By Danjuma Musa
Finally, it is a done deal. Senator Uba Sani, as widely expected, has decisively won the Kaduna State governorship ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC). He will be flying the party’s flag in the 2023 gubernatorial election in the state.
His main opponent will be Isa Ashiru Kudan, who, also as expected, clinched the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial ticket. Isa Ashiru Kudan, in the opinion of the PDP stakeholders, remains the best of the lot that included Shehu Sani and others.
In 2015, Isa Ashiru Kudan, contested against Nasir El-Rufai for the APC governorship ticket and was roundly defeated in the primaries. In 2019, typical of the average Nigerian desperate politician, he “decamped” to the PDP, in pursuit of his ambition to be governor in Kaduna State.
The reality, however, is that he just wants to be a governor because it is the fashionable thing in Nigeria for most young men with too much money to do. Sadly for him, he came at a very wrong time when the bar of governance has been raised far beyond his capacity. It is imaginable what Ashiru wants to bring to governance in Kaduna State after the superlative performance of the cerebral Nasir El-Rufai who has successfully rescued the state from the doldrums.
Kaduna State people, after the poor performance of past leaderships, are not in a hurry to return to a past they have worked hard to grow past. As it is, Ashiru does not have what it takes to build on the progress so far recorded by el-Rufai. Though he has been warmly embraced by some Southern Kaduna elites, it is interesting to note that the zone may again shoot itself in the foot as it did in past elections by backing unpopular candidates. It is surprising that educated people would always prefer the fraternity of the likes of persons that lack the capacity to lead or manage people, to represent them. As popularly predicted, one of their favourite, Danjuma Laah, was handed a well-deserved defeat in the Senate primaries by Sunday Marshal Katung. Many people in the state do not see a different result for the PDP in the 2023 governorship election..
It will be sad, if some Southern Kaduna elites downplay, or, refuse to see the importance of key factors like motivation, strategic reasoning, effective communication, planning, knowledge, and the appetite for learning, in the recruitment of leadership in the 21st century. The unpleasant truth is that the PDP candidate does not motivate, and cannot inspire, most members of the party; what more for non-members. Most of those milling around him see him as someone that can be easily manipulated. They believe he is pliant and as such can be leveraged for financial benefits. Though he has his plans close to his chest, many of his acolytes believe that if he becomes governor, he could be blackmailed to allow a free run on the resources of the state.
One area that Ashiru would always excel in is what many of his followers call “power dressing”. But governance of a state like Kaduna, with its strategic importance to the northern region of the country, goes beyond flamboyance. It is effective and transformational leadership. The derision that Danjuma Laah suffered in the hands of supporters of Sunday Marshal Katung, over his alleged poor representation of the zone at the Senate, must have contributed to his defeat. Laah is said to be the weakest link in the remarkable performance of members of the National Assembly from Kaduna State in the 9th Senate. However, those who overwhelmingly rejected Senator Laah, cannot in good conscience support the PDP candidate, whose two terms at the House of Representatives, were equally uneventful, to become Governor of Kaduna State.
Isa Ashiru’s poor outing in the National Assembly was not just because of his literacy level. After all, Hon. Muhammad Gudaji Danbaffa Kazaure makes superb contributions during deliberations in the House of Representatives, despite his lack of flowing English because he has a vision. On the other hand, Ashiru cannot openly boast of the successful sponsorship of a bill throughout their time in the National Assembly. Many people in Kaduna State are holding him to task on this.
Supporters of Ashiru who insist that he can conduct the business of business in the Hausa language, miss the point. Being a governor is not about revolving around the state. It comes with engagements outside the state and these engagements will be conducted in a language that is not Hausa. For instance, will a governor who is very fluent in the Hausa language address the National Council of State meeting in Hausa? Governance is serious business. Kaduna State has moved beyond the capacity of the likes of Ashiru. He will be lost in understanding the El-Rufai footprints, not to talk of following it, unlike Uba Sani, who was part of the design and implementation. Uba Sani has equally shown a good grasp of the critical issues that confront the state.
It’s important to reassure Nigerians that Uba Sani will strive to match and surpass the achievements of his mentor and friend El-Rufai. He understands the complexities of running a in the 21st century and the burden of leadership. More importantly, he is mentally prepared. He has seen El-Rufai, his mentor age, working hard, day and night to turn around Kaduna State. Uba has shown the capacity to harness the human and material resources to solidify the achievements of El-Rufai.
Uba Sani, will serve with total commitment. He will be a compassionate and caring leader, just and decisive. Uba understands the urgency for the people to achieve their full potential.
The enthusiasm for the Uba Sani candidacy, which cuts across party lines, is a welcome development because it is not just a reflection of the trust in his capacity to provide leadership, but a testimony of the millions of lives that he has touched. In the coming weeks and months, we expect all manners of falsehoods and salacious lies around the person of Senator Uba Sani. But, he will be unfazed and will not be distracted because the task ahead is enormous. Stepping into the shoes of El-Rufai will not be easy as the expectations will be equally too high.