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Gov Al-Makura vs Sen. Adokwe: Who goes to senate?

Indeed, arrangements geared towards the 2019 general elections in the country by politicians and their political parties have reached advanced stage. Already the nation’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has since released the time-table for activities towards the exercise which will kick-start with the conduct of party primaries by participating political parties next month.
In Nasarawa state for instance, the two major political parties in the state, the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and their respective aspirants for various elective positions have continued to map out strategies aimed at achieving victory at the polls. While the ruling APC in the state is working towards maintaining power in 2019, the opposition PDP is bent on returning to the Shendam Road Government House, Lafia, after losing the state to the APC in 2011. To this end, the PDP sees the 2019 general elections as an opportunity to actualise her dream.
For Nasarawa south senatorial district, the contest seems to be majorly between incumbent Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura of the APC and Senator Suleiman Asonya Adokwe of the PDP, who is currently serving a third term in the upper chambers of the National Assembly. This contest has been described by pundits as battle of the titans as it has generated more heat than even that of the governorship, perhaps, due to the religious, party and ethnic considerations attached to it by many stakeholders in the zone.
Findings by Nigerian Pilot revealed that since creation of the Solid Minerals state in 1996 by the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha and subsequent return to civilian rule in 1999, the southern senatorial district which observers described as the mother of all zones in the state, comprising five Local Government Areas namely; Lafia, Doma, Keana, Awe and Obi have produced four Senators from 1999-date, including Senator Husseini Egyegbola who spent only six months in the National Assembly and was later sacked by the Appeal Court following a petition filed by Senator Adokwe against his declaration as winner of the 2015 National Assembly election by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The pioneer Senator of the senatorial district, late Haruna Abubakar, an indigene of Lafia Local Government Area was elected to represent the zone and served for one term of four years from 1999-2003. Between 2003-2007, late Senator Emmanuel Okudu Okpede from Doma Local Government Area also served for one term of four years after which the incumbent Senator Suleiman Adokwe from Obi Local Government, a one-time Commissioner for Information in the state under the then Governor Abdullahi Adamu got elected to represent the zone between 2007 and still serving till date.
Adokwe, whom political observers described as a jinx breaker having stood out as the only representative of the zone that has served beyond a single term in the senate, is believed to have achieved the feat owing to his outstanding performance as a true representative that is committed to the welfare and well-being of his constituents through the attraction of development to the nooks and crannies of his constituency.
Some constituents in the southern zone, who spoke to Nigerian Pilot in different interviews, affirmed that Senator Adokwe has been able to attract development to the zone and for that reason their support and loyalty to the senator remains unshaken.
“We are proud to have senator Adokwe as our representative at the National Assembly because apart from the construction and renovation of over 100 primary schools across the constituency, many of our women and youths have been empowered with various skills, employment of many of our youths into military and paramilitary agencies including federal ministries to mention just a few, have been made possible through the distinguished Senator, so how can we withdraw our support for such an achiever,” a constituent, Mr. Ibrahim Mohammed asked.
Nigerian Pilot however observed that the senatorial contest is becoming more tensed by the day. Following the formal declaration of governor Al-Makura to contest for the senatorial seat on his party’s platform, the governor, who is an indigene of Lafia Local Government, explained that his decision was in response to clarion calls on him by different interest groups in the constituency. As at last count, no fewer than five groups, including APC support groups within the Tiv, Alago and Eggon ethnic nationalities in the southern zone have endorsed the senatorial bid of the governor.
Just recently, Senator Adokwe’s kinsmen under the aegis of Alago APC Forum in the state held a rally in Doma, headquarters of Doma Local Government Area of the state and endorsed governor Al-Makura as the forum’s sole candidate for the senatorial election. At the endorsement rally which was attended by chieftains of the APC, the event’s organising committee chairman, Alhaji Mohammed Adi Ikushinta explained that the occasion was put together to express the forum’s total support for the governor’s senatorial bid come 2019.
According to him the governor deserve such support from the Alago nation because of the developmental projects cited in Doma and other Alago communities and the state in general.
“The Alago people have been major beneficiaries of the Governor Al-Makura-led administration. The Agyargu-Doma, Obi-Keana and John Bosco Doma township roads including the citing of Military Barracks in Doma and appointment of Alago sons and daughters into key government positions in his government are some of the good gestures that need to be reciprocated by the Alago as a nation”.
Watchers of unfolding political events in the state have however, cautioned the governor against been carried away by the endorsements, asserting that most of them were done to achieve political patronage and monetary gains, including the recent one by the Alago APC Forum and a section of the Tiv community. Sources alleged that few days after the endorsement of the governor’s senate bid by the Alago APC Forum, a meeting of some prominent Alago sons and daughters was held in Obi where they reaffirmed that the senate seat must be maintained by an Alago man.
“It may interest you to know that at our meeting in Obi which was attended by many sons and daughters of the Alago nation, including most of those who were in Doma last week for the so-called endorsement rally of Governor Al-Makura, we resolved to support our own son for the senate”
“Under this arrangement, both Senators Husseini Egygbola and Solomon Adokwe and any other Alago son interested in contesting the senate under any political platform were encouraged to do so and stand firm because the idea is that if Egyegbola, is denied the APC ticket to run for the senate at the end of the day, the Alago people will massively vote for Senator Adokwe in PDP who is likely to fly his party’s flag again because what is important to us as a nation is not political party affiliation but having our own (Alago man) maintaining the senate. Our governorship slot was hijacked by the current Governor (Al-Makura) and we cannot afford to make the mistake of relinquish our only senate position to him”
“It is true that the governor may have the support of a few Alago persons but the truth is that Al-Makura should not be deceived that we the Alago people are with him on his senatorial ambition. We have three, out of the five LGAs in the zone and we are the deciding factor in this zone,” the source maintained.
State chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Hon. Francis Orogu had in an interactive session with Journalists in Lafia recently declared that contesting the senate seat against an Alago candidate will be an uphill task for governor Al-Makura, insisting that the governor lacks the credibility to represent the zone.
While it is obvious that the political battle on who takes the day as a representative of the southern zone at the upper chambers of the National Assembly between the duo, the question on who goes to senate come 2019 between Senator Adokwe and Governor Al-Makura can only be answered by time.

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