The Deputy Speaker of the Jigawa State House of Assembly, Ahmed Garba, has declared his bid to run for the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Jigawa North-east senatorial election.
Mr Garba’s declaration is in defiance of the state leadership of the party which has endorsed the state deputy governor, Ibrahim Hassan, as the consensus candidate for the election.
Mr Garba submitted his expression of interest form on Wednesday at the APC state secretariat in Dutse, the state capital.
He called on the party to provide a level playing ground for all interested aspirants, warning that any attempt to give preferential treatment to any candidate would be resisted.
The occupant of the seat, Ubale Shitu, last month defected from APC to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Mr Hassan is completing his second term as deputy governor.
Sources in the Jigawa APC told PREMIUM TIMES that Mr. Garba decided to challenge the endorsement of Mr Hassan because the outgoing deputy governor is not in support of his own original ambition to succeed him as deputy governor.
Messrs Hassan and Garba are both from Hadejia, regarded as the political nerve centre of Jigawa State
According to one of the sources, “Ahmed Garba wanted to succeed Ibrahim Hassan as deputy governor but Mr Hassan has his own anointed candidate to succeed him. The deputy speaker therefore vowed that if the deputy governor doesn’t like him as his successor, then he will fight his intention to become a senator.”
But Mr Garba denied that narrative, saying he has no interest in an executive position. He, however, admitted to a dispute with the deputy governor.
“The deputy governor, Ibrahim Hassan, doesn’t keep promises, because I met him on several occasions and he assured me that he was not going to contest for the senatorial seat, only for him to declared after I had indicated interest for the post'” he told PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday.
“I have never been invited to a meeting to endorse Mr Hassan as a consensus candidate and I don’t have any intention of being a deputy governor, because all my 30 years of political experience is in the legislature. Whoever viewed my action as being because of deputy governor slot is just expressing an opinion,” the deputy speaker said.
He urged the party to be neutral in the contest for the ticket.
“One thing that I will like our party APC to understand is that we are not PDP, we were formed based on the principles of justice and only that can make APC succeed in the state. We’re calling for direct or indirect primary election, anything short of that will be resisted,” Mr Garba said.
Sources alleged that the on Wednesday, the party chairman in the state, Ado Sani Kiri, left the secretariat to avoid being present when Mr. Garba declared his intention there.
Mr. Garba was received by the vice chairman Habibu Sara. During the event, said the sources, Mr Sara was booed by Mr Garba’s supporters after the party chief chanted ” Nigeria, sai Buhari, Jigawa sai Badaru” (for the reelection of the president and the state governor) but refused to express his position on the senatorial seat.
The deputy governor could not be reached to comment on the matter because his spokesperson, Ahmad Haruna, said he was in Abuja at the time of filing this report.
Mr Kiri, the party chairman, did not respond to multiple calls to his phone.
The deputy chairman, Mr Sara, however, assured that the party will be fair to all aspirants for the various positions.
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