For the next elections, I doubt if there would be any Buhari wave. So those seeking political offices have to proffer solutions that would improve the fortunes of the State.

“If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem” – African proverb

It’s 2017, and the race for available electoral posts in 2019 have begun. Governor Fayose of Ekiti State already has posters littering the cyberspace in the name of vying for the presidency. Former Vice President Atiku Abukabar is exploiting, well within his rights, every possible avenue to sell his ideas for a better Nigeria, while the newly Supreme Court bailed out Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been zoning out positions instead of reflecting on its past mistakes and making logical amends.

However, the race for Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, the official home of the Governor of Kaduna State, currently occupied at least till 2019, by Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, began since 2015.

Leading the pack is the unambitious Senator Shehu Sani representing Kaduna Central Senatorial Zone. One would have assumed that a person who rode on the back of human rights activism and the ‘Buhari wave’ would, at least, have concrete plans to support his aspiration in vying for the governorship of Kaduna State, instead of his current approach of vilifying and slandering the personality of the current governor. There is little need to examine what benefits he has brought to the zone from the Senate. The electorate would surely express their pleasure, or otherwise in 2019 when he decides to re-run for Senate because his gubernatorial aspiration lacks any indication of genuineness.

Apart from aligning with like-minded political urchins in the Senate to stifle the federal government, he has shown little concern for the progress of Kaduna State simply because someone, much shorter in height and size but of course greater in heart and mind, occupies the seat. He was reported to have avoided attending the commissioning of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s Kaduna office for the reason of the governor’s presence at the occassion. The senator should know that supporting the EFCC in ridding Kaduna and Nigeria of corruption would reduce waste and improve governance and social justice. However, he chose to personalise matters. He should also be aware that the public already knows where he stands with regards to current acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

More importantly, we expect the Senator to explain to the electorate on his plans for Kaduna State, not minding the current occupant. A senator representing a Zone that comprises seven local governments should be more concerned about what dividends are brought to his constituency either from the federal government or through his contacts by his membership of some Senate committees. However, two years down the line, he has not documented or presented any tangible or intangible benefit that his accession to the Senate has brought to the people of Kaduna State. If he can’t afford to build a website for updating his constituency on his work, Facebook is a free platform, and some telecommunication companies offer free data, which could be used in this regard.

Surprisingly, or rather unbelievably, another former House of Representatives member and senator who was ousted by the courts is toeing a similar line but with more decadence. Senator Datti Ahmed, by virtue of his background of having attended a military school, should know that yelling and buzz about the ‘enemy’ do not win wars. He made a bad example of the academia by writing an opinion piece with not a single line on how to make governance better, but with so much irreverence of and total disrespect for the person and office of Governor El-Rufai. One may forgive Senator Sani for his inadequacies, but not Senator Datti, a protege and full beneficiary of the aristocratic system that mostly benefits a few. For a person with a PhD who also runs a private University, he should know that vilification and the use of hate messages do not constitute a strategy.

It may have worked for Trump, but that’s not all he deployed to win the US election. He offered viable options on things that matter such as employment, security, foreign policy and trade. Our politicians often think that making the other look bad through deliberate instigation and the misrepresentation of facts is a winning formula. That is simply a lack of concrete ideas. Yes, it worked in Ekiti, but should responsible aspirants be adopting rascality and mischief as means to an end?

Maybe I am wrong because both senators have ‘won’ elections before using the same strategy of purposelessness. We ought to move from the past because it has not helped the masses or the elite. The masses want solutions to perennial problems. The elite are simply exploiting the poverty, mostly of the mind, of some people, to attain power and access to resources.

Another assemblage is the ‘Kaduna Restoration Group, which has some persons of integrity such as Professor Yusuf Dankofa and Barrister GU Shehu, although one has been accused of ‘switching’ sides because Governor El-Rufai refused to appoint him as attorney-general or grant him contracts for consultancy services; and the other served as the attorney general in the last despicable dispensation. Those are not relevant to this discussion. What is important is that apart from having some nuisance value on Facebook, what documented and strategic initiatives are the members taking to support good governance, even by critically criticising the policies of the current government or offering solutions? What aspect is to be “restored” or does it just entail unseating the governor and then it’s Eureka?

One of the problems with our political leaders is that after leaving office, they all want to be ‘advisers’ or patronised to render paid for services. Some get too used to being in government and hardly realise that their time in office has passed and some else is at the helm. That is why some countries and communities have “Councils of Advisers or Elders”, which are devoid of political leanings or prejudice. Sadly for us, once politicians loose out in the power game, the first, second and third options for them is to become the opposition!

Without any attempt to defend Governor El Rufai, he has laid out his programmes, better than most governors, with measurable specifics! I think he has made the task very simple for his opponents, for all they need to do is to assess his promises and programmes and, justifiably or maliciously, pluck holes in them and point out their infractions. There is a publicly available roadmap for virtually every sector of Kaduna State. These documents should be used as measurement tools for performance or otherwise. But sticking to one’s personality, his personal views and how he became this and achieved that is surely unhelpful and injudicious. Opponents don’t quote figures, statistics or present any form of empirical evidence to win arguments but they want to rely on incitement through the malicious misrepresentation of facts or even attempt to provide ‘alternative facts’.

What we lack from aspiring political office holders is the proffering of solutions to issues bedevilling the State. Kaduna State has more than enough brains to solve its problems. What needs to be strengthened is the focus on delivering of the dividends of democracy. Aspirants, apart from their glamorous political and academic credentials, must have the capacity to deliver not only on promises but exceed expectations. Matters such as the payment of salaries and pensions or the purchase of fertiliser for farmers should not be yardsticks for measuring performance. We have seen governors displaying the purchase of cars for their commissioners as achievements. For the next elections, I doubt if there would be any Buhari wave. So those seeking political offices have to proffer solutions that would improve the fortunes of the State.

If some think they have and can amass enough to live comfortably after losing in the next elections, remembering Tuco Juan Ramirez, he who steals and remains alive, knows nothing about Magu!

Umar Yakubu wrote in from Abuja; Email: mallamumaryakubu@yahoo.com.