It was my colleague and friend, Garbadeen Muhammed, who once described the Niger State Governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu as “the most microphone-addicted governor” in Nigeria. Babangida Aliyu loves to be described as the “Servant Leader”, and as Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, fancies himself as the representative figure of Northern Nigerian political leadership. Unfortunately, our views of individuals won’t be what they describe themselves to be, but what they really are! Babangida Aliyu is a very highly educated individual; that cannot be disputed. But he has not always lived up to the high standards that his education calls forth or the heights of attainment, which made him Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum. He is very long on talk but very short on honour or fidelity to principles, thus devaluing his own educational and other attainments.
Last week, at the inauguration of the Niger State PDP governorship campaign committee, Babangida Aliyu told his audience that: “If you cannot lie, get out of politics. Anything that you are involved in has its own rule. You are in politics to win, win first and let other things follow. Don’t be the one crying out loudest lest you will be the one they will take to court. If you are talking of honesty and morals, go and become an Imam or a pastor. Politics cannot be the way it used to be. The challenges are more now; the variables have changed. Our society is not as grateful as it used to be; the values and morals have gone down. If you want to win, use the modern morality”. The variables have changed certainly, with the types of individuals who run our states especially and our society in general. Individuals like Babangida Aliyu who would openly tell his followers to abandon politics if they cannot be liars. Or characters like Bukola Saraki, who hold the financial resources of states like Kwara in bear-hug, since 2003! It is therefore no wonder that our country is beset with the myriads of problems dogging it today. The leadership recruitment process which threw up the likes of Babangida Aliyu and Bukola Saraki, for example, does tremendous injustice to the Nigerian people! There is a poster making the rounds in Niger State; it has Babangida Aliyu and other PDP candidates surrounding General Muhammadu Buhari, the APC Presidential candidate. Babangida Aliyu and his PDP colleagues are hoping to extract mileage from Buhari’s cult-like followership amongst voters in many parts of Northern Nigeria, including Niger State. That is a practical expression of Babangida Aliyu’s admonition: “If you cannot lie, get out of politics”!