by Is’haq Kawu
This weekend, Nigerians return to the polls to choose governors for most of our states, as well as legislators for state Houses of Assembly. The governor is a very important position because governors affect the lives of millions of Nigerians in our states. Where governors are genuinely committed to the best interest of their people, positive transformative developments can be achieved in states.
In the past few years, here in Northern Nigeria, I attest to the remarkable developments that Kano, Jigawa and Katsina, to mention a few states, experienced. This has nothing to do with the political parties that Governors Kwankwaso, Sule Lamido or Shehu Shema belonged to. They are leaving development legacies, not hidden behind dubious pretenses, where public money was used to build projects but then said to belong to a dubious “private sector”.
That is the experience in Kwara State, for example, since 2003. There, governance is an elaborate charade, resembling a monumental pyramid scheme. The more people saw, the less they understood the hegemony of fraud, controlled by a pitiless and fraudulent hegemony!
As we vote this weekend, I have my gubernatorial wish list. I hope Borno State re-elects Kashim Shettima for a second term. Shettima is one of the most level headed and committed governors in Nigeria today. He came to power in one of the most difficult phases in Borno history, with the tragedy of the Boko Haram insurgency. Yet, he has always kept his eye on the ball, knowing that in the long run, the central issue of governance is the welfare of the people. Shettima made tremendous strides which can only flower now that the Boko Haram insurgency is being degraded. When Shettima earns his second term, against the background of the consolidating peace in Borno, he will certainly work with greater commitment to ensure development in communities that must be rehabilitated in the post-insurgency process. Kashim Settima is at the top of my gubernatorial wish list for success this week.
I live in Kaduna, and have tremendous attachment to the city, for its place in Northern Nigerian history. Kaduna has suffered a frightening regression and underdevelopment, especially in the past four years, because of the incompetence of the outgoing government. This is why I root for Nasir El-Rufai to win this weekend’s election to become governor. I have no doubts in my mind that El-Rufai will provide leadership to transform our city, Kaduna, and the state in general. Kaduna deserves a leadership of knowledge, commitment and modernisation, which Nasir El-Rufai can offer, and I really look forward to his success this weekend.
I recently told Aminu Tambuwal that I would return home to Sokoto to attend his inauguration as the next Sokoto State governor. Tambuwal is another individual with whom I have a very long relationship. A man of tremendous leadership acumen and a unique ability to harness the knowhow of others to achieve set goals, I think Tambuwal will be a good governor for Sokoto. It will be an opportunity for a younger man, with a background of cosmopolitan sophistication, to provide leadership for development that will resonate with the increasingly educated young people who make up the majority of the people of Sokoto.
Masari as governor
Similarly, I look forward to Aminu Bello Masari finally getting opportunity to become governor of Katsina State. Masari is as modest, responsible and as committed as one can see. Our relationship dates back to his days as Speaker, House of Representatives. He is a genuine patriot who has worked hard to get to the point he has arrived today. In the same vein, I am rooting for Dr. Ganduje to win his election in Kano, in order to build upon the foundation laid so remarkably by Governor Kwankwaso. The final person on my gubernatorial wish list is Mohammed Jibrilla Bindow, who is contesting to become Adamawa State governor. I hope that he succeeds in his effort. This is my subjective wishlist, because at the end of the day, politics is ultimately about interest: personal and social. I have stayed within terrains I am familiar with, in Northern Nigeria. If we get it right in one corner of Nigeria, it becomes a statement for good governance all over Nigeria!
Buhari and Senate Presidency
It is clear that General Muhammadu Buhari’s hand is being forced so early in the jostle for the position of Senate President. In the past week, there has been an elaborate spin in Nigerian newspapers about different candidates for the position.
Those spinning stories about a certain individual showed their hands too early, underlining a worrying and disruptive over ambition. I hope to return fully to this issue,in a week or two. If Buhari makes the mistake of backing the wrong individual for this position, it will impact negatively on the possibility of change!
Old order changeth: Those we won’t miss
DEMOCRACY is a remarkable way of organising human society. It throws up often, unlikely individuals into the public and social spaces of society. A most poignant example is President Goodluck Jonathan. In 2011, he touched the emotions of millions of Nigerians with the genuine propaganda line that he went to school shoeless. It resonated with a lot of people who saw Dr Jonathan as just like the folk next door. He harvested millions of votes but used the next four years wasting the goodwill of many of those who voted a “shoeless boy” from the backwaters of Otuoke as their president.
Four years down the line, the table turned; emotions became decisively against the man who celebrated his modest origins, but in power, became captive of a cabal who made him forget where he came from. The man turned the acquisition of new business jets into an expensive presidential diversion. He found out much later, that his deliberate effort at manipulating the fault lines of religion, ethnicity and regionalism could not save him. He was voted out of power!
The past few years in our democratising Nigeria, threw up many characters,who were in our faces, most of the time, for the worst possible reasons. In the long run, they became some of the “crimes” for which Nigerians punished Jonathan.
Old man E.K. Clark heads my cast of characters in the Nigerian theatre of the politically absurd. The self-styled Ijaw leader carefully cultivated himself into a presidential elderly Rottweiler. He confronted whoever dared to cross his ‘godson’, President Jonathan. He dominated the scene amongst an unofficial presidential ‘defence force’. We were both Delegates at the 2014 National Conference, and even there, he carried on, as if he had presidential imprimatur for whatever verbiage he spewed.
He was eternally handing out his call cards to many people, but especially women, who were probably looking for all types of favour they believed EK Clark could secure for them. Chief Clark’s brusqueness with other Nigerians contributed so much to alienating President Jonathan from many people. He forgot too late in the day, that an election was going to come. In the end, he helped ensure that his ‘godson’ lost! It is a new era. We will not miss Chief EK Clark when he disappears from our social space.
Chief Tony Anenih, the wily old, colonial-era policeman and political dinosaur, enjoyed the halo of being addressed as Fixer-in-Chief of the Nigerian political scene. His house was the ultimate Mecca for the flotsam and jetsam of political society. He enjoyed the attention and maximally exploited the myth he was surrounded with.
A man who never ever won an election, but was stupendously rich and with a typically colonial police cunning; Tony Anenih, is a recurrent decimal from the Second Republic through to the June 12 era. He is best remembered as the party chairman who allegedly traded off Chief MKO Abiola’s June 12, 1993 mandate. By 1999, he returned with vengeance to political reckoning, and like a cat with nine lives, was disgraced and rehabilitated severally, until President Jonathan lost his re-election bid. Chief Anenih has expended all his cat’s nine lives. He HAS to vacate the scene. We won’t miss him.
Then there is Jerry Gana. Good old Jerry Gana, Nigeria’s AGIP-in-Chief! He has a unique place in the Nigerian political system, as the SOLE HOLDER of the Certificate of Occupancy (C-of-O) to the corridors of power. He has served and has been dumped like a bag of potatoes and re-appointed by EVERY regime, from the days of military dictatorship till the ill-fated Jonathan administration. Jerry Gana has politically expired. He would be obliged to vacate the scene. We will not miss the past master at exploiting religious identity to stay politically relevant.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was eventually sacked by Obasanjo in her first incarnation in the Nigerian public space. We thought we had been rid of one of the most reactionary individuals ever to happen, like an accident, on our public space.
But President Jonathan, who always felt he must kowtow to imperialism, went back to Washington to beg the most archetypal intellectual in the service of imperialism, Okonjo-Iweala, to return as Finance Minister and a new ego-massaging addendum was even added to fit Ngozi’s larger-than-life ego: Coordinating Minister of the Economy. She lapped it up, while strutting around as if she was God’s only gift to Nigeria. Controversies and all, Okonjo-Iweala will have to vacate our political space, without doubt, back to the imperialist redoubt where she was plucked from. We won’t miss Ngozi!
Certainly we will not miss Diezani Alison-Maduekwe. President Jonathan’s Minister of Petroleum Resources became one of the most unpopular faces of the government. She removed heads of NNPC at will, for as long as she was through with those poor folks or when they would not stand her overbearing arrogance.
She was so special and thought the position she held was eternal, that she even organised the controversial Petroleum Industry Bill, around her position as minister. But everything ends!
In recent days, pictures have emerged online of Diezani allegedly arriving, dressed like a Northern Nigerian housewife, at General Abudusalami Abubakar’s residence in Minna. The regime of private jets and expensive designer bags seems to have ended. Diezani is gone! We won’t miss her.
Please add your own individuals to this non-exhaustive list. The old order changeth, paveth way for the new. If we wait long enough, everything changes!
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija