By Abdulrashid Yunus
From all indications, Bauchi State will be the state to watch for “revolution” in the politics of transition climaxing in 2023 with the emergence of a new governor. The incumbent, Kauran Bauchi, Bala Mohammed has his head in the clouds of presidential ambition, repeatedly claiming to have the “nod” of the PDP national caucus and throwing ill-advised controversial brick bats across the Niger, which rebound with costly implications even for his northern home base. Meanwhile, he unwittingly provokes local opposition by blaming emergent challenges to his incumbency on “Abuja politicians,” as if he is not one of them.
Inevitably Governor Bala Mohammed will gamble his gubernatorial pre-eminence in a wild goose chase for the presidential ticket of the PDP thereby enabling the emergence of a level-playing field. A host of aspirants, mostly local champions of Bauchi elective politics with clannish constituencies, will be consumed by mutually-assured destruction fuelled by uncompromising rivalry — a perfect political equation for the successful debut of a dark- horse aspirant!
Latest feedback on Bauchi State 2023 governorship aspiration dynamics reveal fading embers of Governor Bala Mohammed’s freak interest and relics of serially-scrapped bids of Abdul Ahmed Ningi, 2019 PDP gubernatorial candidate, reinforcing strongly expressed confidence in APC being the party to call the 2023 shots at all levels across the state. The most mentioned APC favourites are Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, former Governor, Lawal Yahaya Gumau, Bauchi South Senator, Musa Babayo, former Tertiary Education Trust Fund Chairman, Jika Dauda Halliru, Bauchi Central Senator, Bala Mohammed Jibrin, 2019 APC gubernatorial candidate, Yusuf Tuggar, Ambassador to Germany, Farouk Mustapha, 2019 NNPP Bauchi North senatorial nominee, Abdullahi Babani Tela, a Deputy Comptroller General of Customs, Sadique Abubakar, former Chief of the Air Staff, Abubakar Maikafi, former Bauchi South Senator and Danmadamin Bauchi, Adamu Muhammad Bulkachuwa, Bauchi North Senator and Nura Manu Soro, former Commissioner of Finance.
The crowded line-up of APC prospective governorship aspirants is additional testimony to the popularity of the party on account of its astounding take-over of the commanding heights of democratic edifice from an entrenched PDP coupled with the unprecedented change agenda personified and powered by President Muhammadu Buhari. However, in the context of a consolidated quest for the governorship ticket of Bauchi State, quantity queries quality and might even be counterproductive to the presumed guaranteed success of the party. Similarly, the crowd of aspirants denotes a mad rush, not a calculated competition, among them. This is what raised the issue of clannish constituencies and uncompromising rivalry as a self-inflicted setback on the prospects of the uncompromising aspirants.
But the clincher lies in the shared background of recycled ambitions and expired relevance of the aspirants, most of whom flaunt mere ambition for governorship without cognate capacity as the anchor of their political careers. Such professional politicians abound in Nigeria not just in Bauchi State and they bear responsibility for the leadership failure that is identified as the crippling cog in the nation’s democracy and development. Nostalgic reminiscences of the Abubakar Tatari Ali era and a couple of military administrations are triggered by panoramic glances across Bauchi State as a depressing inventory of the cumulative stagnation attributable to the plague of professional politicians.
If there can be a good side to a bad situation it can only be that the masses of Bauchi State have learnt by sheer adversity how to differentiate between performers and politicians. They even have the audacity to shake-off those who betray them and the guts to vote–in political anathema just to prove the point as they did in 2019. Such stunning political sophistication is precisely what the Bauchi electorate is expected to deploy in filtering the crowd of 2023 aspirants even as experience will teach them best who not to trust in the crowd of aspirants.
The Bauchi electorate will fortunately have no cause to exert themselves in sorting out the most eligible and most deserving of their mandate to govern the state from 2023 because all but one of the prospective aspirants has been recycled severally. Only one of the aspirants comes with a genuinely new breed proven proficiency in terms of national leadership capacity outside the circle of professional politicians lured by their insatiable appetite for positions of power and privilege.
Only one of them has a proven capacity to provide leadership in challenging times with convincing outcomes. All but one will be coming from a unique background to present an amicable rallying point for all political elements seeking a clean break from the past in Bauchi State. This will also diffuse political tension associated with electioneering and engender compromise for consolidating party membership and towards a more decisive election victory while paving the way for emergence of an all-inclusive government focused on delivering good governance.
Such an enabling configuration for fixing the political quagmire and economic stagnation hampering Bauchi State’s development is what the fortuitous availability and suitability of recently retired Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar signifies, even without delving into the details of his meritorious service in the defense of the nation. He certainly stands out as second to none in the crowd of governorship aspirants in Bauchi State and his non-partisan antecedents aptly qualify him to gain the endorsement of the “professionals” without any of them losing face. It is obvious that none of the aspirants has a leadership pedigree or experience comparable to the office of the Chief of Air Staff, so if the progress and development of Bauchi State is uppermost in their minds, they should rally round his candidature rather than contest it.
Scanning through Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar’s highly rated military career records provides outstanding testimony to his impressive performance in various postings and command appointments in the Nigerian Airforce, culminating at the peak. What is however more remarkable is the Air Marshal’s leadership acumen and capacity for efficient management of men and resources under his watch, an asset for delivering good governance in civil dispensation. Among the laurels he earned in service were 1997 – Best Officer of the Year, Tactical Air Command, 2009 – Awarded the Chief of Air Staff’s Letter of Commendation for good leadership and prudent management of resources by Air Marshal OO Petinrin, 2011 – Awarded the Chief of Air Staff’s Letter of Commendation for good leadership and prudent management of resources by Air Marshal MD Umar, 2013 – Awarded the Chief of Air Staff Special Award by Air Chief Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh, 2010 ,External Examiner, National Defence College and 2012 – 2014, Chairman, Participants Project Defence Panel. These outstanding awards were functional off-shoots of his academic attainments which include a Diploma in Public Administration, a Bachelor of Science degree (second class upper division) in Political Science and a Master of Science Degree in Strategic Studies.
It is hardly surprising that Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar regularly exhibits deep insight on issues pertaining to best practices in the prudent management of human and material resources in the interest of good governance. Hear him : “ No organisation or society has what it wants at all times, what is important for you is to recognize the importance of what you have, the limitation and try to make the best out of the resources you have available and that has to do with professionalism. A professional (force) will draw up a capacity building programme that will give people what they require in order to be effective in discharging their responsibilities. It will respect the rights of the citizens whether in counter-insurgency operations or wherever they find themselves. A professional force will ensure that whatever is done, is done efficiently and effectively,” at a meeting of senior military officers in Abuja.
If the people of Bauchi State remain consistent in giving their collective interest unconditional priority even above partisan political sentiments and blind allegiance to godfathers as they demonstrated in 2019, they will single out Air Marshal Sidique Abubakar from the crowd of recycled aspirants and ask WHY NOT? It’s the million naira question for those who really want Bauchi State to break the political shackles of personality cults and petty sentiments and move forward into new era of politics of progress and development piloted by precision, strategy and patriotic leadership.
ABDULRASHID YUNUS wrote from Bauchi