Sunday, May 17, 2015

Atiku and Buhari Presidency

Over the years, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has been the most visible politician, especially in the politics of Nigeria’s presidency. In fact, 68 years-old Atiku has so far has spent nearly half of his age doing politics.

Atiku is today one of the stakeholders in the Buhari Presidency and the All Progressive Congress (APC). The Buhari presidency is a product of change- a change that most Nigerians are keen for. Is Atiku a changed man? It seems Atiku is trying to right the wrong of the past. However, Atiku still means different things to his critics and supporters.

Atiku’s critics often argue that the core reason he ventured into politics was not different from that of a typical Nigerian politician- the quest for power and self enrichment. But his supporters say, mere politics is not what only defines Atiku, but the way he does it. Atiku is politically adventurous and his strategies in politics are always audacious- they surpass those of ordinary Nigerian politicians. 

Over the years, Atiku has been the most visible politician, especially in the politics of Nigeria’s presidency. His opponents are always quick to describe him as opportunistic and a desperate serial presidential contestant. His supporters see his unrelenting participation in party politics as a clear sign of Atiku’s passion to serve his fatherland. Atiku’s supporters always boast that Atiku is one of the few top-notch politicians in Nigeria that fought the PDP – he, engineered the biggest revolt that shock the PDP (the famous New-PDP). And, despite that Atiku lost the APC presidential primaries to Buhari and his preferred candidate also lost the Adamawa APC governorship primaries; Atiku helped the APC with his immense war chest that easily scares off opponents- vast political network and connections.

Muhammadu Buhari- the politician; appears to have realised that, Atiku is such a man that must be factored-in in the present Nigerian political equations. Because of some reasons, including that, Atiku was the most prepared candidate for the 2015 presidential election. Atiku Abubakar has a well-drafted policy document loaded with fine, programs and projects, christened ‘The Atiku Abubakar Formula’. Atiku promised, if elected, his medium-term strategy would be to ensure that recurrent expenditure is financed fully with non-oil revenues, while all oil proceeds will be invested in infrastructure, security, education and health. 

The Buhari presidency will a defining moment for Atiku to re-launch himself as a true democrat, who is already to sacrifice for the good of the nation. Though, the ultimate measure of a democrat is not how he stands at the moment of comfort and convenience, but how he stands at times of challenges and controversies. Nigerian will be closely watching Atiku in the Buhari presidency.

Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State,, 08036070980. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Governor Sule Lamido as a Role-Model for New Governors

Many of the first-term governors-elect are coming on board without a well articulated programme and policy for their people. The ‘change’ phenomenon and the Buhari tsunami have brought in some unprepared governors especially in the northern part of Nigeria. The society must help these set of elected public office holders to start good and end excellent.

The Sule Lamido model of development is an excellent working document for most governors-elect to emulate and benchmark in their developmental strives. I often christen Governor Sule Lamido’s style of development in rural Jigawa as ‘Big Project from Small Money.’ Sule Lamido administration have initiated and completed many projects that are milestones as well as being in line with Jigawa’s needs.

The main reason the new governors-elect especially those in northern states with similar geographical, cultural and economical terrain with Jigawa should religiously adopt Governor Lamido’s development strategies is; the governor‘s development plans are based on new thinking and sound decision making. Governor Lamido’s careful planning and execution of people oriented projects and programmes, including the visibly enhanced economic growth and quality of governance in Jigawa State is clearly an indication that, despite the general poverty of ideas among most public office holders and the scarce resources in most northern states, there are leaders who are genuinely committed to people oriented and sustainable development. For instance, while most states were crying and pointing fingers at the Federal Government for their inability to pay workers’ salaries; Governor Lamido has not only paid salaries, but busy commissioning new projects.

Despite the meagre resources and the population of Jigawa people being mainly rural dwellers and peasant farmers, the governor was able to identify what the Jigawa people dearly want. This is how leaders ought to be- futuristic in thinking. 

Governors-elect who wholeheartedly want to bring real development to their people must adopt the Lamido concept and strategy of development in agriculture, roads, education, electricity, healthcare, water supply, transportation, youth development and other sectors. Governor Lamido was able to achieve the visible remarkable development in Jigawa through the segmentation of the various sectors into their smallest unit, then a head-on tackling of each unit. 

Lamido has become a role model for those aspiring for and holding political offices, because he has exhibited what is expected of elected leadership. For first-term governors-elect who truly want to bring development despite the current meagre resources; governor Lamido’s development strategies will be a great helping-hand. 

Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State,, 08036070980.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

What the North East Dearly Needs From Buhari

Poverty, illiteracy and bad leadership are the greases that run Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast. In fact, Northeastern Nigeria has become the epicenter of Boko Haram insurgency because majority of the people in the region live in abject poverty induced by toxic leadership. Though, other national factors like, unequal distribution of resources, the sloppy handling of the conflict by the government at the centre and the absence of employment opportunities have also helped Boko Haram in its recruitments and indoctrinations. 

President-elect, Muhammad Buhari has promised to end Boko Haram. But the big question is after that, what next? Buhari must tackle the main condition that facilitated the growth of Boko Haram- abject poverty in the region. The average Nigerian in the Northeast is extremely a poor man. 

Buhari will need to create productive employment for the region’s teeming unemployed citizens and those engaged in unproductive-manual jobs. He can achieve this by taking a cue from China’s Chairman Mao’s development model of agriculturalisation, industrialization, and collectivization.
Nigeria’s development efforts over the years have laid emphasis on urban development at the expense of rural development which has led to a substantial rise in inequality between Nigerians; this is why Boko Haram recruits with ease in the northeast.

Buhari, being a former governor in the defunct Northeast, is certainly one of those who understand better, the multifaceted challenges and the need for security, rehabilitation and development in the war-torn northeast. However, Buhari’s development plans for the Northeast has to be tied to agriculture. Agriculture is the easiest way to touch and integrate the lives and livelihood of the millions of people in the Northeast and at the same time, quickly rehabilitate the land, the people and the local economy from the 'scars' of Boko Haram’s senseless war. The much-talked about and celebrated promise by Buhari to resume oil exploration in Lake Chad is a welcome development, but it cannot, within short time heal the wounds of the war in the Northeast. 

Though industrialization entails both technology and profound social development, Buhari can also develop an agro-allied small scale industrialization programme for the Northeast with systemic as well as systematic measures to steer resources into the productive process. This will help in sustaining the agricultural sector and help in human capital development, including the rehabilitation of the destruction, dislocation, disruption and the exhaustions that are so obvious in many of the war-torn communities.

Boko Haram have destroyed many schools and killed many school children in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states. Thus the education problem in the northeast has become different from that of the rest of the country. The Northeast is facing the problem of large number of children out of schools; many destroyed schools and fear instilled in children and parents to send their wards to schools. Collaboration between the three states of Borno, Yobe , Adamawa and Federal government is required to tackle these big problems. 

China owes her development to Chairman Mao’s ‘Great Leap Forward’ of agriculturalisation, industrialization, and collectivization. Though, we are talking about rehabilitation of war-torn communities with high rate of illiteracy and poverty, Buhari can still benchmark Chairman Mao’s idea through agriculturalisation, small scale industrialization and human capital development. However, it took China decades to start reaping the benefits of the ‘Great Leap Forward’.

Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State,, 08036070980