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APC’s inaugural rally on the Plateau and scuffle for next speaker

Aside from the poor crowd control at the flag-off of the APC presidential campaign in Jos, Plateau State on Tuesday, personally I will adjudge the rally a huge success. This is more so given the fact that Plateau State is not a stronghold of the party, despite being the governing party in the State.

The common perception among the people of the Plateau is that the APC government failed them on security and they would not reward failure. If this information is anything to go by, then the ruling party might just leave out the State as part of its possible catch both for the governorship and presidential elections in 2023.

Be that as it may, the rally was hugely successful as the turnout was massive. I can confirm that the crowd you saw on your television sets represents about 60 percent of the attendees. The remaining 40 percent of attendance was off the cameras outside the venue. While some made failed attempts to gain entrance into the stadium until the event was over, others were comfortable outside the venue as they were there for a different motive of promoting the political interests of some party candidates. There were non-partisan people who also came around for their brisk businesses.

Different support groups were noticed in their numbers declaring support for the APC presidential candidate and at the same time suggesting their interest in other political positions, if and when the APC forms government in 2023.

The most prominent among these groups were the supporters of the chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, Muktar Aliyu Betara, and supporters of the majority leader of the House, Alhassan Ado Doguwa.

While Betara’s supporters conspicuously dominated the crowd both inside and outside the campaign premises, with an uninterrupted display of energy to ensure that their presence was felt, the Doguwa’s group was more noticed by their big buses and posters. The few people around the buses decorated with Doguwa’s posters were probably too tired to display their talent or wait till the end of the event to start their business.

Nevertheless, the statement from the APC campaign rally was that Hon. Betara, who represents Biu/Bayo/Shani Federal Constituency of Borno State and Hon. Doguwa, who is from Doguwa/Tudunwada federal constituency of Kano State, is in the race to clinch the position of speaker when the 10th Assembly is formed next year.

Although the APC is yet to announce its zoning arrangement for the National Assembly positions come June 2023 when the 10th Assembly would be inaugurated, it is becoming clearer that irrespective of the zoning arrangement, the duo of Betara and Doguwa may defy the party arrangement, if it does not favor them individually, to try their luck.

Doguwa, who was first elected to the House in 1992 under the platform of the defunct SDP, is the most senior serving member of the House. He succeeded in returning to the House of Representatives in 2007 and has since been representing his constituents in that capacity since then. Doguwa, who is fighting the fiercest political battle of his life to return to the House, would have been elected into the green chamber for the 6th term and 5th consecutive term since 2007 if he wins the 2023 election.

Just like Doguwa, Betara has been elected to the House for four consecutive terms since 2007 and the 2023 election, which is almost a done deal for him, will make his election the 5th.

Quite strangely, the deputy speaker of the House, Ahmed Idris Wase, who is also an equal match for the duo of Doguwa and Betara, did not record a large crowd of supporters in his home state of Plateau. This, however, does not suggest that Wase is unpopular at home. He is a smooth and silent operator who can not be underrated in any race.

I have it on good authority that Wase will always win elections in his Wase federal constituency, but the case may not be the same if he were to take a shot at senatorial or governorship positions, due to the political demography of Plateau State.

Whether or not the APC makes a clear majority in the green chamber after the February 2023 elections, the three men mentioned above (if re-elected) will most certainly pull their weight when it is time to slug it out for the speakership position in the House, the Jos rally has given us a clue what to expect in 2023.

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