As the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) prepares to conduct the Jalingo/Yoro/Zing House of Representatives bye-election in Taraba on Saturday, 3rd February 2024, four political parties are intensifying their efforts to secure victory for their candidates.
The election, which carries tribal and religious undertones, will see voting patterns in the three local government areas influenced by these factors.
The Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate, Innocent Jabayang, a Mumuye man from Zing local area, is expected to receive strong support from his kinsmen in both Zing and Yoro local government areas.
Meanwhile, the candidates from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Engr. Tafida Abbas, the All Progressive Congress (APC), Hon. Aminu Male, and Aminu Liman of NNPP, are set to split votes along religious lines.
All candidates from the PDP, APC, and NNPP are from Jalingo local government area, which usually contributes a significant number of votes to the federal constituency. These three candidates are Muslims, while Jayabang is the only Christian candidate who has the backing of his Mumuye tribal people from Yoro and Zing.
The PDP, led by sitting governor Dr. Agbu Kefas, faced challenges during its primary election, leading to several preferred aspirants stepping down for Tafida Abbas. This development has left the PDP with limited support in Jalingo. Notably, PDP has not won the Turaki ward of Jalingo in recent elections, from where Abbas is nominated.
Hon. Aminu Male of the APC, who has previously held the seat twice, is expected to gain the majority of votes from Jalingo. However, NNPP candidate Aminu Liman could be a game-changer, bolstered by support from Prof. Sani Yahaya’s followers in the 2023 governorship election.
Hassan Jugude, a staunch NNPP member, stated, “We’re going to support Aminu Liman to win, as it can’t be winners take all.”
If Governor Agbu Kefas does not address the post-bye-election primaries’ issues within PDP effectively, PDP risks entering the election without support from key figures like Hon. Aminu Jika and Alhaji Bello Yero, who were compelled to step down during the primaries.
Former Governor of Taraba state Rev. Jolly Nyame, the 2023 SDP governorship candidate Hon. Baidoa Tijos, and other top politicians are working tirelessly to secure a victory for SDP and Innocent Dabayang.
Sources have urged INEC and security agencies to ensure a free, fair, and credible election, allowing the people to choose the best candidate. The bye-election aims to fill the vacancy created by the death of Hon. Ismaila Meihanchi, who won the Jalingo/Yoro/Zing federal constituency seat under the PDP.