As Shekarau Sets To Capture Nigeria: News Release - Has The Rigging Begun?

19 January 2011

By Saka Raji Audu & Alhaji Khaleel Bolaji


By Alhaji Khaleel Bolaji

The attention of the Shekarau for Nigeria Campaign Organisation has been drawn to the shockingly shoddy and slow manner in which the voters' registration exercise is being conducted nationwide by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

This is a fundamental flaw in the on-going transition program and a real threat to the credibility and even possibility of the 2011 general elections slated for April this year in which Nigerians have massively invested unquantifiable resources and man-hours. Indeed, the impending failure of the exercise coming in the wake of the disastrous elections of 2007 could mean that Nigeria would be permanently written off as a nation that is incapable of organizing acceptable polls. Even worse, without a credible and timely voters' registration, the integrity of any subsequent elections would be questionable, thereby further destabilization the polity and depriving Nigerians of the good governance that they so much crave.

Observers at almost all the 120,000 registration centers across the country are decrying the slow and very unsteady manner in which voters are registered in tiny trickles. At some venues in Abuja, Ebonyi, Delta and Zamfara, the incompetent officials are able to register only a couple of voters throughout the day. Elsewhere, INEC registration officers openly displayed their total ignorance of the computerized process. There were even instances where ordinary members of the public had to come to the assistance of the staff with regards to operating the system. As at press time, there are even centers where either the Direct Data Capture machine or the manual register or both are yet to be in place three days after the start of the voter registration exercise.

There are also reports from many areas considered as opposition strongholds that the Direct Data Capture machines deployed there have been deliberately tempered with to either slow down the process or even out-rightly frustrate it. These moves allegedly enjoy the support of PDP state governors and other officials.

The explanation offered by the INEC national commissioner in charge of Information and Publicity, Prince Solomon Soyebi, that the Commission over-rated the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members saddled with the task of voters' registration is grossly inadequate and unacceptable. According to Soyebi, "These are graduates and we never expected that they would be unable to handle the computer, but the reality is that majority of them could not." The question is: would any serious organization employ thousands of workers for a serious task such as national voters' registration without ascertaining their qualifications through an interview or other tests?

Ultimately, it is the Federal Government and not INEC that would be held culpable or responsible for the failure of the voters' registration exercise. Unless President Goodluck Jonathan steps in immediately with measures to eliminate the hitches, Nigerians, especially members of opposition parties would be forgiven for attributing the registration hiccups to a deliberate plot by the ruling party to disenfranchise Nigerians and perpetuate itself in power. After all, even the presidential primaries conducted by the party recently were marked by high wire manipulation to favor the incumbent president over his opponents.

We hereby call on the millions of our members and supporters nationwide to be steadfast and ensure that they are registered to vote, no matter how long it takes. Our vote is our only power. We also urge all Nigerians to remain ever more vigilant and speak out against all perceived maneuvers aimed at thwarting the free expression of their will in the upcoming elections. The price of freedom had always been eternal vigilance.

Alhaji Khaleel Bolaji, mni
Director General,
Shekarau for Nigeria Campaign Organisation


Alhaji Khaleel Bolaji, mni is the Director General for Shekarau for Nigeria Campaign Organisation. Upon his written correspondence to EsinIslam as supported by both Bala Muhammad and Emu Brown of the campaign organization, this news/press release has been made available. More stories about the Nigerian 2011 General Elections and the Shekarau for Nigeria Campaign Organisation have been posted on EsinIslam by Nigeria's prominent international writers including Saka Raji Audu.  To Read more about Mallam Shekarau - the Nigerian Presidential Hopeful, his achievements and visions visit Writer Homepage Of Saka Raji Audu at:



In about three month's time, Nigerians will be going to poll to elect persons of their choice that would lead them in the governance of the country, at least, for the next four years. 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 52 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 walloping 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 are staging a come back to cause another heavy devastation to the country. We must try to uncover such leader 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. 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. 

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. One of these hard-to-get leaders that have distinguishably carved a niche for him self is Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano State. Who is this man? What are his achievements, his awards and recognitions and why people want him to be the next President of Nigeria are the central focus of this article. You would also like to read what Nigerians say about this man of honour and integrity. 

On assumption of office in 2003, Mala Ibrahim Shekarau set out some agendas to achieve in the areas of security, education, housing, water supply, sustainable food-production, human development, health care delivery, economic empowerment, boosting of trade and industry, urban and rural developments, roads and environmental protection. The Shekarau administration did not leave any one in doubt in regards to the realization of these agendas in view of his various achievements he has recorded since he became the sixth Executive Governor of Kano State. According to the Governor of the most populous state of Nigeria, he said "the Kano society I envision is that of discipline, God-fearing and well educated, a society with a compelling sense of community."  

In order to move Nigeria out of her socio-economic and political quagmires, the country requires leaders that have the fear of God, no matter how little. She needs leaders that truly represent the yeaning and aspirations of her citizens, irrespective of tribal, religious and political affiliations. Nigeria needs leaders that strongly believe in the unity of her diversity. Indeed, the country needs 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. 

One of these hard-to-get leaders that have distinguishably carved a niche for him self is Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano State. An in-depth discourse of this man's display of high level of leadership acumen will certainly suffice why he won the hearts of the people, due mainly to his impeccable political disposition that has cut across all strata of the country. He has successfully completed seven years in the good governance of the state and has transformed Kano State from neglect to recognition, from instability to peaceful co-existence, from weak infrastructure to solid one, from structural decoration to both human and structural developments and from indignity to human dignity and respect. All these transformation would not have been possible without the political will, vision, mission, foresight and fear of God in the art of governance which are also required for the progress and advancement of the Nigeria.  

Among his pairs, even in his political party, he is one of the few Northern leaders that stands tall and has remained focused, not minding the activities of some political detractors. As a detribalized man of substance, he has been able to bring together the different ethnic groups in the state without favour or bias. This is why since he came to power some seven years ago; both the indigenes and non-indigenes in the state have been living peacefully together without any form of molestation, unlike what was obtainable before his coming as governor of the state. Not even the implementation of the Islamic legal system- the Shari'ah has affected the co-habitation of the divergent faiths in the state. This is because, contrary to the negative thinkers, the government of Shekarau has painstakingly ensured that the practice of Shari'ah in Kano, is within the ambit of the law, which gives room to other faiths to practice their faith as they deem fit without hindrance. Shekarau's societal reorientation, its impact on the attitude and behavioural change of his people, his inclusion of non-indigenes in the state affairs, his hard-to-provoke peaceful mind, the reduction of ethno-religious discrimination and above all, his penchant for accountability and transparency have all accounted for the relative stability, peace and harmony in the state.  

Other impressive achievements of Shekarau as the governor of Kano State since 2003 are initiation of independent Power Plant (IPP) project, rehabilitation of rusted water pipe, rehabilitation of rural and urban roads, establishment of Hajj Commission, promotion of the Islamic legal system, Shari'ah, introduction of dress code in schools, establishment of anti-corruption agency in the state, checking out social corruption through the State Censor's board, creation of employment opportunity in the civil service, upgrading the status of Malams and Ulamas, rehabilitation of roads in highly dominated non-indigene areas in Sabon Gari, enhancement of human development drive, provision of adequate fertilizer/subsidy to farmers, rehabilitation of rounds about within the metropolis, successful conduct of the local government election in November, 2007, none interference of media contents leading to freedom of expression, rehabilitation of mosques across the state, enhanced the status of traditional rulers and teachers in the state, sponsoring of indigent students abroad for further studies, provision of working tools to security outfits in the state for maintenance of law and order in the state, establishment of Hisbah guards/commission, free feeding for the less privileged, trade conflict resolutions in the state and abolition of hospital cards. 

The government of Shekarau also performed well in the establishment of urology centre , sitting of new singer Market known as Kanawa International Market, opening of fish market at Anguwa- uku distribution of laptops to secondary teachers and members of the State Government House Press, renovation of General Hospitals in the state, promotion of Corporate Social Responsibility, Hosting the first Kano Business submit, settlement of entitlements of opposition councilors, which the previous administration of the opposition party refused to pay, sanity to urban planning and management, financially prudent through publication of monthly revenues and expenditures, settlement of heavy outstanding pension to pensioners in the state, inclusion of non-indigenes in his government by appointing three non-indigenes as Special Advisers, employment of medical doctors, nurses and paramedical staff, establishment of women affairs and social welfare ministry, decongestion of prison through review of cases, prompt and regular payments of salaries, pensions and gratuities, renovation of many health centres, initiation of mass-housing scheme with outside experts to undertake, supply of rural electricity to six villages, sponsoring patients abroad for medical treatment where the need arises and renovation of Government House to its befitting status, construction of dilapidated industrial roads in Bompai, Sharada and Challawa areas, renovation of Director of Press Office after 40 years of negligence and donation of Permanent Orientation Camp to NYSC in the state.  Shekarau also worked hard for the accreditation of all the thirteen (13) Academic Programmes of Kano State University of Technology, KSUT, provision of basic health equipment, drugs and renovation of many health centres in the state, increase in Students Scholarship, settlement of about N1billion debt inherited from KASCO, establishment of Rural Electrification Management and State Environmental Board and establishment of Project Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate to enhance probity and accountability. The people of the state are also happy with Shekarau government for its prompt intervention and resolving the issue of the Pfizer tragedy in favour of the victims. Shekarau government also immortalizes the late first Civilian Governor of the state, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar Rimi by naming the state City Television, CTV 67 after him as it is now known as Abubakar Rimi Television, Kano. The former club road was also named after the late pioneer industrialist in Kano, Alhaji Sani Marshal whose contributions to the development of the state is legendary.  

In the field of sports, the government of Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau sponsored about fifteen (15) journalists for coverage of international competitions. These international events are Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt in 2006, Ghana in 2008, Angola in 2010 and the world cup in South Africa. All these were done to motivate the practicing journalists and also help them in advancing their career. All these achievements resulted in the various awards and recognitions of Malam Ibrahim Shekarau by various ethnic groups across the country and beyond.  

The 2011 general election is gradually approaching the corner. Already, we have begun to witness some crop of politicians, both retired military and civilian personnel are getting ready to compete for the number one seat of this great Nigeria. It is also our collective knowledge of the various trials and tribulations this country has undergone in the last 50 years of our nationhood. It is however appalling to all of us that at 50; we are yet to discover ourselves and our mission.

We are supposed to be the giant of Africa in every aspect of human endeavour, be it education, power and energy, agriculture, health, security, transport, employment generation, etc. In spite of the different measures adopted by various leaders in actualizing all of the above areas, the story has been the same as nothing has been achieved.   I have been to hamlets, villages and towns in both northern and southern parts of the country; the story of suffering has been the same.  

Today, Nigeria has no national carrier of her own airline. What happened to Nigerian Airways? The oil God dashed us for our benefit has been cornered by few individuals and their cronies. It is just recently we are told that our foreign reserves stand at a peanut of $5.5 billion and that only three states would be in position to survive the deficit since the federal allocation to the three tiers of government in Nigeria would no longer be forthcoming. All these are as a result of deep seated corruption, nepotism, animosity and greediness that have been pervading the system.  

Corruption is so high in our country that it appears that the agencies charged to fight the menace are getting defeated. The poverty rate is getting high on daily basis. What about the religious bigotry and ethnic chauvinism that have some time disrupt our peace and are still remain a cankerworm to our nation building? Most of our industries that offer employment opportunity to our teaming youths are now ghost of their former selves because it seems the government has no plan for industrial development. Thus, our agile and employable youths have now been thrown into the life of hopelessness. This has made them vulnerable to social convulsion in the society. 

Many of these frustrated youths have no choice but to serve as political thugs just to keep body and soul together. Some of these youths are further lured into armed robbery and other social miscreants. As a result of the government flip-flop policies, the people that are still very lucky to be working in the few remaining private industries are not finding it easy as they have become slaves in their mother land. 

For how long shall we continue with all these as a result of bad but wicked leadership and its maladministration? Some people might think that they are not affected because they gain from the spoil of office, but what about the majority of the people that live in squalor and from hand to mouth? What about those who cannot afford two square meals? Are they not also fit to survive? 

By May 2011, the national ruling party, PDP will be twelve years in governance. What do we have to show case or justify this long stay? Apart from the religious and ethnic manipulations that have caused the nation more harm than good, what has the ruling party achieved for the common man, I mean the down trodden and the have-nots? Is it the GSM, the tariff of which is at cut-throat and can only be afforded by bourgeois class and its fellow travelers?  

Look at our federal roads, highly dilapidated and causing accidents and deaths. What about the educational system that is in state of hopelessness? Look at the performances of our children in schools and their final exams. If the teachers and students cannot afford two square meals, how can they teach and learn? Yet, billions of the country's resources have gone to private pockets who are mostly government functionaries. Why are some people desperate to be in government today? It is because they are not going there to serve but they feel that to be in government is the only sure way to siphon public funds. This is why we have reported cases of corruption in the government circle.  

The performances of PHCN are nothing to write about. Every home, office and business centre is powered by Chinese generators. Still, the noises and heavy smokes these generators exhume have been endangering lives. At present, both the government and the captains of industries do short cut to survive. They have both engaged in operation No Mercy. Unfortunately, the masses that are trampled upon pretend that all is well as a mark of survival strategy. What do we do and what is the alternative to all these ills that are seriously affecting our advancement, bearing in mind that countries like China, India and Korea have changed for good? Nigeria can also make such change, based on determination and sacrifice.  

The time has come to make the change unless we want to continue pretending and suffering. We have honourable men and women that can serve as alternative remedy for the country. So, if we really want to move out of the quagmire and woes the present national leadership has visited Nigerians in the last eleven years of our democracy, we should rely on the man of hard work and integrity whose seven years of purposeful leadership in the political volatile state of Kano has brought succour, peace and tranquility to the good people of the state. 

 Therefore, Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau, the Atun nuse of Ede land in Oshogbo, the "Onwa Na-Etiri Oha I" of Eha in Enugu and the Sardaunan Kano is one good person both in character and integrity that can change the ugly statusquo. We note with nostalgia the reduction in the crime rate and social convulsions in Kano under his administration. People are impressed how he put checks on the bastardisation of the society values that are fast being eroded by alien culture. He knows what it means to be educated. So, he invested heavily and paid high premium on education by providing enabling environment for learning. These and many other progressive values are the type of change he should bring to the door steps of Nigerians when he becomes the President of Nigeria on May 29, 2011.                                    

When God has destined a man to become some thing in life, no man born of a woman can do otherwise.  Any one who tempers with God's creation will be doing more harm than good to oneself. Likewise, whoever appreciates the will of God will undoubtedly have cause to be happy for his life. The name, Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau, is no longer strange in the Nigerian government and politics. Shekarau is a household name hat hardly a kindergarten (nursery pupil) would forget. The journey of fame by Shekarau did not just start today as a governor of the most populous state of Nigeria from Kano. Those who know Malam Ibrahim Shekarau very well will correctly attest to the fact that the man has been an impeccably transparent and a humble man of substance. There is no other way to summarise and describe the true colour of Shekarau than these two basic attributes inherent in him. It is therefore, normal for a hard working man blessed by God, to be envied by lazy and never-do-well people in the society. 

This is why it should not surprise any one that in spite of some pockets of envies against the wonderful performances of the Shekarau led administration in Kano State, the governor's rising political profile continues to wax stronger and stronger. First, he came into politics as a poor honourable gentle man and then popularly won the governorship election in 2003. Secondly, with his high rated achievements, he won his second term election as the governor of Kano State, a feat that no incumbent executive governor of the state has ever achieved in the history of Kano government and politics, thereby breaking the much dreaded Kano political jinx.  

Thirdly, in addition to lots of awards and recognitions given to Shekarau within and outside the country, he is the only serving governor for now that has received traditional titles from the three main geo-political ethnic groups namely; Enugu from the East; Osun from the West and Kano from the North parts of Nigeria. Still, Shekarau is the only governor from the northern dominated Muslim states of the federation that recognizes and allows non-indigenes participation in his government, attached with remarkable portfolios. Recently, some ethnic and religious chauvinists in the country were surprised at Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau for honouring an invitation to a Christian gathering in Kano, where he delivered sermon on the importance of peaceful cohabitation of the two main religions in the country.  

Perhaps, those who thought otherwise never realized the fact that Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau was elected Governor by both Muslims and Christians in the state; and as leader of all, attending an open Christian gathering at the popular New Road, Sabon Gari, Kano on invitation should not be any thing for one to be astonished about. However, in a country where religious and ethnic intolerance features prominently in every aspect of people's endeavour, it takes dose of courage for a leader like Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau to take such an encouraging bold step. In any case, if our leaders in Nigeria can emulate the type of Shekarau's virtue a little, the sky would have been the limit for the country's socio-economic and political progress and advancement. Thus, a leader as Governor Shekarau with these unbeatable records of achievements deserves nothing but recognition, encouragement and support of the people. This is why I think the progressive minded people of Nigeria want him to be the President of the country in her next political dispensation.  

According to the late Premier of northern region and Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Alhaji Ahmadu Bello Sardauna, he said," Here in the Northern Nigeria we have People of Many different races, tribes and religious who are knit together to common history, common interest and common ideas, the things that unite us are stronger than the things that divide us. I always remind people of our firmly rooted policy of religious tolerance. We have no intention of favouring one religion at the expense of another. Subject to the overriding need to preserve law and order, it is our determination that everyone should have absolute liberty to practice his belief according to the dictates of his conscience…" We can now see why Shekarau, as a detribalized leader, does not discriminate, which accounts for people of different races, tribes and religion living together peacefully in the state, at least for the past six years.  

As a result of Shekarau's sterling qualities in traditional leadership; civil service, development strategy, religious issues, consolidation of community and high quality values and symbols of leadership as espoused by the late Sardauna of Sokoto, the Kano Emirate Council saw him as most suitable to assume the traditional title of Sardaunan Kano.  According to the emir of Kano, Alhaji (Dr) Ado Bayero, he said that "the conferment of Sardauna traditional title on Kano State governor, Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau was based on the numerous development projects executed by his administration. Since the demise of Sardauna of Sokoto, Kano Emirate Council has been looking for a patriotic citizen who could fill in the vacuum left by the late Premier of the Northern Region. Malam Ibrahim Shekarau deserved to be conferred with the title of Sardauna because of his great achievements in humanitarian services in Kano State. Kano Emirate Council has three classifications  of title; one is for the Royal family, second is for those considered to be friends to the emirate who help in Jihad, like Madaki, Makama, etc; and the last one is for those great people who contributed a lot to the development of the people and the society at large. Malam Ibrahim Shekarau falls under the last category considering the gigantic projects he has executed and what is currently doing."The revered emir was not alone in the assessment of Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau's performances." His Royal Highness, emir Ado Bayero was not alone in the assessment of Governor Shekarau's performances. 

Chief Olu Falae, a one time Presidential candidate of All Nigeria's People's Party, ANPP said "Shekarau is a straight forward politician whose services are dearly needed by the country. I appreciate the courage, zeal and commitment with which Malam Shekarau is governing Kano. Shekarau's achievements in the last six and half years are outstanding. A chieftain of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) and the Governor of Niger State, Dr. Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu, OON (Talban Minna) also stated that "I am optimistic that this recognition will not only spur you, but strengthen your contributions with determination to serve the good people of Kano state and humanity in general." 

Alhaji Shehu Yusuf Kura, a Journalist and leading member of the "Shekarau Political Action Committee makes his input when he said that "Shekarau has the capability to unite the people of Nigeria. He is a unifier of all opposition parties. He is humble and above all accept new ideas and always ready to work with genuine ideas that are not even his. 

Sen. (Dr) Saidu Umar Kumo (Garkuwan Gombe), former National Secretary, ANPP equally gave his verdict on the Sardaunan Kano when he state that "the conferment of this exalted title to one of the outstanding leaders of the moment is most noble and honourable. His Royal Highness has done us proud by recognizing our illustrious leader. It is a testimony to the new challenges awaiting Malam. It is our hope and prayer that Malam Shekarau will not relent in his efforts in serving Kano State, Nigeria and indeed the humanity."  

The former National Chairman of ANPP, Chief Ume Eze-oke, succinctly stated that "the conferment of the Sardauna title on Governor Shekarau was an indication that the race to take over Aso Rock had begun in Kano. …..given the achievements recorded in the state, there was a need for Governor Shekarau to replicate the achievements nationally." Even one Mr. Sule Yahaya, one of the admirers of Governor Ibrahim Shekarau sent an email to my box where he stated that "I read with delight the decision of the Kano Emirate Council to confer on H.E the title of Sardaunan Kano. The council is wise in its choice of Malam .Ibrahim Shekarau for the befitting honour and the recognition of his sterling qualities and visionary leadership style.  Shekarau really deserves the honour because as at now he remains among the very few people in the country that matched the exceptional qualities of the late Sardauna. HRH and indeed the emirate council deserve the commendation of all for the well-deserved honour to this dynamic, enviable, resourceful and shining star of the state." 

It would be recalled that the renowned noble laureate, social critic and play Wright of international repute, Professor Wole Soyinka, the Kongi had even before the conferment of Sardauna title on Governor Shekarau saw the handwriting on the wall when he said that the purpose of his visit, "was based on the determination of the governor as a person who finds honour in respecting the mandate given to him by Kano people and therefore, he deserves to be highly commended.  

The Professor pointed out that as a person who has been so passionate to democracy "we symbolically and morally lend solidarity to people like Governor Shekarau for his wonderful performances among other things that is why I am in Kano." Professor  who observed that the country is in a great danger of losing its democratic directions as there was a determined effort by the then Obasanjo administration to turn the country into a one party state, said this development must be fought for the country's political progress.  He went ahead to describe Governor Shekarau as "the last man standing in his northwest geo-political zone." 

A well respected media columnist with the Sun newspapers, Mr. Femi Adeshina commented on the man, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau in his back page column of 28th May 2010, titled, "Shekarau: the last man standing" as follows: "When he retired from the civil service as a permanent secretary, he had no house of his own. He still lived in a rented apartment. Why? Major part of his earnings had been given to charitable and religious causes." "When he went into politics, and decided to run for governor, he had no vehicles to prosecute the campaign. He did most of it on foot, from house to house like an itinerant preacher. When his friends and well- wishers eventually contributed cars to the cause, buying fuel was a problem. There was a time he went on campaign outside Kano metropolis, and the car ran out of petrol. The candidate was stranded, and had no money to refill his tank. A supporter came to the rescue."  

"Also, hear this. His party, the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) had a national programme in Sokoto. Till the morning of the event, he was not sure he could attend. But at the nick of time, a friend made money available. On the way to Sokoto, he had a burst tire, and by the time he bought a new tire and tube, attended to the welfare of his supporters, he had nothing left to pay the hotel bill. The candidate called on most of his old friends in the old city, but by a quirk of fate, they were all out of town. How does he check out of the hotel without being disgraced? Eventually, some one bailed him out of the predicament." 

"The story of Malam Ibrahim Shekarau is like something straight from an inspirational book. It is the classic from grass to grace tale, the story of a man who knows what it is to suffer lack, to have serious need, and to be at one's wits end due to financial deprivation. Have you been in such a fix before? Then, it gives you a kinship feeling, camaraderie with Shekarau. You feel this is one man who knows what the ordinary people go through, he's been through it, he itches just like us and scratches as hard. He's really one of us." 

"As a senior civil servant, Shekarau had no money, but he had plenty goodwill. So much was the love people had for him that by year 2000 three clear years before general elections, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, the incumbent governor, was rabidly and mortally afraid of him. He then began to toss Shekarau around, moving him from one position to the other, even demoting him in the process. And one distraught messenger in the man's former office declared: "By the grace of God, you will be governor; you will take over from him." Three years later, the prophecy came to pass." 

"Wouldn't you want a man like Shekarau to be your president? I sure do. He knows where the shoe pinches. He's been in the valley of life. He's been on the mountaintop. He has suffered lack, he has known plenty. He knows how to abase, and how to abound. And most importantly, he has kept his contact with the people, the very lifeblood of his ascendancy to power. See how he has personally handled the issue of victims of the Pfizer drug test, and you'll appreciate what I'm talking about." 

"Before 2007, there was a giant size jinx in Kano, which no one had been able to break, not even a colourful politician and crowd puller like Abubakar Rimi. No governor ever had a second time. But Shekarau did it. He came, he saw, he conquered. Next year, he will conclude his second term in office, and is now eyeing the presidency. Why not? For a change, let one of us, who has known lack; ascend to the highest office in the land. God is the one who raises and dethrones kings, He's the one who takes the lowly, and installs such in elevated positions. Let God do it for Shekarau." 

"This sharia apostle, religious fundamentalist? How can he lead Nigeria? Zealotry is different from fanaticism. In fact, we should be afraid of the man who has no zeal for his religion. But I believe Shekarau has come a long way, and you can now call him a moderate. " 

"Last November, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), had a crusade in Kano, a thing unheard of in the past. Remember how German evangelist, Reinhard Bonnke, was evicted from the city with fire and brimstone in the early 90's, for daring to preach Christianity in the Islamic stronghold. Well, PFN was given permission to hold the crusade, with Pastor William Folorunsho Kumuyi of the Deeper Life Bible Church as the preacher. Shekarau attended, and spoke for many minutes. Quoting from both the Holy Bible and the Quran, he exhorted the people on the need for love, understanding, and mutual respect. In Kano? Surely, a watershed in our lives as a people."  

"Power rotation is an issue in the country today. Like I've always said, I'm not a sympathiser of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and I do not subscribe to most of its principles and policies. But willy-nilly, all Nigerians (or rather, majority) have become sucked into the power rotation policy of the party. Eight years for the North, eight for the South, till every constituent part has ruled, and then the process is deregulated. We leave it to market forces (or political forces, if you like), and the president can then emerge from any part. By then, we would have dispelled the suspicion that some people were born to rule, while others were born to be  serfs, hewers of wood and fetchers of water."

"Shekarau is of the ANPP. But hear his view on power rotation, as stated in a recent interview: "I am sure if it was the ANPP that came to power in 1999, and had eight years shot at the presidency, it would have found itself in the same predicament. If a southerner had ruled in the ANPP for eight years, naturally people will say let it be a northerner that will come to rule next… maybe by the time we rule over three, four times, then we will graduate out of this zoning. It will no longer be a question of which zone you come from, it will be a question of the credibility of the individual I think we will come out of it". Exactly what I believe. And that is why, for the past six weeks, I've been asking the North to put its best foot forward in 2011. I believe the region should produce the president, as the South had done between 1999 and 2007. The president doesn't have to be a member of PDP, just like Shekarau is not, and has vowed never to be. At a time ANPP governors were falling like ninepins, crashing like a house built with spittle, Shekarau stood his ground. In the last dispensation, Saminu Turaki of Jigawa and Adamu Aliero of Kebbi defected to the PDP. Attahiru Bafarawa of Sokoto went to form the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP). In this epoch, we have seen Mahmuda Shinkafi of Zamfara and Isa Yuguda of Bauchi decamp. The ANPP (as APP then), which had nine governors in 1999, has now dwindled to three: Shekarau, Ali Modu Sheriff of Borno, and Ibrahim Geidam of Yobe. You never knew who would crumble next. But Shekarau came out boldly to say if he ever left the ANPP, he would first resign as governor. No wonder, Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka visited Kano, and called the governor 'the last man standing.' He praised the courage of conviction displayed by Shekarau, and recommended it to other Nigerian politicians." 

"When Dr Danladi Sankara, the then National Vice Chairman of the PDP (North) invited the Kano governor into the PDP, hear what the man said: "I swear to Almighty God that even if I will be the last person to remain in ANPP, I will not decamp to any party. I will rather resign from politics completely than to betray the trust given to us by Kano people on the platform of the ANPP." Won't you like this kind of resolute person as your president? At least, in this country, we've had leaders who swore in the name of Allah (Insha Allah) and deceived us. When we see those who anchor their convictions on God, and stand by it, we should appreciate and celebrate them." 

"I have been to Kano. I have seen the strides in road construction, healthcare, education, human development, and in many other areas. In 2006, I wrote the piece, 'Footloose in Kano,' and described what I saw in the city. But, perhaps, most significant is what Shekarau has done with water. Between 1932 and 2003 (more than 70 years), successive governments could only provide 120 million litres of water per day from three waterworks. Within two years of getting to power, the Sardaunan of Kano built waterworks that produced 150 million litres daily. What is democracy, if not positive impact on the lives of the people?

However, two possible areas of weaknesses in the Shekarau dream. ANPP, once the nation's second largest party, is no longer the livewire it used to be. It is now a weak platform for national aspiration." 

"Secondly, Kano politics. Shekarau is said to have endorsed Salihu Sagir Takai, as his successor, and a lot of dust is being raised. Can he mind the politics of succession, and also mind the race for presidency? Will one not be a distraction to the other? It depends on how soon and fast cohesion can be returned to the ANPP in Kano." 

"I say it again. I don't mind this kind of president. For a change, let's have people we can believe implicitly, whose words we can stand by, and upon. Not those who bid us good morning and we go to check the sky to see if we are not really in the evening hours." 

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.  

As a result of the many good things Shekarau did for the Kano masses, the Kano Pensioners in particular contributed money to purchase the second term governorship form for Shekarau to contest. In spite of all sorts of blackmails by some of his party caucus and the PDP to cripple the second term ambition of Shekarau, he went, saw and conquered at the poll. This was how he broke the Kano political jinx. 

No one can therefore pull down any person God has exalted. Whether or not Shekarau can win the presidency of this country is a matter of divine decision. If ANPP decides to choose Shekarau as her flag bearer for 2011and heaven backs it up, no mortal can do otherwise.  As a Nigerian and a humble servant to his people, Shekarau has the track record that qualifies him for any political position in this country. No individual or group of people, no mater how highly placed and powerful they are, should think that they can take decision(s) against the wish and desire of the entire populace. In view of this, Shekarau stands a good chance of winning the election of 2011 as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria if his party nominates him since he is healthy, energetic, project and human oriented, and prudent in financial management as well as enviably transparent in all his dealings. Nigerians need nothing less than these qualities. 

My Dear Compatriots, this is your chance to dethrone the bad guys who had been making life extremely difficult and miserable in Nigeria. We must abhor our defeatist tendencies where we always think that bad leaders with connection can always carry the day. This is not true because by thinking such, we tend to compromise our existence and that of the future generation. The journey is not going to be easy if truth must compromise our existence and that of the future generation. The journey is not going to be easy if truth must win. We are bound to be called all sorts of names for even making attempt to support a just and sincere person. Don't mind them, it is part of their strategy to make one feels guilty of sins one has not committed so that one would leave the good cause.  

Since Governor Shekarau came to power through the ballot box in 2003, we have been able to debunk all fictitious allegations against him by the desperate oppositions. We are still ready to do the same any time they come back again with their subterfuge. Dear compatriots, this struggle to ensure Governor Shekarau's success for 2011 presidency is neither for Shekarau nor his political party. It is for the emancipation of the people and their future generation. So, we should not care about what the opposition would say about us. As Shekarau clocks seven years of purposeful and dynamic leadership as Governor of Kano state, we salute his courage, determination and doggedness in his governance.

We are hoping to see that these attributes of good leadership is transformed to national integration and governance. My dear compatriots, please, communicate these messages to every one that is interested in progress, stability and development of the country, knowing full well that with all these in place under Governor Shekarau as the president of Nigeria come 2011, Nigeria will be a safe heaven for both present and future generations. With God, nothing is impossible and we strongly believe that the Almighty God is on our side.   In this world, no one can achieve fame without being discredited by the people, particularly the anti-progressive elements in the society. Indeed, Nigeria political settings are often characterized by envy, jealousy, hatred, animosity and sentiment. According to one of the sayings of the last Prophet of God, peace and blessing be upon him, "this world is like a prison yard for the righteous."It is a fact that no one wants to be seen as being bad but at the same time, it is difficult for a good and righteous person to live in this world without being envied and discredited by some people.  

The history of great and successful men is some times narrated in different forms, depending on the mindset of the narrator. Naturally, justice demands that every one should be fair in whatever one does or says about others. However, the dirty politics of Nigeria does not seem to respect the fact about being just. Even the architects of the country's independence of 1960 as Nnamidi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello, Aminu Kano, Herbert Macaulay, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, etc were not free from the hands of bad and envious politics in Nigeria. As we know, the envious spends his days destroying himself by feeling sorry for that which he could not achieve but others have. He feels sorry and regretful and desires all people to live in misery and infliction while plotting to deprive them of their happiness. What is more? Envious make the fortune of others their goal. They apply every method to deprive others of their fortunes. They are prey to their lowly wants without realizing it. The envious manifest their evil intentions by spreading rumours, accusations and lies about the envied ones. If they feel that their lusts are not satisfied by doing this, they may even go as far as to encroach upon their freedom or even deprive them of the right to live just to fulfill their endless want.  

 In Nigerian politics, it is not easy for a pious, straight forward and Godly person to join politics. It is like a white horse passing through a dark society. When Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, a simple, honest and dignified teacher went into politics in 2003, he was convinced of the fact that he was going to liberate the people of Kano State and correct the various anomalies in the governance of the state. Shekarau simply had mission and vision to accomplish, even if it means subjecting himself to trials and tribulations. God, who knows the good mind of Shekarau, helped him to win the governorship election of the state in 2003, in spite of his financial incapacitation. The people's governor dedicated his first term of four years to human development and awoke the people's consciousness on societal reorientation popularly called "Adaidaita Sahu" There are other marvelous achievements Shekarau recorded in his administration between 2003 and 2007 as compared to what his predecessors did.

As we know, Nigeria is such a wonderful country and whose wonderful people hardly recognize men of hard work but of hopelessness. So, it did not amuse any visitor that witnessed the gang up and various conspiracies against Shekarau's second coming in 2007. His offence was simply that he had the courage to serve the people particularly the masses in a society where capitalism ought to be the dominant paradigm. In order to put a full stop to Shekarau's masses oriented programmes, a high level of conspiracies and media hype were launched by the oppositions and authoritarians parading themselves as democrats who today hop from one party to another. 

As soon as Shekarau got the nod of his people to go for second term in 2006, both internal and external traitors began to manifest. The media mercenaries with no conscience were equally drafted to join the war against Shekarau's second term. It is often said and it is a fact that a man with God is the majority. It was therefore not a surprise that despite the unjust role of Nuhu Ribadu's kind of EFCC to scuttle Shekarau's chance, Obasanjo's treacheries, TBO's antics and some media hype against the humble Shekarau, he went into the second term election and came out unscathed with victory. Even when it was glaring that Shekarau won the election, the shameless oppositions never gave up. They took Shekarau to both the election tribunal and Appeal courts. Still, Shekarau walloped them. The question is this, is there any mortal that can undo what God has done? The answer is No and shall continue to be No. 

Shekarau did not bother himself with all these antics but continued to give dividends of democracy to the people of Kano State. According to the Newton's first law of motion, every action must attract equal and opposite reaction. Thus, those who ganged up against Shekarau's success for no just cause other than political differences, sentiments and nepotism had their own turn of stress. In spite of all the abracadabra and political intrigues orchestrated by some few disgruntled elements against Shekarau, the man was able to triumph over and above his detractors. This is principally because falsehood and lie no matter how cleverly packaged cannot stand the test of time.  

As the 2011 general elections close by, the general public is daily treated with all sorts of information, most of which are nothing but mere attempt to destroy and malign opponents to satisfy what William Shakespeare referred to, in one of his works "HAMLET" as "vaulting ambition."  In the past, Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau has undergone some trials and tribulations in the hands of those who do not simply want him to succeed as a leader. As the humble governor prepares to end his second term leadership in Kano and is being called to vie for 2011 presidential election, the oppositions and anti-progressives would like to come out again with the same subterfuge to undo the governor's presidential ambition. Thus, it is instructive to review some of these past insinuations and concoctions against the personality of the humble and dignified Shekarau aimed at putting the record straight before any right thinking person who hopes to vouch for Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau as a leader at the national level. 

On the issue of the 2003 fertilizer contract, investigation was carried out and on 4th October 2004, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) exonerated the Kano State Government of any under-the- table deal in the fertilizer contract. A BBC programme monitored in Kano, quoted the then EFCC Chairman Ribadu as saying that neither Governor Ibrahim Shekarau nor any member/official of his government was involved in any shady deal in the fertilizer scandal. Ribadu said that investigations conducted by his commission showed that the government was innocent of any blame in the contract. The EFCC Chairman then commended the Kano state Governor for his transparent and honesty in the running of Kano government. At the heat of the matter in 2007, Ribadu re-emphasized the innocence of Shekarau on 27th February 2007 via the interview he granted to media Trust, publishers of the Daily Trust. In the said interview, Ribadu bared his mind on his so called indicted politicians. According to Ribadu, "all allegations against Governor Ibrahim Shekarau could not be proven."  

In March 2007, just a month to his second term election, there was also an insinuation by some anti- Shekarau in the media that the governor operates series of foreign accounts. Those behind this defamation of character have been charged to court and the matter is still on course with competent law court in Kano.  

Again, in the early hours of April 13th, 2007 when the cocks crow.  Nigerians were shocked to their marrows by the news of the tragic death of the revered Islamic Scholar, the late Sheikh Mahmoud Ja'afar. This cleric of national and international repute had just been assassinated by the forces of darkness in cold blood, while leading the early morning Subhi prayer. That was more than two years ago, a day to the governorship and state assemblies' election in Nigeria.  

Except for the brain behind the dastardly act, every one else was touched by the callous and horrendous assassination of Sheikh Ja'afar. We all know and believe that life and death belong to the Almighty God, the knower of hidden and unhidden things and nothing happens without His knowledge. It's in respect of this belief that people mourn and wait patiently; hoping that one day, either here or hereafter, the forces of darkness that perpetrated the heinous crime would be exposed and shamed. In April 2009, exactly two years after the assassination saga, our sensibilities were insulted again, adding salt into injury. What happened? Two notorious media outfits, one in America operating online and its sister newspaper in Nigeria operating from Kaduna came up with story, attributing the killers of the late Sheikh Ja'afar to the government of Kano State without concrete fact or plausible evidence. 

After a tormented journey of falsehood and malicious publications about who killed or sponsored the assassination of the late Sheikh Ja'afar by the notorious online publisher and the Desert Herald, the former Inspector General of Police, IGP came up with the fact of the matter, exonerating Governor Shekarau of having hand in the murder of the late Sheikh Ja'afar, describing Sahara reporters online publication as having no iota of truth. Here is exactly what the IGP said, "police investigation has revealed that Governor Shekarau, the Emirate Council and the Freedom Radio were not behind the killing of Sheik Ja'afar."There is no iota of evidence of the involvement of Governor Ibrahim Shekarau and the Kano Emirate Council in the killing of Sheik Ja'afar Adam." He said the deceased was killed by four assailants while he was leading Morning Prayer at Dorayi Juma'at Mosque in Kano on April 13th 2007.

 He said police investigation has revealed that prior to the death of the Sheik; he had received series of death threats from different quarters both written and verbal, including the receipt of a shroud (burial cloth). He said the threats were extended to his followers too. He said the Sheik was also alleged to have been attacked in June 2006 while preaching at Indimi Mosque in Maiduguri, Borno State. The Inspector General of Police stated what happened concluding that with the following facts. (1) The internet publication was authored by a faceless writer, as the Islamic body alleged to have originated it dissociated itself from it completely. (2) All the signatories to the document who claimed to be students and sympathizers of late Sheik Ja'afar do not exist as efforts made to contact them yielded no positive results while none of them is known to the Usman bn Affan Islamic Trust of the late Sheik. (3) The alleged confessional statement by the faceless Tijjani Garba is a false document, as it bore no address and was neither on a police statement form nor endorsed by any police officer," he said.  

He said the characters referred to as Alhaji Abba Gana and Malam Tijjani Garba cannot be traced, pointing to the fact that the interned publication was sponsored merely to create an atmosphere of tension and chaos in Kano. He said for the purpose of emphasis, the nexus between the magazine of the berretta pistol recovered at the scene were late Ja'afar was killed and the berretta pistol without magazine recovered from the enclave at Panshekara Kano where the rampaging suspected fundamentalists were overpowered by the joint military and police team, strongly supports the interference that Sheik Ja'afar killers were among those killed by the joint military/police team at the fundamentalist's enclave. 

With the above revelations from the police authority, we note that both the Desert Herald and Sahara re porters are chronic liars and that all what they published in the matter concerning the death of late Sheikh Ja'afar are false and pure figment of their imaginations. This means that the two media have really misguided and deliberately led their readers astray through false publication. It is therefore clear that both the Desert Herald and Sahara reporters have never wished Nigeria and Nigerians well except their parochial and narrow minded interests.  

Again, In December 2009, some ANPP caucus met and reviewed Shekarau's performances. They concluded that Malam Ibrahim Shekarau is really a man to be trusted, having been tested. As a mark of respect and solidarity, they further agreed that whoever the governor pointed to them as his successor, will be supported. This open remark was in view of the too many people that were already eyeing his seat come 2011. The governor seemed not to agree with this. Instead, he told them to go and do research so that they can come up with a candidate among themselves. The ANPP caucus meeting in the state, which included most of the 2011 governorship contenders of Shekarau's seat, insisted that Shekarau must show them the way. After a wide range of consultation, the governor broke the ice to endorse one of the contenders in the person of Alhaji Salisu Sagir Takai, a former Commissioner in the administration. 

Suddenly and surprisingly too, the same people that insisted on the governor to lead the way for them on the person that he would like to succeed him revolted against  his endorsement. The moral question involved in this issue is this. A leader of any type ought to be honest, truthful, reliable and steadfast. If this is the basic fact, then how comes about the double standard position of supposedly 'would be governors' that seem to have eaten their vomits? What were they thinking when they publicly asked the governor to endorse somebody for them? Do they think of the serious political implication of their renegade action? Does it mean that they are not honest, truthful, reliable and steadfast? If this is the case, what is the moral justification about their wish to take over the honest man's seat in 2011? This alone amounts to self disqualification and a failure of the litmus test on reliability and trust. By Shekarau's endorsement of Takai, he is simply saying that look, this is what you asked me to do and therefore, this is my preference but he is subject to confirmation through free and fair primary election. He did not say that Takai must be accepted at all costs. If the governor could allow free and fair primary election in 2007 between him and his former deputy in the person of Engr. Magaji Abdullahi, why should he not allow same for Takai and others? 

There is therefore, no doubting the fact that Governor Ibrahim Shekarau, Sardaunan Kano, Atun nuse of Ede land in Oshogbo and Onwa Na-Etiri Oha I of Eha in Enugu has so far justified his seven years in office. He has diligently played his part to make Kano and his people great and he is willing to stage the same wonderful performances in every nook and cranny of the country when elected as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2011by the grace of the Almighty God, the uncreated creator, the knower of hidden and unhidden things and the most high. This shall come to pass, no matter the gang ups, conspiracies, treacheries and wanton desperations of any opposition against the man of the people. 

One of the big challenges confronting elections in Nigeria is the credibility question. Most of the country's election beginning from 1960s has been marred by electoral frauds. In 1979, during the second republic, there were lots of political upheavals occasioned by heavy rigging and manipulation of election results. Have you heard about the crisis between Omoboriowo and Ajasin that nearly wiped out the people of Ondo state? The phenomenon called electoral malpractices has been the major threat to the credibility of the country's general election. 

One of the excuses advanced for the cancellation of the June 12, 1993 presidential election by Babangida administration was hinged on heavy electoral malpractices and rigging. The same electoral frauds were recorded in the 2003 and 2007 general elections. These electoral frauds have often led to mistrust and apathy in the outcome of election results, thereby creating animosity, ill-feelings and mutual suspicion among the electorates.  

Electoral malpractices or frauds or irregularities are practices perpetuated by politicians, their agents as well as the agents of government to undermine the electoral laws in order to give way for certain people that would place them above the other in order to forcibly achieve electoral victory.  It is an electoral cheat or favour to get unnecessary electoral advantage at all costs. These malpractices are often committed after an inducement in form of bribe or loyalty to secure victory by hook and crook.  Some of these electoral malpractices include: 

"           Stuffing of ballot papers

"           Inflation of election results

"           Declaration of false election results

"           Forcing some one to vote against one's wish

"           The use of under age for voting

"           Stealing and hijacking of ballot boxes

"           Proxy voting

"           Possession of sensitive electoral material before the election time

"           Declaration of election results while voting is still in progress

"           Voting beyond the stipulated time limit

"           Voting beyond the stipulated time limit

"           Canvassing for votes at the polling venue

"           Molestation of the electorates at the polling station while the election lasts

"           One man, many votes, etc. 

Depending on the magnitude of the electoral offences, each of the aforementioned electoral misconducts is capable of undermining voting and if not properly checked, will certainly affect the outcome of the election. Therefore, it is the duty and responsibility of impartial government, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and their agents to checkmate the electoral frauds so that at the end of the day, the true choice of the people is elected and declared as winner. This will go a long way in preventing crises and litigations that may jeopardize peaceful atmosphere required for the progress of the country.  

Conversely, the effort of the government to check electoral malpractices can be complemented by her citizens who are also in position to avoid being used to perpetuate electoral frauds for their selfish and primordial interests should understand that they do not need to do so if really they mean to serve the people. The past records and manifestoes of every person aspiring to the position of leadership should be enough to sell the candidate to the electorates. Purchasing dangerous weapons for idle youths to fight for one's electoral victory has nothing to do with democracy except for demo-crazy. As a result of some people's crude desire to ascend to leadership by force, they employ all sorts of coercive means just to get what they want through boycott of the laid down rules. 

The government some time does not help matters when it comes to the issue of electoral frauds and violence. The interest of government has in many cases than one undermined free and fair electoral contest in Nigeria. If we all allow the interest of the country to take precedent over and above individual's personal interests, credible election would be achieved. People should also avoid desperation to win election at all costs. If one does not win today, one may win some time next time. Given the proper education required, democracy is such that people do not need to be at each other's throat for election to be won and lost. Because the youths are deprived of the required education and education, they become vulnerable and susceptible to being used for electoral malpractices and violence. Same thing goes to the politicians who engage the supposed leaders of tomorrow in violent act.  

Experience has also shown that the so called foreign observers of Nigeria's elections have also contributed in non-attainment of free and fair election in the country. Some of these observers have certain interests they would like to defend. What about the media lopsided coverage of election proceedings? In their attempt to defend and protect the interest of media owners, election reports tend to be diluted before it is disseminated to people. The issue of money politics in Nigeria is another cankerworm that has always threatened the country's free and fair election. Those who have no focus and agenda on why they want to lead others normally make use of their stolen money to induce electorates in order to buy their conscience for votes. This type of negative attitude is against free and fair election.  

What about the activities of the judiciary that deliberately connive with dubious politicians to issue court injunctions restraining the announcement of election result? Many people have used their influence, their money and their political power to change the cause of justice in their favour. Thus, what we some times have in this country is not the rule of law but the rule of influence, the rule of money and the rule of political powers. These are the various challenges before the 2011 general elections, which should be tackled heads on. When Mr. President Goodluck Jonathan went to France in the first week of June 2010, he assured the world that he would ensure credible election in 2011. That is as far as he is concerned. It is left for other stakeholders such as the media, the electorate, the judiciary, the INEC and the politicians to follow suit in making and fulfilling pledge for credible election in 2011. This is because it is only by achieving free, fair and credible election that Nigeria and Nigerians can have their desired leader who has fear of God and believe in equity, justice, transparency and development. These are the cardinal principles of Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau. 

In conclusion, there is no doubt that Nigeria requires a credible, detribalized, honest and sincere President in 2011. We have attempted so far to justify the choice of Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau for 2011 presidential poll. His various pedigrees are legendary and credible enough to ensure his victory. We however do not rule out envy, jealousy, hatred and animosity on the part of the oppositions. These are expected in a society where greed, avarice, sentiment, desperation and primordial interest exist. But Nigerians should understand the fact that they cannot continue to recycle leaders that have brought the country into her present messy situation and made people's lives miserable in spite of the available resources. Nigerians should begin to redefine their future by looking at a leader that can truly stand for them in terms of economic revival, employment generation, and political stability, and social rejuvenation, ethnic and religious tolerance. This is why the man, Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau should simply strike our mind. Thank you all. God bless Nigeria and Nigerians. May He accept people's choice of Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau as Nigeria's President in May, 2011.


Saka Raji Audu writes from Kano and can be reached on his email:


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