ANALYSIS: In Adamawa it is competence vs sentiments

FILE PHOTO: Nuhu Ribadu smiles to himself as fans cheer during a rally
FILE PHOTO: Nuhu Ribadu smiles to himself as fans cheer during a rally

By Jacob Hammanjoda
The choices between the people of Adamawa state in the April 11 gubernatorial election are as clear as they are extremes. The contest which in reality is between four contenders, is at the same time a two-way game between what is right and its opposite. The four frontline candidates are Mohammed Jibrilla Bindow of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Modibbo of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), Engr. Marcus Gundiri of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and, of course, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). To any fair mind, the ideal choice, from the roll call above, is very clear.

As the people overcome the outcome of the March 28 presidential election, with eyes now set on the gubernatorial and House of Assembly election, it is a moment people of Adamawa state should tarry and reflect. This state cannot continue to be the way it is. The level of decay and deplorable condition of governance and infrastructure require a drastic turn-around. And nobody needs to be told that this radical shift begins with having a true leader.

Leadership is not some titular ritual for self-aggrandizement or pomposity. That is why quailed the leader we want presently in Adamawa state as “true leader”. True leadership presupposes that the leader is capable of leading, not some puppet that will be controlled by a third force. But of course to be in charge and exercise those roles expected of a leader, True Leader possesses certain qualities which, in no particular order include adequate training (education) and experience, exposure, passion, patriotism, strength of character, commitment, compassion and boldness.

Any reflection of the history of our dear state, especially in the recent past, one would conclude that lack of these qualities in most of the people that governed the state is responsible for where we have found ourselves today. It is therefore high time that we shed off whatever sentiments we have individually and put our state and collective interest forward.

From the array of contestants for the coveted gubernatorial seat currently marketing themselves to the people, PDP’s Nuhu Ribadu stands out when it comes to a non-romantic, dispassionate choice. Ribadu has governance and public sector experience more than any of the candidates on display because he was tested with not only running a federal government agency but starting it from a piece of paper and taking it to global reckoning. He was also a key member of the President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Economic Management Team that steered institutional and economic reforms from 2003 to 2007.

His personal attributes of integrity, honesty, incorruptibility and passion are rare virtues that we should stake all to have in a leader especially in corruption battered Adamawa state. Forget whatever one will tell you, for a man who fought the high and mighty doggedly and brought them down, and having being fought by the federal government at a time, the fact that no one has ever comes out with any genuine corruption or moral lapse against Ribadu tells you a lot about him.

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Yes, Nuhu Ribadu’s party, the PDP, has suffered monumental defeat in the hands of what I would call the Buhari effect. But this does not spell the doomsday especially looking at the voting trend in our increasingly maturing political space. It is also not irredeemable in terms of the outcome of the next election as several times voting pattern do change from one election to the next.

If the people of Adamawa would want to borrow a leaf from Kano people, one will see that the Kanawa massively voted for General Muhammadu Buhari in 2011 but at the gubernatorial poll they stayed away from Buhari’s party. Instead, the people hugely gave their votes to Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the PDP then. And this how Kano come to witness what it can boast of today – myriad of infrastructural and administrative revolutions under the leadership of Kwankwaso of the PDP. But in the same election, Nasarawa State voted a “Buhari governor” of the CPC stock that is. But if you ask today the people of Nasarawa would tell you there is nothing to write home about in terms of development in the state in the last four years. In this parallel there is a huge lesson for our people.

We can therefore not afford buying a book with a glittering cover whose content is very much grotesque. We also dare not return a dark dynasty of the recent past back to power through the back door. Our civil servants suffered greatly in the hands of those people who prioritised frivolous expenditures to the actual governance. If you have been to local governments like Shelleng and Lamurde, or major districts like Borrong or Pariya you will definitely know that we cannot have a repeat of yesterday. We can’t!

We can also not to afford to have someone who is bent on dividing our harmonious people just to take himself to power. If one’s selling points are not past records of service and clear achievable campaign promises but ethnic and religious credentials, such a man should be rejected by even his immediate people. Whoever whips primordial sentiments to get to leadership position, you can bait your last kobo that such a man is not worth a minute in that position.

The April 11 governorship election in Adamawa is a decision moment. It is a choice between continuity – which has dubiously changed its name to change and a new chapter. The biggest lie sold to people in this election is that electing somebody under the APC will help General Buhari govern better. That is a fat lie. Buhari cannot do his work and do someone else’s. As a president he also has no powers over governors. After the polls, it is everyone to himself. If Buhari is just and fair enough to give what is due for Adamawa to it, is he the one to ensure expenditure and implementation? We should resist deception and come out to vote with clear conscience knowing fully well that what he decide for ourselves is a foundation for posterity – we have the choice to make it strong or feeble.

Hammanjoda wrote from Yadeem, Fufore local government, Adamawa State.

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