By Abu Hibbah Ibrahim
Typical of a penultimate election year, pictures and billboards of aspiring politicians have littered major and minor roads in Kaduna State. People who share in the leadership ideologies or principles of the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, have all started indicating interest to succeed him. Also, people who are at variance with all he stands for have likewise thrown their hats in the ring.
In his quiet moments and as he drives out of Sir Kashim Ibrahim House through the state metropolis, billboards of different politicians erected in strategic locations staring at him, only God knows what runs in El-Rufai’s mind regarding his successor in 2023. It seems William Shakespeare had El-Rufai in mind when he captured in Macbeth that: “There’s no art to find the mind’s construction in the face.”
As El-Rufa’is second tenure nears its end, and after exhibiting a tremendous performance, the next most audacious and bold decision left for him is to anoint a successor, rally his supporters around him and subsequently aid him in attaining victory at the polls. Verily, this singular act will make or mar the sustainability of his hard-earned and stellar achievements. More reasons why el-Rufai should be meticulous.
To understand the importance of having a credible and competent successor, let’s cast back our minds to the second tenure of former president Olusegun Obasanjo. After failing to extend his tenure, the infamous third term, Obasanjo, imposed a sick president on the country. Unfortunately, this singular act almost erased the decent achievements he recorded in his second term.
Interestingly, during his interview with Seun of the Channels Tv last Wednesday, Governor el-Rufai made sketchy explanations on who will likely succeed him. He highlighted that he would want someone from his team with whom they have developed and implemented policies to take on the baton of leadership from him.
Being a youth myself, I have a bias for Muhammad Sani Abdullahi, popularly known as Dattijo, considering his age. Of course, age in itself isn’t a recipe for good governance or positive results, but young age coupled with competence, experience, the ability to form a capacitated team and then lead them to drive reforms and produce results would do magic. And Dattijo exudes these sterling qualities in addition to the advantage conferred on him by age.
Plus, he has exhibited these qualities and delivered outstanding results as the Commissioner of Planning and Budget Commission of Kaduna state and Chief of Staff to the Governor. Under the governor’s tutelage and with his experience as a commissioner, he has been armed with the ability to allocate resources amidst competing demands or interests for the betterment of the state. In addition, he chaired the Infrastructure Council, one of the policy councils initiated by el-Rufai to fast track soft and hard infrastructural developments.
Dattijo is a development practitioner trained in the University of Manchester and a graduate of Economics from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University. With dwindling federal allocations, effects of COVID-19, the possibility of subsidy removal on petrol, and security challenges, economic difficulties will be harder for the state governments. However, I believe his deep knowledge of economics will help him navigate the state through tough financial times. Consequently, he has the mettle to sustain the growth in revenue mobilisation that has characterised el-Rufai’s tenure.
El-Rufai has done remarkably well in revenue mobilisation. This terrific effort has pushed Kaduna above the commercial nerve of Northern Nigeria, Kano State, in terms of internally generated revenue (IGR). Moreover, he has consistently invested in education and health as these two sectors gallop the highest percentage of the state’s budget. And as one Indian writer posited, “nobody bothers about education because results take a long time to come.” But el-Rufai cares. This fantastic idea of investing in critical sectors, especially education and health, needs to be continued.
Temperament and intellect. Ever since Dattijo’s body language signifies an intent to be the governor of Kaduna State, he has been under scrutiny and verbal attacks by some political opponents or sycophants. This is expected in electioneering, though. However, he has demonstrated thoughtful calmness and grace under pressure. He is even-tempered and not given to volatile gestures. These virtues are pertinent in a governor who would want to continue leading the Kaduna state towards greatness by reducing or eliminating ethnic tensions and building bridges.
On a final note, the saying that power corrupts people is a tag sincere seekers of the truth, or any discerning person cannot place on Dattijo’s neck. In all the leadership positions he has been appointed into by his boss, el-Rufai, he has served the people of Kaduna with humility, loyalty and hard work.
I believe Dattijo has the moral compass to build on el-Rufai’s legacies. He is blessed with intellectual rigour and has the courage to make sound, careful and bold decisions that hold generational transformation. Dattijo has officially declared his intention to succeed his boss. Therefore, I beseech Governor el-Rufai to rally other APC aspirants to support him. He is prepared and ready.
Abu Hibbah Ibrahim writes from Kaduna and can be reached via email@example.com