With Governor Saidu Dakingari bound to leave office in 2015 after two terms in office, the political atmosphere in Kebbi State is now full of jostling and systematic scheming ahead of the 2015 general elections.
Tension is rising dangerously as it is believed that zoning is going to emerge as one of the most important issues leading to the next gubernatorial election.
It would be especially so in the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
That is given the fact that all the notable gubernatorial aspirants are from the PDP the party that has so much put zoning on the front burner.
Whereas zoning in other climes is especially contested among senatorial zones which are also present in Kebbi, the issue of rotation among the four emirate councils in the state has come to the fore. The four emirates are Argungu, Yauri, Gwandu and Zuru.
Zuru Emirate which is under kebbi south is agitating for the governorship position on the point that it is the only emirate not to have produced a governor of the state since its creation in 1991.
Previous democratically elected governors were Alhaji Abubakar Musa from Yauri Emirate (1992 to 1993); Adamu Aliero from Gwandu (1999 to 2007) and the incumbent, Saidu Usman Dakingari from Gwandu Emirate.
Dakingari, though from Gwandu Emirate belongs to Kebbi North senatorial district (Argungu Emirate) which comprises Argungu, Augie, Arewa, Dandi and Suru Local Government Areas.
The contention of critics of the agitation of the Zuru people who inhabit the Southern senatorial zone with the people of Yauri is that their Southern senatorial zone benefited from the governorship through the first democratically elected governor of the state in 1992.
The contention against Zuru and the Southern senatorial district is especially strong from the Central senatorial district which presently harbours a number of very active gubernatorial hopefuls.
They include; former gubernatorial candidate of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) Alhaji Gari Mallam, Senator Atiku Bagudu who is currently representing Kebbi Central in the National Assembly, the newly appointed minister of special duties Alh. Kabiru Tanimu, Alh. Bello Ibrahim Gwandu and Major General Bello Sarkin Yaki (rtd).
One of the leading hopefuls is Bagudu, but his wildly acclaimed positives nonetheless, he is faced with what is generally described as the possible opposition or wrath from the state’s leading political godfather, Senator Adamu Aliero.
Bagudu earned his place in Aliero’s bad books after he joined with the incumbent governor to frustrate Aliero’s re-election bid to the senate in 2011 when Aliero vied on the ticket of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC.
However, since then, Aliero has returned to the PDP and retaken his position as Dakingari’s godfather following the reconciliation between him and his successor forged by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
It is now claimed that Governor Dakingari would endorse any gubernatorial candidate produced by Senator Aliero and few believe Aliero would go out of his way to endorse the very man who humiliated him in 2011.
Many believe that Bagudu’s past could open the way for the 2011 gubernatorial candidate of the CPC Alhaji Gari Mallam also from Kebbi central who followed Aliero to the CPC in the days of the troubles with Dakingari.
Yet, Senator Umar Abubakar Tafida is interested in engaging in this potential and prodigious battle even though he is from Kebbi North where the incumbent Governor hails from.
Nevertheless, the people of Zuru who believe in the rotational formula insist that for democratic principles, fairness, justice and peace to reign in the culturally diverse state, the rotational formula on governorship position should be maintained and observed strictly from where it started.
The Zuru Emirate which lamented that the state leadership does not want to recognize it in the political mainstream of the state.
The frustration of the Zuru people was worsened in 2012 when the ministerial nomination of Brig. Gen. Bitrus Ushie from Zuru as minister of defense was engulfed by intrigues that later saw the zone lose out to Central which fielded Kabiru Tanimu who was later assigned the portfolio of special duties.
Their agitation nonetheless, political stakeholders are frustrated by the dearth of contenders from Zuru. Presently, only Senator Mohammed Magoro from Zuru and Alhaji Bala Musa Sakaba are known to be warming up for the contest.
The CPC which almost became a hollow shell after Aliero’s defection is now encouraging people from the emirate to show interest with the party leaders saying that unlike the PDP which would not open the contest to them that the CPC would do so.