2011 Presidency: As Nigerians Awaits Sardaunan Kano

21 April 2010

By Saka Raji Audu

It beats one's imagination that when it comes to the matter of electing President of Nigeria, most Nigerians do not have the grip of who really to choose as their candidate for the coveted seat. This factor of inability to make good choice had often led to mediocrity, incompetence and retardations of Nigeria progress when compared with other third world countries. The consequence of this has also been of great burden on both Nigeria and Nigerians.

It is rather very unfortunate that at 50 years of our independence and 11 years of our uninterrupted democracy, Nigeria is still walloping in abject poverty, corruption, nepotism, ethnicity, sectionalism, illiteracy and other unfortunate ills that have bedeviled the country. Sadly too, the military class that had had cause to truncate our democracy had also contributed immensely to the socio-economic and political woes that have become Nigeria today. The tragic part of it all is that we hardly reflect on these sordid experiences and these have made us to always stumble over the same stone many times without number.

In less than twelve months from now, Nigerians would be given another opportunity to exercise their franchise and elect the President of their choice. Expectedly, interested candidates who wish to serve as the President of the country, for at least, four years have started expressing their interest. The first person to formally call the shot is the former Military President of Nigeria who had served the country for eight years between August 1985 and August 1993 in the person of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, alias IBB.

Other candidates that are being expected to formally express their interest for the 2011 presidency are General Muhammadu Buhari who had also got the opportunity through the barrel of gun to assume the President of the country for about two years between 31st December, 1983 and 27th August 1985. General Buhari had also attempted twice to become the President of Nigeria through the ballot box but could not get elected. General Aliyu Gusau, the present Security Adviser to the Acting President Goodluck Jonathan, who had also served the country in the same capacity for many years, is also being speculated as contender of 2011 Presidency. This is not all. Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, the man that served the country for eight years as Vice-President would also like to express his interest in the 2011 Presidency. As a matter of speculation, the incumbent Acting President Goodluck Jonathan, who until recently was the Vice-President to the ailing President Umoru Musa Yar'adua is also being tipped to run for the 2011 Presidential race.

Above all, there is this hero of our time from Kano state that has broken so much record in the governance of the state for almost eight years now as the real People's Governor in the person of Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau, the Sardaunan Kano. He is also being awaited by many patriotic Nigerians to declare for 2011 Presidential contest. Among these likely contenders of 2011 presidency, all but Jonathan are from the north and all but Shekarau had had their tastes of presidency.

Perhaps, the factor that would be responsible for the likely increase in the number of people aspiring to be the next civilian President from the north is the fact that the region has only had six out of sixteen years of civil rule as President of Nigeria since 1979. These include Alhaji Shehu Aliyu Usman Shagari (1979 1983) and Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar'adua (2007 2009). The balance ten years of the civil rule is under the grip of the South and these include Chief Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo (1999 2007) and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan (2009 -2011) by the grace of God. So, it might not be a coincident that PDP insisted on fielding a northerner as her candidate for 2011 Presidential contest.

About a week ago, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida signified his intention to contest the 2011 Presidential election under PDP. Perhaps, because it is the party where the highest bidder carries the day, it should not surprise any one that IBB is planning to sail 2011 through the party. This is why people like Atiku Abubakar, General Aliyu Gusau and even Dr. Goodluck Jonathan might not come out unscathed in PDP contest except for any miracle. IBB might therefore get the PDP ticket unless something fast is done. Even if this happens, it would not still be uhuru for IBB at the General Election, no matter what other optional registered political party he might join, and not withstanding the fact that the former President Olusegun Obasanjo is willing to reciprocate the good gesture done to him in 1999 PDP Jos convention by IBB who made Obasanjo what he became later.

IBB would still have to explain to Nigerians what happened to the country oil windfall during the 1991 gulf war, his 1986 Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) that turned out to enslave the common man, his 1989 IMF loan that enslaved the Nigerian Students and his 1993 annulment of June 12, Presidential election that led to loss of huge lives and property. What about the 1986 Dele Giwa issue? What about the Ogidi tragedy in Lagos where 150 Nigerian soldiers were bombed and the huge fall in the value of our currency, leading to high level of inflation where too much money chased too few goods at the detriment of Nigerians? All these IBB refused to explain to Nigerians in 2000 when he was called by the Oputa Panel to do so. Thus, whoever is engaged or planning to eat from IBB spoils of office in anticipation of getting him 'elected' in 2011 should eat small as IBB has many loads up his sleeves. It does not also matter if Professor Maurice Iwu or his like would be appointed as the electoral umpire for the next general election.

As for General Muhammadu Buhari and Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau, they are two political icons that deserve to be President of Nigeria. They have integrity and charisma to take the country to the promise land. It is because Buhari recognizes the integrity of Shekarau that in 2003, he vouched for him as the governor of politically volatile state as Kano. Up till date, there is no love lost between the two. The seemingly differences between the two are artificial creation of some followers who lack the dynamic of political power. These people are so much interested in their own interest more than the interest of their leaders.

For instance, some members of the defunct "the Buhari organization" that recently metamorphosed into Congress for People's Change (CPC) are of the belief that since Buhari was the 'one that made' Shekarau to win the Kano governorship election in 2003, they should be allowed to control and direct every thing under Shekarau's administration. In politics, this type of tilted vaulting ambition does not happen since Shekarau is a governor of every body in the state. As a result of their inability to actualize this self- serving mission, they deliberately resorted to all sorts of blackmails against Shekarau administration, portraying things as if all is not well between Shekarau and Buhari. Perhaps, if God had not made it possible for Shekarau to thread softly and distance his government input from such type of people, he would not have been able to achieve all the wonderful landmarks he has recorded so far in Kano, which most of his staunch critics have come to appreciate because, joke apart, no past government had got such brilliant foresight of the Sardaunan Kano.

It is however a piety that some self styled TBO members have succeeded in making Buhari to ditch his rightful opposition party- the party that he flied her presidential flag twice. Indeed, there is nothing any one could do but to wish Buhari well because people know that he has good message if not that he was surrounded by some bad messengers close to him. This however does not stop other men of integrity to vie for the country's 2011 presidential poll. Be it as it may, IBB hopes to seek the people's mandate under PDP platform while Buhari might contest under CPC and Shekarau under ANPP. If these happen, it would be left for the electorates to decide candidate of their choice. In view of the many sins of IBB during his eight years of military incursion as military President of Nigeria, it might be extremely difficult for him to scale through his second coming, not minding the dangerous role money politics play in Nigeria. Buhari as old timer is not new to the politics of presidential contest. He was in the race twice.

If however, Malam (Dr.) Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano eventually agrees to run for the 2011 presidential race, one is certain that he will make surprises at the poll in view of his credible disposition in the eyes of good people of Nigeria. Shekarau's penchant for peace, unity and stability, which the country requires for her progress, is legendary. As I said, this would not stop others from expressing their interest in the 2011 presidency, in view of the saying that many are called but only few are chosen.

For now, Shekarau stands the chance of being favoured among other presidential hopefuls because of his consistent political pedigrees and landmark performances. As a result of this stark reality, one understands that five million women match will on 12th May 2010 storm Abuja to call on Shekarau, the Sardaunan Kano and People's Governor to humbly participate in the 2011 presidential poll. As Nigerians await Shekarau to trigger the gun, it is our hope and prayer that God should allow the best for the country.

Saka Raji Audu writes from Kano and can be reached on his email:sakaraj@yahoo.com





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