Many of the 28 governorship elections that were held on 18 March were decided on the basis of local power rotation or zoning arrangements in the state. But in Katsina State, the declaration of Dikko Radda and Lawal Jobe of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as Katsina State’s governor-elect and deputy governor-elect respectively, means that the northern senatorial zone of the state has again failed in its long quest to take either of the top two positions.
Instead, the senatorial district, otherwise known as Daura zone and where President Muhammadu Buhari was born, will again contend itself with the office of Speaker of the state House of Assembly, which the zone has consistently occupied since 1991. Most of the times, the position of Head of Civil Service has also gone to the zone.
“The two slots have eluded us for years and we deserve to get a shot at any of the two,” Aminu Doguru, 35, a political analyst from the zone, told PREMIUM TIMES.
While the positions of State House of Assembly Speaker and Head of Civil Service are also considered influential, the governor’s office remains the most sought after.
Though there is no written or verbal agreement, many residents believe power should rotate among the three senatorial zones of the state. But in many other northern Nigerian states, power rotates among emirates and not senatorial zones. This may be one of the reasins for the situation of the Katsina North Senatorial district. The 12 local government areas in the district are split between the Daura and Katsina emirates.
“It’s something that we thought only concerned the elites and politicians. But with every passing day, we now see it (rotation) as important because. In most cases, it is only when someone from your zone or local government area is the governor that you get to enjoy the dividend of democracy,” Lawal Zangon-Daura, a retired civil servant, who began his service in the old Kaduna State before being moved to Katsina State service after the creation of the state in 1987, said.
Political analysts also blame lack of unity among the 12 local government areas of the zone and lack of seriousness in putting forward the right candidate among other factors as reasons why the zone is yet to produce a governor.
With its headquarters in the ancient city of Daura, the northern senatorial district has 12 local government areas namely Daura, Sandamu, Mai’Adua, Zango, Baure, Dutsi, Mashi, Mani, Bindawa, Ingawa, Kusada and Kankiya.
However, the zone has produced several political leaders in the state and the country. It has produced top political, military and civil servants. Muhammadu Bashar, who later became the Emir of Daura, was a minister of economic planning in the defunct Northern Region under Ahmadu Bello (Sardauna Sokoto) as premier in the 1960s. The zone has also produced two military state administrators. Sani Ahmed, a police officer, was governor of Yobe State in 1991 and Habu Daura, also a police officer, was administrator of Bayelsa State in 1997.
A certain Muhammadu Buhari, a retired military general, was head of state and is the incumbent president of Nigeria. He is one of the most prominent politicians from the state. Hadi Sirika, current minister of Aviation, Sani Zangon-Daura, former agriculture minister, Zakari Ibrahim former director general of the Nigerian Intelligence Agency and Lawal Daura, former director general of the State Security Service are all from the zone.
Despite the status of President Buhari, his zone keeps failing in its quest to produce a governor for Katsina State. While Mr Buhari was seeking to be Nigeria’s president from 2003 to 2015, it would be safe to say he forgot about the clamour by some residents for his zone to produce governor.
While some political pundits said Mr Buhari is aloof to local politics, others noted that the president is not resident in Daura as he had lived most of his life in Kaduna. It is on record that the president only started frequenting his home town of Daura after he became president.
“I believe he is always looking at the national stage. His concentration has been the country and not Katsina or even a single zone,” a political analyst, Jamilu Abdussalam, a senior lecturer at the Ummaru Musa Yar’adu’a University, told PREMIUM TIMES. ”
Mr Abdussalam said it is obvious the president has not shown much interest in the struggle because some of his top associates from the zone tested the water but withdrew when it became obvious the president might not give them the required support.
“People like Hadi Sirika, he has been with the president and nursed the ambition to be governor but withdrew because he and the others close to Buhari know and understand that he doesn’t attach emphasis to the zonal quest.”
From 1992 to date, the Katsina central district (Katsina Zone) has produced three civilian governors, while the southern district (Funtua zone) has produced one. The two zones have 11 local government areas each while Daura has 12, making the state’s total 34 LGAs.
In 1992, Sa’idu Barda from the central zone was governor while Abdullahi Garba – Aminci from the southern zone was his deputy.
Ummaru Yar’adu’a also from the central zone served as governor from 1999 to 2007. His deputy from 1999 to 2003 was Tukur Jikamshi from the southern zone while Abdullahi Garba-Aminci served in the office from 2003 to 2007.
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Ibrahim Shema, also from the central zone, was the governor also for two terms from 2007 to 2015. Surajo Damarri (2007-2011) from the southern zone served as Mr Shema’s deputy in his first term while Abdullahi Faskari, also from the southern zone, served in the position in the second term from 2011-2015.
After series of agitations for power to shift from the central district, Aminu Masari from the southern zone clinched the seat in 2015. His deputy from 2015 to date has been Mannir Yakubu from the central zone.
While the central and southern zones were enjoying the top two positions, the Daura zone was producing the Speaker, starting with Usman Bala (from Zango) in 1992. From 1999 to 2003, Sani Fago (from Sandamu) headed the Assembly while Kabir Kofa (Kusada) was the Speaker from 2003 – 2007.
Yau Umar (from Mai’Adua) headed the House for two terms 2007 – 2015, followed by Aliyu Muduru (from Mani) who was the Speaker from 2015 to 2017 after which Abubakar Yahaya (from Kusada) served from 2017 to 2018.
The current Speaker from Zango, Tasiu Maigari, was elected in 2018.
The quest goes on
In every election circle, politicians from the zone declare interest in the governorship seat or to serve as running mate but it has been the same story.
In the build up to the 2023 general elections, Abdukarim Dauda-Daura, a retired police commissioner, ran for the APC ticket but failed.
The Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate in the election, Ibrahim Zakari from Mashi, is also from the zone but his performance at the poll was dismal.
“Daura zone needs to help itself because the other zones will not give them the two slots just like that. Are they (Daura zone) really agitating for this power shift, because when you look at the gubernatorial candidates from the zone, you will have no option than to believe they are not serious in the fight for power shift,” Saifullahi Kuraye, a political analyst, who said he does not believe in power rotation, said.
The notion that the zone has never produced a strong candidate is not held by only Mr Kuraye. Several pundits, including residents of the district, believe that with the right candidates, the Daura zone will produce a governor.
“It is not as if we don’t have influential politicians in the zone but they are just not serious when it comes to fighting for the governor’s seat,” Mr Zangon-Daura, the retired civil servant said. “We can match Katsina zone when it comes to influential and strong persons. We are better than Funtua zone in that regard but it seems they are more organised than us.”
In 2011 when the incumbent governor, Mr Masari, contested for the seat under the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), his deputy, Ahmed El Marzuq, the current APC national legal adviser, is from Daura zone. The ticket was soundly defeated by the PDP’s Mr Shema with 1,029,912 to the CPC’s 555,769 votes.
Despite the defeat, several political watchers said that was the first and only time Daura zone “tried” getting into the top positions.
However, Ahmad Ganga, a member of the APC who is also from the zone, argued that lack of unity among the 12 local government areas of the zone makes it difficult for the zone to produce a governor or deputy.
Five of the current local government areas in the zone. Daura, Mai’Adua, Sandamu, Zango and Baure are in Daura Emirate and constitued Daura local government area in old Kaduna State.
But the other seven local government areas are under Katsina Emirate traditionally despite being in Daura (northern) senatorial zone. The areas are Mani, Bindawa, Mashi, Dutsi, Kankia, Kusada and Ingawa.
“First of all, the 12 local government areas are not united. Those five LGAs from Daura Emirate think they have the edge to decide what happens in Daura Zone, whereas the seven LGAs from Kastina emirate feel more inclined towards Katsina Zone.
“Secondly, the powerful politicians from Daura Zone, as you rightly put it, are not good at negotiating for power. That is why they always come second or third at the primaries. The third factor is incumbency. They (the sitting governors) always want to install their puppet, who they will control after they leave office,” Mr Ganga said.
Mr Doguru, the political scientist, corroborated Mr Ganga’s take on lack of unity among the people of the zone.
“When you look at it, in every election circle, you will hear and see us (Daura zone) agitating for power shift but when someone from the area decides to contest, we will refuse to vote for him.
“In this 2023 election, somebody (Abdulkareem Dauda – Daura) contested for the APC ticket but he got only seven votes. It meant even the delegates from his immediate local government area (Daura) did not vote for him. We are not united and without that unity, we will not make it to the two top positions in the state,” he said.
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