathering that he is poised to takeover the seat from his leader and political icon, Senator Adamu.
Not to be left behind, Senator Adamu in his response, made reference to a statement originated from former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, which he liked to repeat whenever he felt challenged by the political prowess of the younger Hon Wadada. Senator Adamu said, “We don’t know those who will succeed us but we know those who will not succeed us”. This has come to define the political intrigues leading to the 2023 general election.
Now that it’s clear Senator Adamu is no longer going to be on the ballot come 2023, some politicians are playing God with the former governor, seeking desperately to be his annointed and to be handed over the senate ticket piecemeal.
If any politician believes that he must have a godfather to win an election, then it’s imperative such a person is awakened to the fact that in 2015, Senator Adamu barely escaped losing his seat to Hon Wadada, after the later was prevailed upon to withdraw his case at the tribunal challenging the election of the former governor.
This along should be an eye opener! If the godfather barely survived losing his seat, what about the political godson who is wholly dependent on the godfather?
Hon Wadada plays politics without bitterness. He will not deliberately go out to derail an opponent but rest assured, being God’s annointed, Hon Wadada will certainly emerge victorious. The fear of the opposition is centred mostly on the popularity and acceptance Hon Wadada enjoys from across the zone.
It took several years of hard work and manifest effective, efficient leadership, for the people to put their thrust in Hon Wadada. This relationship existing between the electorates and the Sarkin Yakin Keffi, could only be wished away at the detriment of any person taking such fraternity for granted.
Hon Wadada has the support and followership to win the Nasarawa West senatorial election hands down, in a free and fair contest. He has the pedigree to provide effective and efficient representation for the zone, with the requisite experience in legislative function and duties from his eight years as a member of the House of Representatives.
Yusuf writes from Low Cost, Keffi, Nasarawa State.