The Buhari Effect: Wind or Sand Storm of #Change? By Abdulrahman Balarabe Abba
On the evening of the 11th of April, 2015 the wind of change which had made landfall two weeks earlier was silently drifting towards the Atlantic ocean, carrying with it huge casualties and signaling the end to the PDP’s 16years unholy dominance of the Nigerian political arena. While the indigenes and residents of a few states like Kaduna, Bauchi, Benue, Plateau and Niger were basking in the euphoria of ushering in a new dawn in their various states, their fellow citizens in some other APC controlled and newly controlled states were also jubilant but cautious about what type of wind they had experienced. No-where was this cautious optimism more visible than in the states of Jigawa and Yobe.
Gov. Sule Lamido of Jigawa state, the Field Marshal of Jigawa politics, and a rare breed amongst the PDP governors especially in the Northern part of the country had over the past 8 years consolidated his party’s structure in his state and also entrenched the dividends of democracy to all far corners of ‘The New World’. His influence in his state and its politics was so strong that ever since 2011, no elective position had gone to any party other than the PDP. His dominance made the opposition virtually non-existent.
On the 13th of April, 2015, Gov. Lamido’s influence in Jigawa politics was brought to a screeching halt. Not only did his anointed candidate for the gubernatorial polls and former Chief of Staff lose, but for the first time in 8 years the Jigawa PDP will not be sending any legislator to both upper and lower chambers of the National Assembly. To crown their dismal performance, the PDP only managed to clinch five seats in the House of Assembly, winning one by a miraculous 198 votes to defeat the APC candidate of that LGA.
En-route his sudden downfall in politics, he took with him a loyal retinue of seasoned and aspiring legislators/politicians whose quality and experience will definitely be missed in the 8th National Assembly. Amongst them were Ex-minister of Education Prof. Ruqayyah Ahmed Rufa’I who contested for Federal House of Representative, Hon. Mustapha Khabeeb one of the most vocal, intellectual and influential members of the current House of Representatives and Dr. Danladi Abdullahi Sankara a serving Senator.
A leading traditional ruler in Jigawa state was reported to have complained bitterly and openly that apart from the incoming Governor of Jigawa state, Alh. Mohammad Badaru Abubakar, all other newly elected representatives of his state do not have what it takes to represent and fight for Jigawa State at the National level and was hoping some could be substituted.
Gov. Kwankwaso recently said his counterparts in Jigawa and Niger committed political suicide by staying back on a sinking ship (PDP). While close associates of Gov. lamido whom he led like lambs to their slaughter count their losses, Jigawa indigenes will hope and pray they made the right choice at the polls by voting APC Sak.
As for Yobe State Governor Ibrahim Geidam, whom over the past four years has become flat mates with Gov. Kwankwaso at the Government house in Kano and holds cabinet meetings in Kano and Abuja under the guise of fleeing from his Boko-Haram ravaged State, his re-election is nothing but a sign of respect to President-Elect Muhammadu Buhari from the Yobe electorate. He should take a cue from his counterpart in Borno state, whose own governing conditions are far worse than that of yobe state, but still stays in Maiduguri with those whom he has a social contract with.
For President-Elect to have a successful tenure and his party to sustain its momentum, the APC as a party must call all Governors on its platform to order and educate them on their responsibilities to those who defied all odds to put them where they are today.
The Buhari political effect is a blessing and also a curse to the Northern region of Nigeria. While associating ones political structure with him has given room for a level playing field in Northern politics between the “money bags” and the “have not’s” since 2003, it has also opened up the door for a whole lot of charlatans and devious no-good politicians to ride on his back to positions which they see as a source of enriching themselves and promoting their sadistic desires.
More transparency and involvement should go into selection and election of party delegates and candidates.
The APC must from now on make it their duty to Nigerians to produce credible and competent candidates and ensure that elected officials deliver the rightful dividends of democracy to their citizens.
While some are happy with the wind of change, some certainly feel like the wind had some semblance to a sand storm.
God Bless Nigeria.
Abdulrahman Balarabe Abba