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TALE OF TARABA’S TWO GOVERNORSHIP CANDIDATES

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Back Cover, Worldview Weekly

TALE OF TARABA’S TWO GOVERNORSHIP CANDIDATES

By Williams Ayooso

Except for the dynamism that weaves around the spirit of politics, vicissitudes of political circumstances and its unpredictable template, the Taraba State Governorship race is supposedly a straight fight between PDP’s Lt. Col. Agbu Kefas and Distinguished Senator Emmanuel Bwacha of the APC.

The duo shares a lot in common. In terms of the genealogy, they all hail from the Southern Senatorial Zone of the State, even as they are scions of the Kwararafa nationality.

Agbu Kefas holds a Bachelor of Science Degree (BSc) in political Science and Defense Studies from Nigerian Defense Academy, a Master of Science Degree (M.Sc) in Criminology and Security Psychology from the University of Ibadan, Masters of Public Administration (MPA), Delta State University, respectively.

He is also an alumnus of Harvard Kennedy School and Said Business School Oxford, where he completed the programmes in International Security and Leadership.

Kefas Agbu has a unique experience on intelligence and information coordination and management in the Nigerian Army, Peace and conflict resolution, crisis management as well as Security Risk Management. He served as a strategist of the Nigerian Military intelligence Corps. His capacity was tested in the volatile Niger Delta region of Nigeria, where he utilized the depth of his intellectual capacity, to curtail the expansion of security threats in the region, including militancy, kidnapping and youth’s restiveness and to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure, such as oil and Gas facilities.

In the political environment, Agbu Kefas took the space by storm and became the chairman of the party in the state, a position he retired, contested and became the party’s governorship candidate in the state.

Emmanuel Bwacha is a Law graduate of University of Jos. He is one of the personalities with the highest political visibility in the state. At the Senate, he served in many capacities, including the Deputy Minority Leader in the Red Chambers. He is at present, the Senate Committee Chairman on Procurement.  Bwacha is not just a ranking Senator; he is serving his people in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the third term. Before then, he was a Taraba State House of Assembly member, a commissioner and a two-term member of the House of Representatives.

He is known as a shrewd and dogged fighter who doesn’t spare any weapon in his political armoury to win his battles.  Aside these, he is surrounded by die hard supporters who are always ready to go extra miles to ensure his victory at any political battle.

As their social backgrounds seem to have been running competitively and neck to neck, so also is their financial capacities. Bwacha, it appears, has a large reservoir of financial resources which he is using to fund his governorship ambition project conveniently. He is also known to be generous with his resources, particularly on issues that will sharpen the process of his political aspiration. His will to expend his resources to achieve his political result was tested in recent times, where he is presumed to have expended tremendous resources to wade off the barrage of litigations that were heaped on him by other aspirants after the party’s controversy-soaked primary election.

So far, there is no sign yet to indicate that Agbu Kefas is intimidated by the Bwacha’s large financial war chest. With TY Danjuma, who is not only his Godfather, but also gladiator and protagonist of his governorship ambition, he has almost a bottomless depth of resources to draw from and fund the project.

Aside from financial capabilities and favourable social background, contacts and connections play a vital role. Here too, the duos hands are full. Kefas has the wealthiest and most respected Nigerian, at least at the national level, as a God father. As if that is the end, he has the apparatus and instruments of government in power to utilize in his favour on the Election Day. The ruling party effect will manifest in several ways. He will leverage on the existing structures of government in power, including security patronage and the numerous political appointees in the Governor Ishaku’s administration.

Bwacha also has his own contacts to flaunt. The presidency will stand by him to ensure their party’s victory in the state. The emergence of his party, APC as winner of Presidential election is an added advantage. This means that some government intervention mechanisms and manipulations, such as security and relevant agency influence, simply known as the federal might, may be activated to give him a backup.

President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, wife of the President elect Senator Oluremi  Tinubu, Vice President elect Senator Kashim Shettima,  are all Senator Bwacha’s colleagues in the Senate. He can always fall back on them in his time of need.

Another feature shared by the two candidates is their optimism. Each of the camps are already engaging in 100 days in office conversations as if the election is never an obstacle to consider.

Notwithstanding their towering socio-economic advantages, some measures of challenges picket the success gate of their aspiration like a protesting labour union. Bwacha’s camp is still in disarray, so also with Kefas. Their in-house fighting, which resonated in the regime of legal battles are likely to resurface on Election Day. Protest vote is a dangerous political phenomenon. Unfortunately, this will be the two candidate’s portion if the grudges tearing their parties apart are not addressed before the D Day.

Although the duo are noticeably tall in the Taraba State political space like ugly giants in a hall full of dwarfs, the possibility of their defeat cannot be overruled. Already some pundits of Taraba politics are visualizing the challenges that dangle on their necks as the sword of Damocles. They are citing protest votes, splitting the bloc votes of the Southern Taraba electorates and power shift agitation to Taraba North, as well as religion factor, among other daunting situations that might count against them.

In this direction, Danladi Baido of the SDP and Prof. Muhammadu  Yahaya of the NNPP are lurking around, pulling their strings, planting their strategies and leveraging  on the lapses of the two Goliaths to emerge a David.

With less than four days to the Governorship election, it is difficult to guess which way the cat will jump. Already, the die is cast. The battle line is drawn. The election bell is tolling.

Now, like an Hausa man would say, ‘ga Fili ga Doki’

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