2011 PRESIDENCY: NOW THAT GOVERNOR SHEKARAU HAS DECLARED
It was August 5, 2010, at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. In a well attended World Press Conference, Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau, the Governor of Kano State officially made a declaration of aspiration to seek nomination as Presidential candidate of All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP). The august event chaired by one term Presidential Candidate of the party, Chief Olu Falae witnessed a tumultuous crowd of highly placed supporters all over the country to hear the man of the moment. The occasion also saw prominent people from each of the six geo-political zones who came out one after the other to declare their unalloyed support for the presidential aspiration of His Excellency, the People's Governor of Kano State. Indeed, the highly successful declaration ceremony, which has already sent cold into the spines of the opposition, has clearly shown that Governor Shekarau is widely acknowledged and unexpected will surely happen in 2011 presidential election.
With the official declaration of aspiration to seek nomination from his party, ANPP by Malam (Dr.) Ibrahim Shekarau, it is no longer a rumour that the People's Governor of Kano State will contest for the number one seat of the land in the 2011 presidential poll. As at today, the astute and erudite governor is the only person who has taken the bull by the horn to make public his intention to seek nomination as presidential candidate of his party, ANPP for the forthcoming presidential election. The thought provoking speech of Malam Shekarau during his declaration is really a food-for-thought likened to the popular speech of the one time President of America, Mr. J.F Kennedy.
The acceptance of Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau to heed to the clarion calls of many well meaning Nigerians to join the presidential race is not only because it is time for the north to take up the position, but because as a democrat, Shekarau has the potentiality and prerequisite qualities to take up the challenge with a view to take the country out of the present socio-economic and political doldrums. Nigeria, as we also know is at crossroads and at 50, the country is still behaving like a cow. A banker, Fola Adeola once likened Nigeria to a cow when he said, "The cow was fat and juicy. She was milked, milked and milked. Nobody thought of feeding her. Now she is shrunken, dry and drying."This is exactly the picture that fits the giant Nigeria as it knocks on the door to its 50th birthday.
It was fifty years ago Nigeria got her independence from her British colonial masters. Since all these years, the country has been on the search for good governance. She moved from one system of government to another including parliamentary, military and presidential systems. For the past eleven years, Nigeria has been practicing presidential system of government based on popular participation called "democracy." This system of government, according to American definition, is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. In order to achieve this concept of democracy, parties are formed based on ideological inclinations, upon which each political party seeks to administer the people of the country. America, the architect of modern democracy, practices two party system of government namely, the democrats and the republicans. Nigeria however, due to her peculiarities, practices multi-party system of 51 registered political parties, with fractured ideologies. This makes it easy for its practitioners to hop from one party to another with reckless abandon in search of greener pastures.
Frankly speaking, the story of leadership governance in Nigeria since 1999 has been a sad point of reference. In spite of the human and material resources Nigeria is endowed with, the country is still wallowing in miasma of hopelessness mainly due to corruption, greed, sentiment, avarice, nepotism, mutual suspicion and gross indiscipline among the leaders and the led. As a result of these unfortunate situation, every one groans on daily basis. These normally lead to one form of crisis or the other. As a result of the flip-flop policies of the government in the areas of education, health, energy and power, security, industry, agriculture, etc, things become nosedived and abysmally unregulated. The country is so much in mess today that both the rich and the poor adopt spurious survival strategy and engages in short-cuts as means of survival. It is the responsibility of government to engage and empower her citizens particularly the youths in self reliance and qualitative education. Sadly enough, the government seems to give credence to militancy, political thuggery, electoral frauds and illiteracy, all of which are capable of degenerating into a bleak future.
Leadership position of any given office is very cumbersome because it entails responsibilities that only the principle mind can carry. It is not easy to be a leader. Any one who thinks that leadership is easy only believes so in terms of leadership without responsibilities. In any case, I do not think that leadership without responsibilities is required in any society, if the essence of leadership is to serve people and the entire society for progress. Most of our Politicians and office seekers are being stimulated in their political participation by their desire to project and some times, promote their selfish goals and values and not by a sense of civic duty to serve the interest of the community. Their desire is to gain reward through political participation. They are never interested in the service to the people but how to amass wealth to the detriment of the people they pledge to serve.
The essence of any leadership position is to use one's experience to create enabling environment for the survival and development of a just and balance society, a society devoid of rancour and unwholesome practices, a society that is ridden of corruption and bigotries, a society that is built on trust and sincerity of purpose and indeed, a society where ethnic and religious differences does not matter. In order to create this type of good atmosphere, every leader uses guiding principle as a basis of carrying out political, economic, social and cultural responsibilities. The practice of democracy, as the late revolutionary Malam Aminu Kano once remarked during the first republic politics, has resulted to massive corruption and abuse, and the alienation of people from government. Indeed, since the present political dispensation began in 1999, our politicians and party leaders have extorted money from government contracts, waiting to purchase erectors and votes when the time comes so that they can continue milking the country dry.
It is also a sad note to observe that the past leaders that caused severe havoc to Nigeria's socio-economic and political advancement and made the country to be walking on crutches having been amputated by their corruption, mismanagement and inefficiency are staging a come back to cause another heavy devastation to the country. We must try to uncover such leaders and avoid them fooling us again. We should also tell them that we have competent men of God and integrity that have also been tested and trusted and among them we expect the people of Nigeria to decide who should hold their trust in 2011 poll. We should be bold to point out that despite all unfortunate problems of Nigeria lingering around; one is convinced that there is some one that could still do the country good if given the chance. This is where the present people's governor of Kano State, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau as alternative remedy to the problems of Nigeria comes to play.
Indeed, we are optimistic that with Shekarau's kind of leadership, especially when one looks at his unprecedented achievements he recorded for the people of the most populous state, Kano, there is no doubt that as a new generation politician; he will be able to get rid off the age long political and socio-economic problems that have been bedeviling the country. As a gentleman of impeccable character, he cannot allow any social, political and economic convulsions to continue to happen to Nigeria and Nigerians. As a matter of fact, there are so many things that differentiate the governor of Kano State from most of his colleagues in other states of the federation. I want somebody to correct me if there is any other governor in Nigeria, apart from Shekarau whose administration publicly informs her people on monthly basis the government income and expenditure. Please, tell me who among the governors that allows non-indigenes in his state to be part of his government. These are just tip of the iceberg. It is this distinctive approach to issues that any one who truly has concern for Nigeria should ensure Shekarau's choice for President in 2011.The ANPP delegates in particular and Nigerians in general should not make mistake on this.
This is chiefly because, to move the country out of her socio-economic and political quagmires, we require leaders that have the fear of God, no matter how little. We need leaders that truly represent the yeaning and aspirations of Nigerians, irrespective of tribal, religious and political affiliations. We need leaders that strongly believe in the unity of our diversity. We need leaders that are consistent in tackling problems and issues rather than parochial sentiments. We need principled leaders that can stand on their oars and call a spade a spade, not minding who is involved. Indeed, Nigeria needs a president that knows the rudiment of democracy and not some one that is already used to command. One of these hard-to-get leaders that have distinguishably carved a niche for him self is Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano State. Nigerians are therefore extremely happy that God has made him to declare his intention to run for the presidency.
Many Nigerians have spoken well of him. Professors, politicians, traditional leaders, students, market women, government functionaries, trade unions, professionals and even his opponents have distinguishably commented and appraised Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau as a man that should be elected as the next President of Nigeria in 2011. Nigerians are patiently waiting for him to take up the mantle of leadership in 2011 so that he can stop the country from being milked, milked and milked without being fed like a cow. Allah bamu sa'a!
Saka Raji Audu writes from Kano and can be reached on his email: [email protected]