Abuja — Until we groom good people for elective office, people who are selfless, driven by a sense of mission, folks who understand the importance of urgency for change, belief in community, do not wear their opinion on their sleeve, avoid flagging religious views in favour of egalitarianism and to stop putting their snout in the trough of the gravy train and free-booting.
Even if a Martian comes from Mars on a white horse with Marian ideas to transform Nigeria, we would never go above being the self-proclaimed Giant of Africa. Simon Abah, The Guardian, 30 May 2017, Between presidential and parliamentary system of government.
When he became governor, I wondered if he had the right humanistic temperament to lead a fickle state like Kaduna, unpredictable because of the numerous numbers of religious crises that it had had in the past. I had to ask because from reports it was alleged that he wore his outlooks on his sleeves.
Kaduna I reasoned did not need an unbending character to lead its people. Someone accused him of not being a team player and a respecter of the establishment.
He drew my attention to the way he once told off members of the national assembly as head of a bureau as well as the way he fell out with his protge and political teacher.
My friend a former telecaster told me it was too early to wonder and I stopped doubting but I had to wonder again when I visited Kaduna in July 2018 and on walls in Tudun Wada saw symbols such as no more in 2019. That part of Kaduna I dare say due to the peevish history of Kaduna is a Muslim dominated area.
It is no secret that northern Kaduna of today is peopled by Muslims and the South by Christians, a shame for it was a culturally diverse state in the past where no-man created an imaginary border and people cohabited. Religious crises changed all of that setting.
I couldn't understand why folks who shared the same faith as the governor weren't interested in his return for a second time but that is politics, nothing is assured.
Recently I read in this medium that the governor picked a woman as his running mate in the elections to come in 2019.
Quite impressive, women should be given leadership positions as a matter of course but the snag is that the woman is a Muslim, anything wrong with that? Certainly not, in a cultured democracy but is ours a civilized democracy? A Muslim-Muslim ticket doesn't quite sound logical.
Delta state seems to be the only state that has got the model of democracy working. See Democracy of hypocrisy by Simon Abah, The Guardian 17 July 2015. Are Christians in poor condition to rule Kaduna?
What the governor did in my view gives me the impression that he doesn't know the weight of responsibility of governor in a volatile state; this again has exposed the change mantra of his party as an empty bubble.
A winner takes all approach in a state where people along religious lines complain of marginalization.
Temperament is necessary for leaders; the right temperament makes leaders treat all people equally as a leadership model. Don't the Hausa say, mutunci yafi kudi
I don't think the governor knows the implication of what he has done and considering the decay and damage done to Kaduna in the fourth republic he should have been more adroit. The preachment about tolerance is destroyed by the same people who preach it.
These tactics threaten public safety, even national security. The lack of compromise in political systems not only increases corruption but also encourages the penetration by criminal entities, undermining the capacity of Nigerian state to protect its citizens. There is always a pretext to do things and people that benefit from inequality entrench it and do not want peace.
In much of Kaduna's politics, political contestation has centered on taking over the state by certain groups for the interests of a few.
The concluding admonition in my article in the Youth Speak Column of The Guardian, January 23, 2014 Demagogues And The Lingo Of Patriotism bears repeating.
If Nigeria hopes to attain greatness among the community of nations, then the establishment must: Celebrate leaders who are acquainted with the history of this country; enough to know how we got to where we are, the challenges to be faced and likely solutions.
People whose stock in trade is not to bow down to the forces of partisan-group thinking and fan the embers of division without reference to the solutions to Nigeria's problems. Statesmen bold enough to correct the census fraud in all regions of the country.
One major point to mention is the Almajiri who daily wander in the North. The government must invent a way to capture their nomadic numbers accurately in a census if they hope to plan for their welfare and reduce poverty. A proper census must be promoted and conducted, possibly with the help of international observers.
Leaders who appreciate what politics is all about: solving problems. This understanding will propel such leaders to bring our public schools up-to-standard to serve children from poor and middle class backgrounds that are reputed through history with renowned inventions and development of countries economies.
The major reason that most people seek elective office without any agenda is that they know agenda or not, money from oil will continue to line their pockets. Formulating policies for the development of states and the nation becomes a tortuous mental strain.
We are earnestly waiting for that day when Nigerians can confidently say they can do business with the political class the way Margaret Thatcher once said she could do business with Mikhail Gorbachev because of his openness on Glasnost and Perestroika.
Nigeria needs leaders who will be inspired to believe something has to change, motivated to positively influence the lives of people; stirred by anger and frustration at how corruption is ruining the country; moved by hopelessness when they look at the future and the future of yet-unborn children.
Abah wrote from Abuja