Bold campaign posters showing the interest of two-term former Bauchi State Governor and Minister of Aviation, Malam Isa Yuguda, have literally flooded strategic streets and districts of the nation’s capital, Abuja in the past week, fuelling permutations by political observers that this signals the awaited dark horse in the race for the vacant office of the national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
In Abuja, the posters which carried Yuguda’s bold picture and name have been spotted on buildings around Aso Villa, traffic kiosks, bus stops and street trees in Asokoro, Garki, Central Area, Maitama, Wuse 11( around APC National Secretariat) on Aguiyi Ironsi Street and Shehu Shagari Way opposite the Federal Ministry of Justice connecting Ibrahim Babangida Boulevard.
The posters bore the inscription ‘Support Malam (Dr.) Isa Yuguda, CON, Matawallen Bauchi, a.k.a ‘’One Nigeria, One Destiny’’ for APC National Chairman.
In the race which is billed for early February, Isa Yuguda is believed to have gained the confidence and backing of powerful interests cutting across power centers within and outside the ruling party comprising serving and former presidents and governors and a strong sprinkling of National Assembly caucus members.
It was not clear yesterday if his backers have finished meeting and securing the support of other ex-state governors such as former governor of Benue State, Senator George Akume, ex-governor of Nasarawa State, Alhaji Tanko Al-Makura, ex-governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, among others, whose subtle shuttles have gone far.
The posters have other inscriptions for Yuguda such as ‘This is the Bridge Builder APC has been waiting for’; and, ‘Here Comes the Dark Horse’; ‘Now, the Good Times are Here with Isa Yuguda’; etc, all of which may have positioned Yuguda as man to watch in the build-up to the race.
His aide, Alhaji Abubakar Dahuwa Abdulkadir told anxious newsmen yesterday that his boss had not even started printing any posters yet, pointing out that the posters making the rounds were voluntarily printed and pasted by South-based community groups and associations of fanatical fans, supporters and loyalists believed to be working for persons whose lives the former Bauchi State governor significantly touched when he was Minister of State for Transport from 2003 to 2005 and as Minister of Aviation from 2003 tp 2005.
He said that other Northern-based groups which have also communicated their unflinching support to the former governor through emissaries, letters, phone calls and messages have sought permission to kick-start a series of show-stopping activities to drum up support and fully key into the groundswell of solidarity and goodwill for the former governor.
He disclosed that part of what has made his boss a very good sell among all ehnic groups and nationalities in the party is that his tenure as governor is still well-reputed for its audacious non-indigene policy among other socially-uplifting programmes that turned Bauchi State into a home for persons from diverse backgrounds and persuasions.
His administration abolished contract appointments for Nigerians from other States who were literally handed permanent and pensionable appointments as well as political appointments in the State.
He further disclosed that Mal. Isa Yuguda, fondly called the architect of modern Bauchi State owing to several developmental strides and initiatives he brought to the state such as water-tight security of lives and property, the Tafawa Balewa International Airport, Bauchi State University at Gadau, etc is emotionally touched and overwhelmed by the open show of appreciation by the people he served.
The former governor is a professional banker having obtained a B.Sc in Economics from the Ahmadu Bello University in 1979 and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA). Before his first election as governor in 2007, he was Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, NAL Merchant Bank in Lagos having held a similar chief executive position at the Inland Bank Plc from 1992 to 1999.
As a cabinet minister under ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo between 2000 and 2005, he was a member of the Economic Management Team. He completed his second term as Bauchi State governor to establish Nadabo Lead and Zinc Mining Company Limited where he is Executive Chairman till date.
He holds prestigious traditional title of Matawallen of Bauchi. He also holds other traditional titles from across the country in recognition of his sustained One Nigeria, One Destiny advocacy which emphasizes mutual respect among peoples of the different geo-political zones of the country.
On Saturday, November 30, 2013 at the ancient palace of the Alaafin of Oyo Empire, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi 111, Malam Isa Yuguda was installed as the Obasayero (Holder of the World) of Oyo Empire at a historic ceremony where the revered monarch declared:
‘’ I have heard of the way he (Yuguda) has taken along all people resident in the state. I heard encouraging stories of how he appointed some of them into his administration as lieutenants. It was therefore the collective decision of the Oyo Mesi (the Palace Council) that such a bridge builder needs to be recognized and encouraged in order to serve as example to others. Nigeria is one and we must promote the oneness of Nigeria’’.