Meet Abubakar Sama’ila Isah, the biggest opposition figure from within the Katsina APC
Until the sudden entrance into the governorship race in Katsina State by Abubakar Ismaila Isa, Governor Aminu Masari had been the sole aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2019 general elections. This is causing serious tension in the party.
The leadership of the party, which has since endorsed Masari as its sole candidate, has been battling to tame opposition voices within its ranks, a daunting task it is yet to achieve.
The APC-Akida has been silenced, as its main sponsor, Senator Abdulaziz Yaradua closed ranks with the mainstream party and is visibly seen in their major stakeholders’ programmes. The remaining ones like Sada Ilu have left for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while others have remained silent for obvious reasons.
As such, Isa’s emerging voice has become the sole opposition within the party, and this is injecting fears in the polity, especially in Katsina.
In addition to purchasing and submitting his nomination and expression of interest forms to the APC secretariat, he has also commenced a massive reach-out to delegates for their support during the party’s primaries slated for today.
Politically, Isa may not be as strong as Masari, but his background as the son of a business mogul and an inner circle man in the Aso Villa, being an in-law to the president, is his selling point. He is widely seen as a political novice, having not held any office.
It is widely speculated that Isa’s entry into the race at this time, with a sitting president as an in-law, may make him a force to reckon with. It is widely believed that even though President Buhari has never interfered in the political affairs in the state, his close allies from the state may be behind Isa.
Isa and 37 other aspirants have faulted the adoption of the indirect mode of primary election in the state, on the ground that it is meant to favor Governor Masari.
In a statement they jointly issued, Isa and the other aggrieved members wrote: “In Katsina State, we have unanimously rejected any process other than the direct primaries in selecting those that will represent the party at the elections.
“The so-called executive members of the party at all levels in Katsina State were illegally elected in a phantom congress of the party. The case is before the courts in Katsina State; therefore, they are ineligible to take decisions on behalf of the party and its members.”
“There was never a stakeholders’ meeting of the party where it was agreed that the party in Katsina State should go contrary to the well-known views of our dear president, who is an advocate of direct primaries.
“We are solidly behind the president and the National Working Committee (NWC) on the adoption of direct primaries in choosing candidates that would carry the party’s flag in the 2019 elections.
“We hold the view that as a mark of respect for our president, we will never put him to shame by going contrary to his views. We call on all those concerned to intervene and save the party from the merchants of manipulation and disunity.”
Isa is a youth and may enjoy the support of his peers, given the not-too-young-to run campaign.
Most of his campaign promises are hinged on restoring values at the local government system, free education, and payment of WAEC and NECO fees, as well as using his entrepreneurial skills to revamp the economic fortunes of the state.
Expectedly, the rivalry between the two contenders will be reignited at the primary election. However, Masari enjoys the power of incumbency and a strong political structure in the state. He controls the party structure; hence delegates are expected to be loyal to him.
His recent appointment of local government administrators was seen as another move to reach out to the grassroots ahead of the primaries and the general elections. Already, several other foot soldiers and platforms have been reactivated. A substantive special adviser has also been appointed for his campaign organization.
The internal wrangling in the APC, especially from aggrieved members, may be a problem, but feelers have it that last week, the remaining members were promised some juicy positions.
Also, many old members of the party are not happy with some appointments made by the governor, especially those new entrants who were rewarded more than the old folks. Masari will also face some hindrances from his earlier campaign promises, such as regularizing the appointment of casual workers in the state. This may haunt his re-election campaign. Isa intends to capitalize on such matters.
Isa is a public and private sectors strategist, with a proactive and engaging personality, as well as strong diplomatic, analytical and leadership skills. It is said that he has knowledge and experience in managing contemporary Nigeria’s geopolitical dynamics, as well as a deep insight into the African geo-economic regional power play as indicated in his resume.
He said, “My aspiration is to continue to pursue strategic studies to provide insightful public policy, build convergence between international capital and technical knowledge, with Nigerian content as the bedrock for private sector excellence. I will strive to pursue leadership ideas that will provide dignified livelihood to every Nigerian and one that restores Nigeria’s political influence in world affairs.’’
Addressing a conference last week, Isa said the right thing must be done in the spirit of fairness and equity, which the APC stands for.
“Today, we are sad to report that the national secretariat of our party closed its eyes to the inherent dangers in conducting indirect primaries in Katsina State. This is even as there are series of litigations challenging the legitimacy of the party’s congresses that produced the kangaroo executive of the party,’’ he said.
He insisted that if not checked, this trend would throw the party into chaos and further factionalize it. He said this would affect the party’s fortunes in the 2019 general elections, adding that direct primaries remained the most transparent and credible process of selecting popular and acceptable candidates for the party.
(Culled from Daily Trust)