It was in 2007 after an eight-year fruitful stint in Bauchi Government House as governor, Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu made bold to contest the nation’s number one seat, the presidency. The ambition was far from personal interest as he stepped forward with vigor to slug it out with other aspirants. His launching pad was his quantum of stewardship as a governor that formed the basis of his aspiration. As a governor, he served with passion, transformed many lives and the hitherto inherited glorified rural state to modernity. He assembled brains and brawns as members of his executive council and walked on the political turf with confidence and courage. His mission was to move to the centre, change the narrative of the Nigerian project, provide credible leadership, set the pace in pragmatic governance, unite the people and create friendship with other nations. He was not on astral journey but on a journey backed with credibility and respect to the sanctity of lives. He was a victim of political under ration and rascality. In place of a convenient party primary election, he was lobbied to step down with a promise of settling his incurred campaign expenses which as characteristic of him, he rejected and opted out to support the wish of party leadership to save the situation. The rest is history.
As a governor, he attempted to be fair and just. As party leader, he shifted the gubernatorial post to the central zone for equity and fair play based on the zoning agreement put-in-place by players of the past. His intention was misinterpreted by his party members that paved a smooth sail for opposition to carry the day. Again, that is left for history. He piloted the affairs of his then party at the national level and performed creditably well. Although, the party was dwarfed in the general elections, the reasons were not farfetched. Internal squabbles and insecurity situation that enveloped parts of the country and uncontrolled hate speeches that dominated the polity, were some of the reasons for the painful defeat. After exiting party leadership, Ahmadu remains silent while studying the ongoing political abracadabra and planning to bounce back in a bigger way on the political turf in 2023. He is a force for consideration.
Politics is part of social life according to sociologists in which shared accountability is critically required but in our own brand, it is embarrassingly missing. The social contract theory justifies the state based on this idea of shared accountability between the state and the individual. The individual foregoes absolute freedom and the state assures him of protection and welfare in place.
On this foundation of shared accountability, many follow. With the emergence of modern governance, the people in their capacity as voters vote their leaders based on their understanding of an acceptable platform to promote their interests. It was in 2014 the All Progressives Congress (APC) emerged at the political scene as an outcome of a mega merger with its slogan of Change. It was Change to be believed on the perceived character of one of those advocates for the claimed Change, Muhammadu Buhari. It may be of interest to whosoever cares to know that Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu was one of those who introduced participation in politics to President Buhari during one of his visits to commission completed projects initiated and executed by Ahmadu Mu’azu as governor. That was in 2002. In 2003, Muhammadu Buhari was in Bauchi for presidential campaign on the platform of All Peoples Party (APP). As usual of his brand of politics, despite been in opposition, Mu’azu received Buhari in Bauchi Government House without qualms. Since then, Muhammadu Buhari remains in party politics with many rating him high based on his past performance as a ruthless military Head of State from December 31, 1983- 1985, and his stint, at the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) as chairman. As military Head of State, he threw several thieving leaders to marathon jail sentences, executed drug traffickers and jailed journalists who dared his style of governance which was dictatorial in all ramifications and definition. Nigeria was returning to the path of honor earlier destroyed by the thieving politicians and their comrades in syndicate who butchered Nigeria for their personal advantage.
Unknowingly to most Nigerians, that was the Buhari in khaki much needed then to clean the Augean stable than a civilian Buhari in agbada that lacks the fighting claws in a democracy and better informed Nigeria.
The game of Change scored positive result for the APC in the 2015 and 2019 presidential and general elections. Today, Nigerians do not need a soothsayer to be told that all is not well with their dear country. Everything seems to be upside down. Security apparatus is in total mess near collapse, the unemployment level is intolerably high, the roads are death traps and manned by bandits and their elder brothers, armed robbers, public schools are in shambles without caring and experienced managers to manage, education has unstable academic calendar, public hospitals are mere consulting clinics, corruption is thriving in every sector, hunger is written on the faces of the shortchanged and deprived of good governance, bad governance, ethno-religious crises everywhere and lack of patriotism has become common features in our daily lives. In fact, we are losing confidence in government.
Is this the way things would continue in our country while we are blessed with capable hands that can change the narrative? What then can we do as individuals and groups to bring about the REAL CHANGE that we all badly need? To continue to keep silent and doing nothing is to say everything is normal and fine and postulate that we should maintain the status quo and continue with the rot. No! There must be change in 2023.
The truth is that the situation of things has become so bad and horrible and I doubt if any mortal person can single-handedly transform our nation state from this quagmire into a sane society, but at least, we can each do our bits. This is my turning point that I should become the Change agent.
No more over-speeding, excessive honking, driving with invalid documents, evasion of tax and purchase of replacement appointments; traffic rules violation whether on busy or deserted roads. No more joining of reckless security and patrol convoys to evade hold-ups at road blocks or check points. To keep doing this is like taking an advantage of my fellow citizens in trying moments. Why not wait until the traffic is clear to drive alongside other road users rather than driving carelessly? To continue behaving this way is akin to road terrorism and partaking in the same lawlessness that we usually blame our leaders for. How then am I different from those we accuse of lawlessness in leadership?
Our participation in future electoral process should be better than before. I for one vowed to reach my locality to change the narrative no matter the consequences. That shall be at the most appropriate time. I have mustered the terrain, I know the real respected politicians that matter and I know how to play the game more than the players but with INEC as the unbiased umpire and EFCC at the scene to deal with vote buyers. Without further delay, I will obtain my voter’s card that I had all along refused to collect due to my apathy to the exercise in my locality. With my orientation and new disposition, there is no need to sit on the fence any longer. With my strong conviction, things would begin to change for the better when credible, competent and capable candidates are elected into public office in 2023 irrespective of their political leanings. We must have the best.
Oh No! My locality has suffered enough of neglect from the past. It is yet to wear the looks of a real local government with happy and progressing inhabitants. We have to unite and move the area forward for posterity. We MUST as civilize people abhor sentiments and imaginary differences artificially created to divide us for political gain. We have to embrace each other as brother and sister from Adam and Eve. We must disconnect those adjudged by the people as incompetent in leadership. We must support the good ones to lead our people to prosper.
Beyond fulfilling the mandate, my pledge will transcend this month, but continue thereafter, as long as I live on mother earth. Just like managing success, I would struggle not to waiver in this arduous and challenging task of pursuing a noble cause conscious that the unforeseen and pull forces that drive us away from doing the right things are more formidable and compelling than the push forces that lead man to the path of honor, dignity, progress and life. I fear no challenge for I am used to it, I fear no hate speech for it is part of the sacrifice and I fear no arrest and phantom allegations characteristic of Nigerian politics because I know it and I have experienced several of it. I shall be focused, courageous as ever and fearless for the good future of my people. For me and my associates, it is really time to build strong courage, take the gauntlet and make a difference in the living style of the impoverished people of my locality. We shall together operate without beating the drums of hatred against any living soul. We shall play the game as good players in the interest of all. We shall neither be agents of division nor envy. But we shall collectively proffer solutions to the lingering problems bedeviling the locality. So Help Us God!
Last line, from a reliable source, APC in Bauchi state may be heading to another very uncertain future if it allows political jobbers and wailers to continue overheating the polity under the guise of gubernatorial aspiration. Presently, the party is said to have over 10 gubernatorial aspirants for 2023 while many more are said to be warming-up for declaration. If those aspirants are carefully screened, some are the least qualified for public trust while some are flaunting fake credentials as they escaped justice in 2019 as others are inconsequential but mere noise makers and over ambitious for serious consideration. Majority of them are best for the dustbin of history if carefully assessed! Let the party be carefully.
Muhammad is a commentator on national issues