BY BABA AHMED, LAFIA – The sack of nine members from the Nasarawa State Executive Council by Governor Umaru Tanko Al-makura has sent jitters into the political spine of other appointees.
Though the governor attributed the cabinet reshuffling to the 2019 political ambition of some commissioners, checks by Forefront revealed the exercise was also due to the political interest of Governor Al-Makura ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Governor Al-Makura and other stakeholders, it was gathered, were no longer comfortable with some commissioners in what those in the political circle dubbed ‘doubted loyalty’ and ‘poor electoral value’.
Other reasons adduced for the sweeping changes are lack of capacity and waning political value of some dropped commissioners now seen and referred to as ‘mere bench warmers’ in the State’s evolving political equation.
For instance, Abdulhamid Kwarra, who was moved from the Information Ministry to Environment, is presumed to have lost touch with his Wamba Local Government Area while also lacking capacity to make contributions that could give adequate publicity to the government.
A top government official confided in Forefront that Kwarra was only interested in making trips for seminars and abandoning his primary assignment.
In the same vein, Barrister Yusuf Shehu, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, before his deployment to the Information Ministry, is seen as the architect of his failure. Before the Cabinet shake-up, Shehu was seen more on the social media defending the government as against attending to legal matters and handling briefs for the state government in courts.
It was also gathered that his tenure as Justice Commissioner witnessed the highest garnishing order in the state and at the same time he is seen as incapable of defending government policies in the Ministry of Information through increased tempo of government’s engagement in the social media.
This is in addition of the fact that he is considered as another politician without any serious electoral worth required by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State come the next general polls.
For Mrs. Mary Nwogulu, the sacked commissioner for Women Affairs, her case is that of double jeopardy. Though she may have declared her intention to contest the Senate seat, it is believed that she is not in touch with present reality and may be unable to withstand the pressure from her Eggon constituency in defending government policies to win the heart of her people where Governor Al-makura is believed to be having serious opposition.
However, the former commissioner for Lands, who is the longest serving commissioner in the administration of Governor Al-Makura, Mr Sonny Agassi, left to test his popularity in the 2019 general elections. he is said to be gunning for the Lafia–Obi federal constituency ticket to represent his people in the House of Representatives.
For Barrister Gabriel Ortan Aka’aka, who was the Commissioner for Water Resources and Rural Development, insiders hinted that being the only Tiv man in the cabinet, he was caught in the web of tribal politics as his kinsmen are of the view that he lacks the political clout to carry them along.
Also, Mr Bamaiyi Anangba, former Commissioner, Ministry of Youth and Sports Development from Kokona Local Government Area, was alleged to have stepped on the toes of some powerful stakeholders who are not comfortable with his brand of politicking in addition to claims that he has become a political liability to the government.
The days ahead are really going to be interesting in the state due to political permutations against the backdrop of defections gale ahead of the 2019 general elections.
On his part, sources said Dr Daniel Iya Ministry of Health a refined medical personnel, lost his portfolio to political intrigues over his apparent disinterestedness in political activities and machinations of the government.
Others who were let go over their political ambitions include Mohammed Wada Yahaya, Commissioner of Ministry of Works, Housing & Transport, seeking to vie for the State Assembly seat in Keffi Local Government Area.
Similarly, Tanko Abdullahi Zubair Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Cooperative was dropped to pursue his ambition of taking over at the Keana-Awe-Doma Federal House of Representatives