The 2019 elections have come and gone. Democracy has been further tested — or is it stretched, for the democratic evolution’s elasticity of the country reached a breaking point. All the actors in the political processes have been interrogated and the majority of them found blameworthy in the near miscarriage of our political march to the ideal society. If you discounted the role of God in saving the country, I am surprised how we escaped being pushed off the brink.
But here we are in the aftermath of the election turmoil. Elected executives—President and Governors—took their oath of office on May 29thand we are about to witness the formal inauguration of the 9thNational Assembly (NASS) on the 11th June. That the upper chamber of the NASS is increasingly becoming the retirement home for ex-Governors is a topic for another day, but nonetheless there is the need to x-ray the potential that such ex-Governors have to impact on the quality of legislation, leveraging on their past experiences, to invigorate the Senate and make it worth the billions of tax payers’ money that goes into oiling its machinery.
The x-raying is essential so that, in the business of accountability which democratic dispensation is all about, we can at the right moment hold such ex-Governors accountable. One such ex-Governor coming to the Senate for the first time is Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, a two-term Governor of the most populous state in Nigeria—Kano—from 2003-2011.
However, before I dwell on this career teacher-turned politician, I would like to draw some lessons from the just concluded elections and the roles its key actors played in contributing to the positive and negative outcomes of the elected positions, depending on which side of the divide you are. The biggest winner in this self-destroying entanglement of the PDP apparatchik was Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau. When the national leadership of the PDP imposed Kwankwasiyya retunees on the party leadership, Shekarau simply and peacefully left the PDP to APC. He was rewarded with the ticket to contest the Kano Central Senatorial seat, which he went on to win with massive landslide victory.
Three undeniable traits define Shekarau—humility, his peace-loving nature and visionary outlook. Surely, these are valuable asset to take to the Senate. In stark contrast to what obtains nowadays in Kano State, the good governance he engendered while in power is nostalgically remembered. His was a government that left LG funds in the hands of the statutory authorities, allowing them to run the administrations independently as they deemed fit under the supervision of the ministry of Local Government. His was a government that prioritized staff welfare, revived staff development through trainings and courses long forgotten by the state civil service scheme. His zeal for staff welfare extended to the senior citizens of the state.
His approach to governance easily showed him as someone who values human capital development. His visionary antecedences were captured in many facets of state craftsmanship he displayed during his days. These are too numerous to mention in this write up. But one that stands the test of time and continues to be relevant was the Hisba. This is a socio-religious body brought about as a tool of implementing the Sharia Law in the state has won the hearts of many in the state—Muslims and Christians alike.
The visionary body has over the years built a cordial working relationship with other federal institutions, such as NAPTIP and NDLEA apart from the police that has been keeping Kano free from child traffickers, drug peddlers and other petty criminals. His peace-loving disposition is best appreciated in the manner he handled the security situation of the state in the 8 years of his administration. Prior to his coming to power Kano was notorious for its ethnic-cum-religious crises. But throughout his eight year administration Kano was at peace. Not a single crisis was recorded during his first and second tenures,
Shekarau going to Senate will enable him continue playing these positive roles at the national level. His first shot into national limelight was his attempt to contest the Presidential race in 2011 under the ANPP. Few months into Goodluck Jonathan’s Presidency, he was appointed as Minister of Education. Most of the landmark achievements of the Jonathan’s regime in educational sector were achieved while he was in the office.
Shekarau will bring to the 9th Senate his vast experience in the art of good governance, conflict management and resolution, team building and accountability. On the other hand, he will be closely watched by those who sent him there from the 17 LGAs that formed the Kano Central Senatorial district. They will expect more from him in terms of contribution to meaningful debates that will unite the country against its many fault lines.
The 9th Senate will find in Shekarau a valuable asset.