Why Kwankwaso Should Lead Nigeria in 2015 (Part 1) By Umar Mukhtar

Rabiu Kwankwaso

The first bias some people accord Kwankwasiyya advocates is of having minds narrowed to the gains in Kano state alone over the course of the last 3 and a half years; however, they then forget that no idea has ever started with a whole nation, rather they all start with the proponents, extending then to a thin innermost circle of trust and then explode into the world with a blast coverage determined by its conformity with widespread needs. It is indeed clear that Nigeria more than ever before, requires a leader that is visibly committed, politically sagacious, cautiously magnanimous and ably meticulous.

The first major test that befell Governor Kwankwaso was the test of his loyalty to a cause in 2003. At the time, there emerged a strong wind of change fuelled by the People’s General and his army of committed followers. Kwankwaso, (at the time) a PDP first term Governor of Kano, who had entrenched a visionary foundation for Kano’s restoration especially in education, housing, health and trade sectors, was caught in the wind. He had to choose whether to dump his principal (PDP’s Presidential candidate OBJ) and follow the growing wind or remain loyal to his party and get consumed. Even though for Kano people it was so much more emotional than logical, Governor Kwankwaso lost his re-election bid to Ibrahim Shekarau, whose eventual 8 year administration turned out to be everything but that which Buhari & his followers stand for.

Governor Kwankwaso passed the test of defeat with amazingly flying colours; he thanked people of Kano in an immediate broadcast and congratulated Shekarau. He then proceeded to visit Shekarau’s private residence with his entire cabinet and felicitated with him on his victory. Kwankwaso almost completely left the Kano public space even though he was Defense Minister and a prominent figure in the second term of President OBJ. In 2006, he resigned from the cabinet to contest Kano’s governorship against Shekarau, who was seeking a second term. Kwankwaso was then disqualified by the ruse of a panel that impeded many others from contesting elections at the time. Again, he was exceptionally matured in his acceptance of the fate and supported his party to deliver the Presidency and eventual marginal loss of the Kano governorship.

Between 2003 and 2010, Governor Kwankwaso had served in various capacities, as Defense Minister, Somalia/Darfur Envoy, NDDC Governing Board Member as well as several other party assignments while maintaining a compact stakeholder engagement and management system in Kano and the rest of the North West. Between 2009 and 2010, he engaged the entire political space of Kano in a physical tour to discuss the rescue mission for Kano after the abysmal years under Shekarau, devoted mainly to a classical portrayal of religious affinity. In 2010, he declared interest to contest the Governorship of Kano, to which the national leadership of the PDP wasn’t greatly disposed, but which he eventually won with massive youth and women followership, fuelled by well-structured campaign promises. Behold, the campaign promises have focused mainly on a broad-based interim and long-term approach to enhancing the lives and activities of the youth and women of Kano state.

Kwankwaso met a huge debt profile of about N80bn to which Kano state was committed when he took over; yet the focus on curbing waste and judicious application of public funds for public good has allowed his administration the latitude to deliver remarkable projects of infrastructural, social and economic value, while concurrently reducing the debt profile by about 65% to less than N20bn with a commitment to clear the state’s indebtedness before hand over on 29th May, 2015. This is a leader who is apparently prepared to run a nation in times of fuel price dips and desperate search for an expansive non-oil revenue base. The rise of Kano’s IGR profile by 500% since the return of Governor Kwankwaso further speaks volume of his abhorrence of a mono-cultural economy; dependent greatly on a single inflow source.

One must also recall that Kano state, under Governor Kwankwaso, suffered one of the deadliest attacks in Nigeria since the commencement of armed insurgency. The state was brought to its knees on the 20th of January, 2012 when multiple attacks were staged, killing hundreds of people and driving hundreds of businesses and families out of the state. It was indeed a major test, to which Governor Kwankwaso acted with immense maturity and tact. It is on record that the Kwankwaso administration took responsibility for the victims and did not apportion blames for the attacks; neither did the government fail in its duties to deliver massive projects even though insecurity would have been a valid reason to loot out Kano without necessarily delivering value.

With his resolute application of public funds for public good under a democratic setting as evidenced by the massive amount of infrastructure and human development programmes in Kano; a pragmatic approach to engaging thousands of youths and women via empowerment programmes and institutes, stimulating the emergence of over 620,000 businesses since his assumption of office in 2011; a tactful management of the insurgent attacks while effectively combining the management of state security with delivery of campaign promises; his unalloyed loyalty to a cause and bearing its consequences as evidenced by his loss of elections in 2003, agreement to shelve his 2007 aspiration as well as his return in 2011; Governor Kwankwaso is a star that has shone brightly and continues to shine in showing the way for others. Whether or not the bias that I am from Kano counts, I see reason for Kwankwaso to lead Nigeria, so that the whole country shares from the “public funds for public good” leadership. Governor Kwankwaso’s credentials and antecedents are beyond a qualification to run for Nigeria’s presidency, but have armed him thoroughly to lead Nigeria’s restoration and eventual march to greatness.

Umar Y. Mukhtar (UMY)

Twitter: @farouqyola