By Mike Odeh James
Less than two years in to the 2023 general elections that would usher in a new administration, politicking for governor, Senatorial and Houses of Assembly seats have commenced in earnest.
Candidates are quietly but vigorously reaching out to critical stakeholders and forming strategic alliances so that the outcome would favour them come 2023.
Kaduna State in North West of the country is one of the key battleground states and elections into whatever office would be keenly contested by contending forces.
Right now, the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and the main opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), are locked in a make or mar jostle over which party wins in Nigeria’s third most populous state .
In the same vein, one of the make or mar contests would take place in Kaduna Central Senatorial District.
Two years ago, the ruling party, APC ‘s candidate for the Senatorial seat, Uba Sani was locked in battle of wits with Comrade Shehu Sani who was the Senator representing Kaduna Central at the Senate.
Shehu Sani was edged out of the APC by a combination of forces loyal to the Governor and Uba Sani, his former protege.
He went on to contest under the banner of People’s Redemption Party (PRP) and lost, finishing third after APC and the PDP.
However, a third and powerful force appeared on the scene in 2019, it was the force that would change the political landscape of Kaduna Central Senatorial District for good.
Mr Lawal Adamu Usman, who many had not heard of before, declared for the PDP and won the primary election in the party to become the PDP flag bearer in the Kaduna Central Zone.
At the election proper, Mr. LA as Lawal Adamu Usman is popularly known, took the polity of the state by storm.
With youthful ambience, vigour and politicking that was devoid of bitterness, violence and the normal political demagogues that characterised the polity, Mr Lawal Adamu Usman dashed to the second position after being narrowly edged out by the candidate of the APC However, many political watchers and analysts have said that Mr. LA won in that contest but simply edged out by “Federal Might”.
Even at that, many more were puzzled at how the youthful candidate came out of the bolt and almost clinched the Kaduna Central Zone senate seat
” Mr LA did his homework very well. As a political analyst and young with a good vision for his people, he painstakingly addressed the issues confronting the people and presented himself as one who could solve these issues, ” Mr Dahiru Mohammed Umar, the Chairman of Alterkonsult said.
Umar further explained that while other candidates were engaged in mudslingings, Mr. LA was busy visiting communities in the seven local government areas that make up his zone.
“Each time, he visits, he would identify with the women, elderly, farmers, traders and the youth.
“As a youth himself, Lawal Adamu Usman connected well with the youth and showed respect to the elderly. He did not bother to campaign as others did,” Dahiru added.
According Dahiru Mohammed Umar, “I believe strongly that Mr. LA won the senatorial seat but was edged out by those who continue to hold Nigeria back.
Mr Umar said that given the unpopularity of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the intra-party squabbles in the party, it was seriously weakened and everyone could see that it was heading for the rocks.
He continued further, “We did an assessment tour of all the seven local government areas in Kaduna Central Senatorial District and found out only two candidates were very visible.
“Honorable Lawal Adamu Usman was overwhelming favoured by all to win, while the PRP came second.
He further explained, “However, during the election proper, we observed many irregularities such as late arrival of voting materials, the non-use of PVCs and thumbprinting of ballot papers. As law abiding Nigerians we made our findings known to the authorities, but the Federal Government is led by APC.”
According to Geoman Christopher, the Youth Leader of the Igbo Community in Chikun Local Government Area, “We all know that the Igbos in Chikun Local Government constitute a huge voting block.
“We voted massively for Mr Lawal Adamu Usman. Not only the Igbos, the Idomas, the Igalas, the Yorubas and the natives of the state supported LA.
“If you combine the votes of the non-indigenes and the indigenes in areas such as Kakuri, Kajuru, Gonin Gora, Kakau, Television, Sabo, the PDP candidate won overwhelming”.
Moving to Igabi, Bala Jelani Kabir a resident, also believed that Mr. Usman won going by the number of supporters who thronged out to vote for him .
He continued, “Even today or next election, all the people of Igabi would troop out massively for Lawal Adamu Usman for what he stands for.”
As the the 2023 polls draws nearer, Mr. Lawal Adamu Usman has indicated that he would contest for the Kaduna Central Zone ticket. He made this known in a post on his Facebook page.
Furthermore, Umar, his close associate also confirmed that Mr. LA would be in contention.
“We can’t afford to lose the likes of Lawal Adamu, he is an asset for the people of Kaduna as a whole and so we are putting pressure on him to contest and Insha Allah, he would contest,” Umar said.
ODDS IN HIS FAVOUR
Political pundits in the state have posited that given the current state of quandary in the ruling APC in Kaduna, the party has become so weak to mount serious campaign and win.
Secondly, by the hike in school fees in state owned institutions of higher learning, the APC and its candidates have been demarketed to a point of no return.
This could be seen in the recent bye election in Zaria where the candidate of the APC was roundly trounced.
Mr. LA’s huge popularity, coupled with his philanthropic leanings have also given him an edge over any candidate of the APC.
Another thing that would work in his favour is his visibility in the seven local government areas of his zone.
After the 2019 election, he did not just retire or take a backseat.
He was constantly on the road from one ward to the other, training women, buying fertilisers for farmers, giving scholarship to indigent students and caring for the poor.
All these have given him a solid footing in 2023.