By Dauda Idrees
I woke up to the rather sad news of Muhammad Sani Dattijo’s withdrawal from the race to Kashim Ibrahim House of Kaduna state and couldn’t help but start chanting supplications as though I’ve lost a loved one. Although, as careful political observation, I’ve seen that coming almost two years ago, the impact of this news on me was unlike anything I’ve ever imagined.
Whatever political calculations that led to this conclusion have not done justice to the youths of Kaduna state, considering the exuberance with which they came all out campaigning for their comrade pro-bono. Many have never met him in person but are up-to-date with all he does through social media platforms.
Being in the forefront of the Kaduna Urban Renewal Development Project from 2015 to date, it’s undeniably agreed that he’s the right candidate that would effectively carry the project to completion, as evidenced by the development plan he presented from the early days of his campaign. But, sadly, the political radar did not point in our favour. I doubt if any other candidate has presented any plans, he has for the state yet.
Governor El-Rufai made it clear in his criteria for selecting the new emir of Zazzau that the emir’s relatively youthful age and his international network gave him an upper hand over other candidates. So naturally, we expected this same criteria to be applied in choosing his successor, but we can see that political office is not the same as a traditional title.
So, while we pray that Dattijo’s political future be bright, we’re also worried that the youthful fury with which he does things now might be dampened by age in years to come when the kingmakers deem him old enough to run for the governor’s office.
One may argue that he started falling out of favour when he called Muhammad Sanusi II, the governor’s close friend, “former emir,” which is valid. However, the truth is that there is still that reluctance to release the mantle of leadership to the youth even in Kaduna, the self-proclaimed youth-friendly state.
Although his name “Dattijo” is a perfect match for the Senate, which Hausawa call “Majalisar Dattawa”, it is sad to hear that Kashim Ibrahim House is losing such treasure to the Red Chambers because he’s not a Dattijo by age. He’s Dattijo by heart. Either way, we thank Allah and pray that he gets to represent not just Kaduna youth but set an example that all young people if given the right opportunity and mentorship, would get things done in a way that the older generation wouldn’t have thought possible.
Dauda Idrees wrote from Kaduna via email@example.com.