By Lawal Sa’idu Funtua
It is only natural and a political reality that each Deputy Governor may want to succeed his boss. This is especially true as he has crossed the shadow of power and witnessed first-hand how it is being exercised. But it is also a historical reality that only a few deputies realize their long-coveted ambition of succeeding their principals. And where a deputy is lucky to succeed his boss the relationship usually ends on a soar note.
Come 2023 Katsina Deputy Governor, Alhaji Mannir Yakubu may wish to succeed the incumbent governor of the state, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari. Alhaji Mannir Yakubu is not a novice in the polical intrigues of Katsina. He was once a contestant for the Katsina Central senatorial seat and a one-time gubernatorial aspirant. He also holds the record of being the only APC gladiator in Katsina state that has never joined PDP even in its heydays as a ruling party. Another extra feather to his cap is his proven loyalty to his principal from 2015 to date. There has never been any reported friction between him and his boss for the six years they have worked together. Academically, Mannir Yakubu is a trained Quantity Surveyor that may add value to the physical development of Katsina State if elected governor.
However, it is a time-tested fact that in politics the more you see the less you understand. Plotting to victory in politics goes beyond holding a couple of saintly credentials. There are many more requisite ingredients that make a politician a potential credible contender to any elective position to which he aspires. Keen observers of the political theatre in Katsina State have raised some salient questions with regards to the prospects of Mannir Yakubu succeeding his principal come 2023.
Some of these questions include: will his boss, Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari support his candidature? What is his relationship with the party executives in the state? Does he have any political control in Katsina Central Senatorial zone which is his primary constituency? What about his political structure as well as his outreach to other parts of the state? In his close to six years as Deputy Governor, how many of his loyalists has he this far supported to secure appointment in the government? How generous is he to party faithfuls and the larger society? Does he have the political oratory to address huge crowds at political gatherings? How accessible is he to politicians across different stages of the political ladder? What about his performance as Commissioner of Agriculture?
About the first question raised, it is quite difficult to determine for now whether his boss, Masari, will support his candidature or not; but what is certain is that the Governor will not gamble with the party’s chances by supporting a candidate whose electoral value is a subject of dispute. Similarly on his relationship with the state party executives, checks have revealed that he doesn’t see eyeball to eyeball with the state caretaker chairman, Alhaji Shitu S. Shitu. It is an open secret that the state APC Chairman has pitched his loyalty with another political gladiator that is believed to be nursing a desperate ambition to succeed Governor Masari.
On his political structure and grip on his primary constituency, Mannir Yakubu seems to also be missing in action as political pundits in the state contended that the Deputy Governor has not even a faint control over the party structure even in his Katsina Local Government constituency. Political observers have outrightly concluded that party structures in the key zonal headquarters are now solely controlled by the Commissioner of Youth and Sports, Alhaji Dani Danlami, who is a much later entrant into the political scene.
On his political reach and outreach across the state, political pundits maintain that the Deputy Governor has no political structure outside his few relatives and friends. Likewise, six years after the formation of an APC administration in Katsina State, Alhaji Mannir Yakubu has not directly influenced any appointments outside his office. In terms of welfare to political associates watchers of political developments have concluded that the Number ‘2’ political office holder is not a generous giver. A survey of party officials and key constituents reveals a general belief that the Deputy Governor has a stingy disposition — a trait that plays the cards against even the best political recruiter or mobilizer.
In quite sharp contrast, Governor Aminu Bello Masari has been greatly helped through the years of his political career by his generosity as well as his oratory when it comes to mobilization. Oratory is also another weapon that is not found in the Deputy Governor’s arsenal. On the issue of accessibility, quite a number of his political associates note that he has built a barricade around himself that has made it difficult for both politicians and his constituents to reach him.
His boss gave him the opportunity of presiding over the juicy ministry of agriculture as Commissioner. Pundits contended that his appointment has not in anyway change the fortune of the ministry. This they said call to question his administrative capacity if given a higher responsibility.
However keen observers of political developments in the state argued that despite the odds working against him, the deputy governor still has a chance of redeeming his ambition.