By NBF News
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Kano State Governor, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, will formally declare his interest for the presidential race on July 31, 2010. His ambition has been the subject of intense speculations in the last one year. The governor is one of the few still remaining in the All Nigeria Peoples Party(ANPP) on which platform he will vie for the seat.

He is generally perceived as a key force of stability in the party, which has gone through crises in the last few years, leading to the exodus of many of its leaders including its presidential candidate in the 2003 and 2007 elections, Major Gen. Muhammadu Buhari(retd).

An ideologue of the 'talakawa', Shekarau is poised to ride on the crest of his success in Kano, which made the clamour for him to join the presidential race, in the least, expected.

He told journalists recently in Kano that whoever wants to be president this time around must be a man or woman with transparency as second nature.

He also claimed to have successfully forged a peaceful relationship between his Kano people known for ethno-religious restiveness and other Nigerians, mostly from the South and Christian enclaves, which accounts for the relative peace in his state in the last seven years he had been in the saddle.

Shekarau said he was throwing his hat into the ring because he would like to be judged by God if he fails to act.

The man, who may well be regarded as the Northern counterpoise to the controversial zoning principle of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said his political ideology is human development and social justice. 'My role models are the Prophet of Islam Muhammad(PBUH) and his first four Khalifs-Abubakar, Umar, Usman and Ali, because all of them lived their lives promoting the dignity of man and the establishment of a just and equitable system of handling people's affairs,' he said.

The governor, in spite of his pedigree, believes the race will be hard and arduous.

'I intend to campaign vigorously throughout the entire country to convince Nigerians that I am the best candidate for the job.'

He contends that should he defeat the ruling party that is currently embroiled in zoning controversies, rebuilding the people's confidence in government would be his top priority.

He observed that given Nigeria's history of electoral irregularities and violence, his party would begin an accelerated commitment to electoral reforms. He gives reasons for his decision to be president in 2011, thus: 'The issue of my service at a higher level is a national assignment, an agitation from the people themselves. It is no longer news that very many people, from different quarters, from different sectors of this country, not only within my party or within the political platforms but across the national divide, have been agitating and calling on me to come forward and present myself to serve the nation at the number one position.

'I have subjected these calls and agitations to varied analyses and considerations and I came to the conclusion that the same reason that compelled and convinced me to accept the people's calls in 2002, applies in this situation. You will recall that in 2002/2003, when I came into the political arena, I was literally drafted by the people of Kano, and the general public through their agitations and calls, because they were impressed by the little performance I put up in my civil service years for the country either as a school teacher, a school administrator, as a school principal for many years and permanent secretary in various ministries, participating in many community activities within the period and beyond.' Shekarau, who has been building bridges across the country to facilitate his victory at the polls, has immense confidence in his party for self-transformation and capacity to contend the challenges that would come with the race.