After months of speculations, Nigeria’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, Thursday officially declared he would run for governor in his native Kebbi State.
Mr Malami made the announcement at the presidential lodge in Birnin Kebbi, the state capital, during a factional APC’s stakeholders’ meeting attended by the state governor, Atiku Bagudu.
He said he accepted and decided to run for the position following calls from the people of the state for him to run.
NAN reported Mr Malami saying that “Since you want me to contest the governorship position of the state, I hereby accept your demand since you want me to do so,” he said.
“People from the state have been pressurising me to contest the governorship position in 2023.
“Going by my proper upbringing as the son of an Islamic teacher, I will not show interest to contest for any position or judge myself qualify for any position except the people of the state want me to.
“If you will support me and accept me, I wish to say I am interested in becoming the next governor of Kebbi if you permit me,” Mr Malami said at the gathering.
The state executives of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) loyal to the governor of the state endorsed Mr Malami’s declaration.
The party’s leadership in the state is divided between two factions – one loyal to Mr Bagudu and the other loyal to a former governor, Adamu Aliero.
During the event, Mr Bagudu praises Mr Malami for distinguishing himself among his peers in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet. He also praised him for the success of the March 26 National Convention of the party.
“The governor expressed wholehearted support to the yearnings of APC members and other people of Kebbi state for the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, to contest the governorship of the state in the 2023 general elections under the platform of the party,” the media aide to the governor, Yahaya Sarki, said in a statement.
Unsurprisingly, the faction of the party loyal to Mr Aliero boycotted the declaration. Mr Aliero is the incumbent senator for Kebbi Central. Abdullahi Yahaya, the incumbent senator from Kebbi North, backs his faction. Both men believe Mr Bagudu is trying to impose Mr Malami as his successor.
While inaugurating his faction’s secretariat, Mr Aliero said the party should adopt the direct primary in choosing the party’s flag bearer.
Mr Aliero is pushing for the next governor of the state to come from other senatorial districts other than that of the governor.
Mr Bagudu, who is from the same senatorial district as Mr Malami, prefers the indirect primary.
Though Mr Aliero is from Kebbi Central, he is backing Mr Abdullahi, the Senate’s majority leader, who is from Kebbi North to succeed, Mr Bagudu.