Mrs. Yakowa contends with three others for the post of deputy governor in Kaduna State.
When many Kaduna State politicians passed by the casket bearing the body of its former governor, Patrick Yakowa, they wore sullen faces to express their grief; but his loss isn’t the only issue troubling most of the politicians that filed out.
The exit of Mr. Yakowa, a Christian from Southern Kaduna, fractured the state’s political structure leaving its politicians to jostle for openings created by the fractured system as it struggles to find a balance.
The Kaduna political structure, under the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, is framed to accommodate alternating regions and faiths at succeeding nodes.
The exit of the late governor meant that the former deputy governor, Mukhtar Yero, a Northern Kaduna politician, got sucked up – according to constitutional dictates – into the seat of the governor.
With a Muslim from Northern Kaduna as governor, the entire political arrangement in the state changed, with different nodes yearning to be arranged to fit the reality.
The deputy governor’s seat, Mr. Yero’s former office, is still vacant and must be filled by a politician with considerations given to the interest of people from Southern Kaduna and the Christian faith, in search of a balance.
The appointment of the new deputy governor is expected after the Thursday burial of the late governor. But as at Tuesday, four major candidates have crystallized seeking to influence the decision of the party and its key decision makers in the state, especially the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, whose influence in the state’s politics is still highly regarded.
Top on the list of candidates jostling for the vacant deputy governor’s position is Amina, wife of the late governor.
Though Mrs. Yakowa has shown no public intent in the position as she mourns her husband, a section of the party, mostly women and close relatives of the late governor, is supporting her as compensation to the family for his sudden death.
Former Nigerian Aviation Minister, Felix Hassan Hyet, is also a contending option. He currently holds no political office but is a strong party loyalist from southern Kaduna.
His supporters say he has vast experience in governance and may be a tenable option to lead the state, as a governor, if the need arose.
A former deputy governor, James Magaji, is also believed to be in the race. His supporters say his 1991 experience as deputy governor to late Dabo Lere places him above other contenders.
Party faithfuls say an aide to President Goodluck Jonathan, Issaih Balat, has so far staged the strongest chase for the position. Mr. Balat, a former senator, is believed to have held several lobby
sessions with key decision makers in the party over his ambition. His supporters say his exposure puts him ahead of other contenders.
Besides the four popular contenders, the youth section of the Southern Kaduna People’s Union is pushing to swing the party’s decision in favor of a young adult from the region.
The prevailing reality also requires that the Secretary to the State Government, Samaila Yakawada, a Northern Kaduna Muslim, relinquishes his office to a politician from the alternate region.
Other smaller political offices in the government will be reshuffled to maintain the state’s peculiar ethnic-religious sentiments. The jostle for those offices are ongoing, as well.
The governor, Mr. Yero, promised close associates that none of these appointments will be made before the burial of the late governor. He also promised the public he will continue with the late governor’s policies.