Niger State and the Opportunity for Real Change By Bello Bwari
The recently concluded presidential and national assembly elections have proven once and for all that Nigerians are capable of choosing for themselves the leaders they want. Despite dire predictions and the fear that these elections might in fact be our last, this country went to the polls and did the needful.
The implications of the results of the presidential and National Assembly elections are obvious. The PDP which has dominated the Nigerian political landscape for 16 years failed to win victory against a resurgent, well prepared APC which fought gallantly to dethrone not just an incumbent, but a well-entrenched government.
Nowhere is the result more stark than in Niger State which has been ruled by the PDP since 1999. This time around the people said no more. The evident gap between the votes cast for the APC which has close to half a million votes above the PDP is indicative of the disappointment with the incumbent government.
However, to truly understand how devastating this election has been to the fortunes of the PDP, one must note the following fact: the PDP lost every single seat in the National Assembly elections. Thus every Senator and member of the House of Representatives that will be representing Niger State will do so on the platform of the APC. In fact, the PDP is now the opposition party in the country!
As we prepare for the governorship election on April 11, I wish to reiterate the need for Nigerlites to complete the work they have started. We must come out enmasse to support the APC, a party which has shown in many of the states it is in charge that it could deliver on the promises made to the electorates. From Lagos, Edo, to Kano, the APC governors have been able to demonstrate that governance is about service to the people, about delivering on the dividends of democracy, about action rather than words.
Niger State is in desperate need of development. The 16year rule of the PDP has brought very little to the state in terms of concrete achievements. The last administration lost an opportunity to exploit the inherent natural resources of the state to provide the kind of leadership that we needed. With the largest landmass in Nigeria and one of the most fertile lands, the PDP leadership in the state could have made Niger not just the nation’s food basket but an international center for agriculture. This would have provided both jobs and additional revenue for developing our infrastructure.
There is no doubt that a new APC government under the leadership of Alh Abubakar Sani Bello, the university trained economist and businessman with vast experience in corporate governance will take advantage of the abundant natural resources we have in the state to lift us to the heights that our potentials make possible. Using the solid blueprint that APC governments in various states have used to develop their people, Abubakar, known famously as Abulolo, is well primed to take Niger State to new heights.
The choice before Niger State is clear: to elect a man from a party which has failed for 16 years to deliver on its promises or to elect someone who has the education, the experience and the
attitude to take us to a better place. As a trained economist, a businessman of repute, a director in some of the most successful companies in the country today, and a former commissioner, Alh. Abubakar is without doubt a more reliable candidate in the gubernatorial elections.
The people of Niger State have proven their political sagacity in voting out the PDP in the National Assembly elections. The governorship election provides us yet another rare opportunity to choose the kind of leader we want in the next four years.
For too long, Niger State has lingered behind most states in the north in terms of infrastructure and human capacity development. For too long, the promise of poverty eradication and quality education has remained a mirage for the long suffering people of this state. For too long we have elected people who talk loudly instead of people who allow their actions to speak for them.
The PDP has not only failed in Niger State, but in most of Nigeria in fact. Niger State was one of the states which, with their votes, showed the power of the people to take control of their manifest destiny. Now, more than ever before, the times require that we choose a governor from a party which is on the ascendancy, a party whose manifesto is rich in the areas of growth and development, a party bold enough to use its achievements as campaign topic rather than indulge in character assassination.
With the oil market is such a terrible state of flux, with the expectation of low revenue from the federation account, it is crucial that we get a governor who is able to find other means of financing his projects. It is not business as usual and fancy posters and extravagant lifestyles are not the things we need now. The period calls for seriousness, prudent management of resources and attitudes that will restore confidence in every Nigerlite and all stakeholders. We need to vote for the candidate with the right pedigree to provide the sort of government that can make us proud of our leaders again.
I urge you to go out on the 11th of April, 2015 and complete the broom revolution. A vote for Abu Lolo of the APC as governor of Niger State is a vote for real change.
Bello Bwari writes from Minna, Niger State.