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Can Shekarau dust Buhari, IBB, others in the prime race?

Shekarau’s colorful outing on that day did not help matters in sparking off a huge national debate around his aspiration. It is remarkable that Nigerians…

Shekarau’s colorful outing on that day did not help matters in sparking off a huge national debate around his aspiration. It is remarkable that Nigerians were watching and listening and were excited at the development. Many of those that attended the function went home reflecting on the profound statements of his day, especially those regarding the state of the nation.

Besides, they saw, first hand, his much talked about simplicity and his ease to life, but they equally felt the urgency and momentum of his pace to end the pains and agonies of our collective destiny as a nation, since independence.  They saw a simple teacher who was a son of a police man. They saw an ordinary folk who is well at home with the challenges of millions of ordinary Nigerians.

Shekarau is not afraid to confront the tragic challenges of our story as a nation.  In his words: “the challenges facing us are not insurmountable. …We must use the 2011 elections to elect someone who understands how we feel, and is offering himself to change things for the better.”

However, there are a few critics worry without deep reflections, about his chances and think in the negatives. Sadly, some think that to be a former Head of State is all it takes and others measure political worthiness on the basis the number of previously failed shots at the presidency. But all these are slogan s of empty calculations. I insist that several factors actually stand out Shekarau’s face as a picture of the Nigerian dream.

Like Chief Olu Falae stated, Shekarau remains a breath of fresh air in the polluted Nigerian political sphere due to his principles on matter of national consideration. Don’t forget, Professor Wole Soyinka, last year, described Shekarau as “the last man standing”, giving credit to the same principles Falae had applauded.

All these Nigerians cannot be faulty in their judgment. Their opinion clearly points to the marketability and creditability of the Shekarau brand beyond classes, tribes, regions and religions. Let it also be echoed that the structure of politics in the North hugely favors Shekarau. He is coming from a zone that rightly demands and duly deserves to return to the presidency, given regard to the fact that the former president, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’adua hailed from there.

Shekarau is the toss of the traditional institution in the North, in the way that General Buhari is not and an IBB can definitely not claim to be. Besides, he is one of their scions, being the Sardunan Kano. In him, most of the traditional rulers see the same humility that dignifies leadership. Also, he belongs to the Forum of Governors and as we know, this Forum often comes to the table pushing for their own. Even the members of other political parties are willing to work with him. The PDP sought but failed to win him over to their side a few years back, and the CNPP, a congress of progressive parties, led by Chief Maxi Okwu, has since adopted him as their choice.

Indeed, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau does not come across with any known liability in the way these other candidates do. North, East or West of Nigeria, he is at home and true to type, he is a Nigerian dream.   

Hilary Alechenu writes from Brigade Quarters in Kano State.

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