By SANUSI MUHAMMAD
As a journalist with over 30 years experience and as one that once served the Isa Yuguda administration (2007 – 2015) as Senior Special Assistant (SSA) from 2008 – 2011, I garnered a lot of experience in the course of my professional calling. I had the opportunity to watch, listen and study the body language of politicians from different climes. I came to pity those mandated with leadership positions and wondered how they manage to listen and satisfy all that pay them visits or make requests. In most cases, sycophants, praise singers, blackmailers and scientific beggars and crooks are those that bulldoze their ways to leaders. Not to enrich the leader but to mislead him to believing falsehood and create enemies.
Governor Muhammad Abdullahi Abubakar took over the mantle of governance on May 29, 2015 and since then he has maintained a steady posture while studying the hand over notes bequeathed the administration by his predecessor at the same time battling the odds to instill probity and accountability in government. As he is being careful to avoid mistakes that may scuttle his efforts to success, sycophants and blackmailers are roaming major streets spreading deadly rumours to ridicule the reputation of the new administration piloted by a principled legal giant.
They are many. Their motives differ. Their strategies vary and at times conflicting. But what they have in common is that their only interest lies in what translates to their personal benefits. Call it stomatch infrastructure if you like. What is not debatable is the shameless selfishness that is thrown to the forefront by politicians as they jostle for positions, power and influence. For these opportunists and mischief makers, anybody, interest or virtue can be denigrated or sacrificed. What is important is the materialization of their personal ambitions. In most cases, these personal ambitions have no social value worthy of their names.
In the wake of M.A Abubakar’s election, these habitual opportunists activated their heinous machinery of mischief. Their stock in trade is always to stalk the governor, deploying every social capital at their disposal. To the governor, their advice is ‘do not trust this person’ ‘do not trust that person’, dislodge all! Their goal: secure an appointment; corner juicy contracts; mislead the governor, milk the economy dry without any tangible result. These are professional opportunists, for whom personal interest determines their professed love for any leader or state.
Could that explain the spate of sycophancy and bootlicking? We may never be able to say so with any amount of certainty. Yet, the behaviour of these characters has a striking resemblance to what Mahatma Ghandi of India described as ‘politics without principles’. Their fundamental philosophy, if it can be so described, remains the same: the average indigenous politician is driven more by pecuniary considerations than any deep-seated principle of a social value. I think the point about politics without principles needs to be clarified. As we are all aware, not every move was predicated on the ‘stomach infrastructure’ principle. On the contrary, there were genuine cases where the absence of internal democracy and brazen executive corruption and favouritism had prompted change of political affiliation.
In spite of that, Abubakar should avoid professional blackmailers and malcontents who would run with the hare and haunt with the hound. Their usual stock-in-trade is to rubbish every potential including those who exhibit high capacity in their fields of specialization and political office holders either as pro- Yuguda, corrupt or incompetent. Several cases of financial malfeasance that derailed Yuguda’s effort to serve diligently were exhumed by Abubakar as a reassuring signal that the governor does not intend to throw the baby away with the bath water.
A deep search will show that among those positioned for crucifixion in the Yuguda administration, there are competent, hardworking and patriotic ones whose only crime is that they had the privilege to serve in the Yuguda administration and had served with dexterity and sincerity without any case of corrupt practice or incapacitation. It was the same mistake Yuguda made in 2007 which he later corrected to have capable hands that could serve better than the misfits he recruited. The rest is history.
At this age and with his experience in public life, M.A Abubakar needs no reminding that he is no longer an aspirant but the governor of Bauchi state. On May 29, 2015 he was sworn-in as the executive governor of all the people of Bauchi state including the apolitical. Even that, nothing stops him from running an all inclusive government that attracts the best brains and brawns without prejudice to party affiliation. The ignorant may shout if that is done, but results may later change their grievances,
There are several examples to tap from to support my suggestion. Take the case of Abubakar Habu Hashidu of Gombe state in 1999. He appointed the wife of his former opponent, late Ibrahim Hassan as commissioner and several other PDP stalwarts that opposed his election. Yuguda is another typical example. He offered appointments to so many opponents which later changed their political loyalty. In the Jonathan administration, Senator Bala Muhammad was appointed a minister despite his being in the opposition ANPP before he defected to PDP. The list is endless.’
From what we are witnessing in Bauchi, it appears M.A Abubakar is well on track to disappointing mischief makers who intend to take advantage of his tolerance and perseverance. From his body language, he cannot be discouraged from pursuing his anti-corruption program. To abandon that will be tantamount to betraying the electorate who enthusiastically voted for change. It is also important to caution him against pursuing a policy that is driven by vendetta as the body language of some of those surrounding him suggest. Rather than to preoccupy his time with vendetta-inspired anti-corruption drive, the most appropriate starting point from my thinking should be to understand the root cause of the endemic corruption that plague the broad gamut of the state’s social system to the extent that the notion of shame has systematically disappeared from public lexicon.
Thereafter, he can institutionalise the due process that will minimise the proclivity towards corruption. If that is done, all he needs to pilot the state to a successful voyage is a team of tested hands that can deliver positively. But for now, he appears to be calm studying situation before zooming to action with passion. The issue of godfather should not be allowed to play a role as most of those with godfathers are errand boys on the godfather’s mission. That is from experience of the past. Members of the State Executive Council should be appointed purely on merit.
I wish Governor M.A Abubakar every success, guided always by his conviction that his success can only advance the course of Bauchi and the welfare of its citizens. Of course, that includes me and you and the rest who laboured to bring the doctrine of change to reality. But Bauchi state stands to benefit from the stewardship of the new team captain.
By SANUSI MUHAMMAD