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Nasarawa 2019: Admonishing Those Jostling To Succeed Al-Makura



As  we inch closer to the much talked about 2019 elections, the governorship seat in Nasarawa State is drawing more and more aspirants from across all the registered political parties.

As at the last count, no fewer than 30 persons have indicated interest to occupy the coveted seat of governor of Nasarawa State.

This includes both the contenders and the pretenders. While some have come out openly to signal their intention to contest for the plum position, others conceal their intentions for one reason or the other at least for now.

But between now and the next few months, virtually all those that have the intention of contesting for the governorship in Nasarawa State would have no option than to come out to indicate their wish as well as the platforms on which they wish to realize their ambition so as to beat the INEC datelines which stipulates the sequence of activities leading to the general elections in the first quarter of next year.

Majority of those who signify their intention to contest for the

governorship of Nasarawa State today are under the illusion that the office of the governor is undemanding. Most of them see the office as one that requires no skills or experience to undertake it; that explains why today we have a long list of contestants. Today every Jack and Harry wants to become the governor of Nasarawa State. To them what matter most is for them to become governor, the enormity of the responsibilities that goes with the office is immaterial to them.

And one irony of the whole thing is that when you prod those in the pretenders’ category further, what you hear from them is, “What is the big deal about it. Was it not how Al-Makura started— like joke, like joke?”

Recently, I asked one governorship aspirant regarding his state of preparedness, both in terms of mental alertness and availability of funds to execute his campaign. What I got from him was not only laughable but puzzling. I tried to make him realize that the job of the office of the governor is a thorny one, especially in a state like Nasarawa where you have, apart from dozens of competing interests, also the problem of lack of commensurate funds to meet up with the competing demands of infrastructures and services as the state depends largely on funds from the federation accounts, but all my points failed to yield the desired result.

The office of the governor, contrary to how some view it, is not for the feeble minded. It is an office where one must have either the intelligence or wisdom or both for him to not only succeed but also be on the side of history. A governor whose level of intellect and wisdom falls short of minimum requirement   can only get himself twisted around to the detriment of good governance.

Indeed, the notion that Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura came into office unprepared and that he contested for the office like a ‘joke’ is a misconceived one. If anything, we have never had a governor in Nasarawa State who came into office fully prepared for the daunting tasks ahead of him like Governor Al-Makura as right from the day he made up his mind to contest for the governorship of Nasarawa State, he focused his mind on winning the contest which explained why he shunned all entreaties from all quarters urging him to jettison his aspiration of becoming the governor of Nasarawa State.

What I am saying in effect is that Al-Makura, right from the onset, demonstrated both in attitude and in actions that he was a contender and not a pretender and showed himself up as a dogged fighter with an uncontestable moral fiber. He fought for the office with his entire strength both in financial terms and in terms of determination to excel against all odds.

Again, the widely held view that Al-Makura spent little during his electioneering campaign in 2011 is equally untrue. On the contrary, Al-Makura spent lots of money in the execution of his campaign. Those who are privy to how the campaign was carried out  acknowledged that Al-Makura did not become the governor of Nasarawa State on a platter of gold contrary to the widely held view in most quarters.

Al-Makura got to the office of governor after suffering serious but varied deprivations not only in his savings in banks but he also suffered deprivations in form of his freedom and liberty. We are all witnesses  to how Al-Makura, as the then CPC’s governorship candidate was on  February 8, 2011 arrested by the security operatives and detained at the police CID office in Abuja over alleged involvement in heckling of former President Goodluck Jonathan during his campaign visit to Lafia.

One fact that still remains incontrovertible is that Governor Al-Makura did not have it easy on his way to Shendam Road Government House in 2011 contrary to widely held notion.

Aspiring for the office of the governor in any democracy in the world is not a primrose path.

Hence apart from possessing the financial muscle, one has to be determined and remain focused. One must shun anything that is likely to distract him against his set objectives.

But more than anything, a real contender to  the Nasarawa State guber seat must be alert to the perculiarities of the state and have well thought out plans of action to move the state forward.

Of course this must include clearly spelt out plans to boost the internally generated revenue and ultimately optimally harness the bountless natural resource scattered all over the state and waiting to be fully tapped.

Indeed, all those jostling to govern Nasarawa State must remember that ‘nothing good comes easy’ as Bongos Ikwe sang in one of his heat albums in the 80’s.

–Bala writes from Lafia, Nasarawa State



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