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Taraba 2023: Kefas Agbu Projected To Win Race

The Taraba state governorship seat is heavily contested amongst PDP's Kefas Agbu and Senator Emmanuel Bwacha of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and  no fewer than 18 political parties have fielded candidates for the governorship election. However, only a few of the parties and their candidates can be considered as running a serious campaign.


The three geopolitical zones in the state have all had a share of the number one seat. Taraba northern district was the first to produce an elected governor, followed by the Central Zone. Southern zone was the last to get its slot when Darius Dickson Ishaku won the governorship in 2015 and was reelected in 2019. Therefore, the argument as to which zone should produce the next governor is not intense. This has led to all the zones throwing up candidates in various political parties.


Danladi Baido (SDP)

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Danladi Baido is the present House of Representatives member representing Karimlamido/Ardo-Kola federal constituency. He was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and won his two terms on the platform of the PDP. Baido, who hails from the north of the state, however left the PDP for SDP during the build up to the party's gubernatorial primary. He advanced arguments that the PDP ought to have officially zoned its governorship ticket to the north, which was the first to produce a governor. Baido, a former Finance Commissioner, is garnering the sympathy of his people in the northern zone, but his party, without strong structures across the state, has no hold.


Danlami Ikenya (LP)


Description: C:\Users\HP\Desktop\TTF Corona virus\FB_IMG_1660728899295.jpgJoel Danlami Ikenya, a former senator and minister, is a household name in Taraba politics. He was a member of the PDP and he contested the PDP governorship ticket but he lost out before migrating to Labour Party. Because of his party's lack of structures and followers in Taraba, Ikenya, who once held the soubriquet of the 'political bulldozer,' is not having support of his Southern Taraba particularly Wukari his hometown.


Emmanuel Bwacha (APC)

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Emmanuel Bwacha is the senator representing Southern Taraba district. He became senator on the platform of the PDP. He had also represented the people of Donga/Ussa/Takum Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives on the platform of the PDP. The senator is a grassroots politician who is said to have done very well for his constituents.


Upon his declaration as the APC candidate, Bwacha, who hails from Southern Taraba, has picked Iliyasu Kirim from the North's Karim-Lamido as his running mate.


But David Sabo Kente who lost out in APC approached the judiciary for an annulment. The lawsuit of another aspirant – Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf also ended with a High Court sitting in Abuja voiding the primary. Bwacha was thus, removed as nominee by two Federal High Court rulings and APC was ordered to conduct a new primary by both judgments until his Appeals were upheld, however his candidature is still challenged at the Supreme Court.

 The internal crisis in the party and the court cases against Bwacha may affect the party's chances at the polls.  Bwacha's failure to garner the support of key stakeholders of his party has been his albatross, the major players who are to support the candidate have teamed up against him. If Bwacha loses at the apex court, then APC would have no candidate in the 2023 governorship election.

Many people also believes it is time for Bwacha to take the back stage as he was part of all government that has brought Taraba to where it is. 

Sen. Bwacha who represents Taraba South senatorial district since 2011 and defected from the PDP after he lost his bid for gubernatorial candidate under the same party and defected to the APC.

Bwacha has since expanded his influence especially in the south due to his consistent win of the assembly seat and by dragging a few loyalists along from his former party to the APC

His support in the tug for the governorship position is also heavily reliant on his ranking as the forerunner amongst the three legislators representing Taraba in the senate.



Agbu Kefas (PDP)

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A retired Lt. Colonel, Agbu Kefas, is the flag bearer of the PDP. After the primary, aggrieved aspirants coalesced behind a single lawsuit by Prof Jerome Nyameh challenging Agbu's nomination. But the candidate has continued to win in the court. A former NIMASA boss and state PDP chairman, Kefas is a big name and his party has never lost the governorship election in Taraba since the return to democratic rule in 1999.


Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku is doing his last tenure so the issue of 'power of incumbency' is not a serious factor to consider when analyzing the contest. However, Kefas also have been reaching out to the electorates with his blueprint for the state. The governor, who is the PDP candidate for the Southern Senatorial District election is going to deploy all the machineries of the state government to ensure Kefas wins. From findings, the PDP has stronghold in Southern and northern zones which gives Kefas a leading advantage over the other candidates.


But political watchers are projecting that the PDP Governorship candidate is standing a better chance of defeating his contenders in fair poll.




"Many things come into play amongst which are the perceived potential of the two candidates and the scorecard of the current administration, but a larger number of the voters will queue behind Col. Kefas Agbu if pool is to be conducted. He has shown a calm disposition to politicians and he is presenting his agenda to the people, moreso Tarabans might want to try a fresh person in governance," many respondents agreed. 



Nevertheless, times have changed and party politics is gradually becoming distasteful as electorates would rather consider a candidate's pedigree above party, but some still believe considering a new person would bring desired change.


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