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!