The upcoming governorship election in Jigawa State is going to be a contest between three major candidates.
The incumbent governor, Mohammed Badaru of the All Progressive Congress (APC) is seeking reelection. He will be challenged by Aminu Ibrahim of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Bashir Adamu from the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
The PDP candidate is contesting against Mr Badaru for the second time.
In the 2015 election, Mr Badaru defeated him with 648,046 votes against 479,447.
The fate of the three main candidates and others seeking the top seat in the state will be determined by 2.6 million registered voters.
There are factors that may likely influence the outcome of the election.
Governor Badaru may ride on his achievements particularly on massive empowerment programmes, connection of rural communities with road network, prompt payment of workers salaries and pension, among other achievements and of course the profile of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The PDP candidate will lean on the popularity of a former governor, Sule Lamido.
Jigawa witnessed massive infrastructural development during Mr Lamido’s administration which was one of the key messages the PDP campaigned on.
Meanwhile, the SDP candidate, Bashir Adamu, is the longest-serving former federal lawmaker representing Kazaure, Roni, Gwiwa and Yankwashi constituencies.
He was able to empower thousands of rural women and secured federal appointments for many.
Governor Badaru is accused for favouring one out of five emirate councils in the state in project execution.
Jigawa comprises 27 Local Government Areas divided into 30 state constituencies, 11 federal constituencies, and three senatorial districts.
The North-west state, carved from Kano in 1991 has a five-emirate structure: Dutse, Hadejia, Gumel, Kazaure and Ringim emirates, each headed by a first-class emir.
Jigawa is populated by Hausa/Fulani, who can be found in all parts of the state. Islam is the predominant religion of the people, with over 99 per cent of the population adhering to the Sunni (Salafist) doctrine.
Despite the similarity that blends them together, the state is divided politically.
Jigawa politicians are identified and supported based on the emirate councils they hail from, which many say has led to the emergence of incompetent leaders.
The emirate council in which a candidate hails from influences voters’ decision.
Messrs Badaru and Ibrahim hail from Ringim emirate council. The SDP candidate hails from Kazaure emirate council with his influential running mate Bashir Aminu from Dutse emirate council.
The Buhari factor
President Buhari’s personality profile in the eyes of the masses may also influence voters’ decision in the governorship election.
The just-concluded presidential and parliamentary election in Jigawa was in favour of the APC.
The party swept all the 11 seats of House of Representatives and three senatorial seats.
Many analysts say this may sway votes again in favour of the APC. In Jigawa, Mr Buhari has grassroots support.
Ex-governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, after flagging off the PDP campaign in Dutse, said the mammoth crowd witnessed in the occasion is a clear indication that people ”have realised their mistakes after voting governor Badaru”.
Mr Lamido, a prominent politician said the turnout of people in the event has sent ”a wrong signal for the reelection of Mr Badaru because the people are now more aware of the condition of infrastructural development championed by the PDP in the state”.
“They have ruined the state with substandard roads, the road the PDP constructed for eight years are still intact, but that of APC have started developing potholes. If you visit Rasheed Shekoni Specialist Hospital in Dutse, even the mortuary section is not working, all the streets light are malfunctioning,” he said.
Mr Lamido who also commands respect will play a major role in attracting votes for the PDP.
In the build-up of the 2019 election, a former governor, Ali Sa’adu and other former commissioners who served under Mr Lamido defected to the governing APC.
The commissioners, especially, a former attorney general and justice commissioner, Yakubu Ruba are influential politicians in their respective constituencies and may also influence the direction of votes.
Other commissioners who defected to APC include: Auwalu Harbo, Jinjiri Dutse, Fatima Jalo and Baba Santali.
Mr Santali was a member of the Lamido administration. He has been invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for questioning over alleged dubious awarding of road projects in the state.
Other top politicians that joined the APC are a former lawmaker representing Dutse/Kiyawa federal constituency and PDP governorship aspirant, Tijjani Ibrahim, SDP governorship aspirant, Ramatu Yelleman and party chieftain, Danladi Auyo.
It is certain these will also play diverse roles in ensuring that the APC emerges victorious on Saturday.