The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kaduna State, Hon Isa Ashiru Kudan, has not been campaigning for the upcoming elections despite emerging as the Kaduna State governorship candidate of the PDP at the May 25, 2022 primary election. His campaign has literally failed to fly, while the distinguished Senator Uba Sani of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had hit the ground running.
The PDP flag bearer, with his “hide and seek” strategy has somehow confirmed the insinuations, even within PDP circles, that he is ill-prepared and may have been afflicted with self-doubt; that is where his recent appearance on Arise Television comes in handy. In fact, the people of Kaduna State are jubilant that the Arise crew grilled the PDP candidate beyond his capacity. During the interview, he showed inability to comprehend what the actual issues in the governance of a state like Kaduna are. Only God knows how Arise Television was able to pin him down, considering that for several months, he had been avoiding live interviews.
From his interview, many Kaduna voters came to the conclusion that the PDP candidate may just only be interested in updating his curriculum vitae as he clearly demonstrated the inability to match answers to the critical questions. Indeed, after watching the interview, many discerning voters in the state quite correctly, concluded that it would be an unpardonable error of judgment to elect him governor under any guise. That it would be a tragic error of a monumental proportion to elect him, as successor to Nasir El-Rufai who is bowing out after a sterling performance.
Asked in the interview why he wanted to become governor of Kaduna State, Ashiru said: “I feel I have something to offer. As a citizen of Kaduna State, things are not really well with us here. And I feel I have something to offer, taking into consideration the fact that I have been in the system for more than 30 years. So, for me, I feel I have something to offer as far as I am concerned.”
According to the above submission, one can isolate three principal forces that are driving the perennial ambition of Isa Ashiru Kudan to govern Kaduna State. Building his aspiration on a “feeling that he has got something to offer, and the fact that he has been in the system for 30 years or more, and finally, the fact that things are not really well with our dear state”, are clearly alarming. And because he is not a serious candidate, he couldn’t disclose what he has accomplished in the last 30 years, including his eight years at the National Assembly where he was the deputy chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee.
The most important propelling force for the PDP candidate, as he repeatedly said on TV, was the “feeling” that he had something to offer, a feeling that is not shared by many citizens of the state and his party members, who have continued to decamp in their thousands to the APC. Beyond his “feeling”, he was not convincing in his argument as to why he wants to be governor.
His lack of conviction on why he wants to be the governor, and his outdated position on most issues, clearly left his interviewers perplexed. For example, Ashiru represented the good people of Kudan/Makarfi Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, from 2007 to 2015. In all of those eight years, he offered absolutely no opinion on the floor of the lower house of parliament. He neither sponsored a bill, nor moved a motion; nor did he contribute meaningfully to the bills or motions raised by his colleagues. His constituents who yearned for good representation were clearly disappointed.
So, it is difficult to see what exactly he has to offer beyond his feeling. Leadership is beyond feeling. Feeling is emotional; leadership is thorough and full of insights, tact and strong-willed decisions. A leader who banks on his feelings will derail society and lead the people astray. Investors do not throng to one‘s state because he has a feeling that he can govern. No, they come because they see the leadership and progressive programmes that they can relate with. Many Kaduna people argue that the PDP failed in its leadership recruitment process to have gone for someone whose only qualification is his feeling that he can lead.
Another supporting evidence that Ashiru‘s governorship ambition is forlorn is his response during the interview under review. He was insistent that being in the system for more than 30 years is enough qualification for the job. Yes, Ashiru has been in the system for the last 30 years, but the missing link is, what exactly did he do? How has he impacted on the system in any positive sense to justify a bragging right or give him a sense of entitlement to a higher assignment? As a matter of fact, Ashiru has been in the system for many decades but hasn’t been able to leave his footprints in the sands of time. And in spite of his many years in the system, he is not prepared in any way for the enormous challenges of the job.
The third reason Isa Ashiru wants to be governor is because “things are not really well with Kaduna State.“ We cannot mince words here. The country is plagued by insecurity, of which Kaduna State squarely falls within the epicenter. The traditional cleavages of religion and ethnicity are vital factors in the insecurity matrix. Competition for access to land and water also ignites clashes between crop farmers and herdsmen. Then, there is the inordinate struggle for political power coupled with criminality by terrorists. All of these vices have unfortunately combined to unleash regrettable loss of lives and property in different parts of Kaduna State.
While this crisis is not peculiar to Kaduna State, the government has taken steps to address the farmers/herders crisis by setting up the Damau Household Farm in Kubau local government area. The milk farm located in the Damau Forest Reserve is a bold plan to centralise the activities of nomadic herdsmen, thus addressing the farmers/herders conflict which has been a constant trigger for communal clashes. This effort is unfortunately unknown to Ashiru because it is not a solution stock in the past that he is so used to.
The Damau Household Milk Farm, a joint venture project between Kaduna State Government, the Danish dairy giants, Arla, and Miyyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, is a win-win due to its several advantages: it holds the promise of jobs creation, thus promoting economic development; swift resolution of the security problems by concretely demonstrating ranching as a viable alternative to the itinerant method of rearing of cattle/ sheep and hopefully expand the national capacity to produce high quality milk, the creation of extension a profitable value chain in the business of cattle rearing and reduction in import of milk.
Governor El-Rufai was also in the forefront in offering the federal government workable ideas to address the security challenges. For instance, he led the campaign to designate them as terrorists to enable the armed forces The impression most people got from listening to Ashiru is that of someone unknowledgeable in understanding the troubling security situation in the state he wants to govern and indeed the entire region. It is not surprising therefore that he has no coherent perspective on how to make a positive change.
It is not only on security matters that Ashiru displayed his lack of depth; it was virtually in every sector. He failed to convey any useful understanding of the other components of his five-point agenda.
The people have lack of capacity for the daunting office of the executive governor of a state as strategic as Kaduna, and have made up their minds on the candidate worthy of their vote.
–Ogbuagu writes from Kaduna