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Politics of desperation in Kebbi

It is a tragic irony that the unified political estate inherited by Governor Dakingari has today become the source of unrest and bloodletting once again.…

It is a tragic irony that the unified political estate inherited by Governor Dakingari has today become the source of unrest and bloodletting once again. The people of the state who had begun enjoying the dividends of peace and unity under one majority party could not have been expecting to reap anything but development and prosperity when Dakingari took over because of the well-known long-standing relationship that facilitated his emergence as Aliero’s successor. His choice was believed to have been motivated by a desire to ensure not just a smooth transition but also continuity with the remarkable trend of positive transformation of Kebbi State witnessed during eight years of Aliero’s administration.

In trying to decipher the cause of the unexpected turn of events there is general consensus that the common people of Kebbi State have no hand in it because they have always looked onto their elites, both religious and political, for good leadership. During the Aliero years, the people witnessed development in several sectors which touched their lives positively and this is not something that political propaganda conjured but the result of leadership focused on the interest of the people. They also witnessed the active resolution of political acrimony through unifying strategies that harmonized their aspirations. As earlier stated, there was also a conscious effort to manage the inevitable transition to a new administration by selecting a successor least expected to reverse the gains recorded.

The people are left to conclude that Governor Dakingari’s attitude to the burden placed on him is responsible for the political derangement. Considering the precedents that saw to his emergence as governor, Dakingari could have been much more mature and circumspect in trying to make his own mark. It is reasoned that Dakingari’s lack of political exposure and experience prior to assuming such an exalted position ought to have restrained him from an aggressive and confrontational challenge of the undeniable sponsors of his ascension to power. But for the well established power structures and followership acquired by Aliero, Dakingari himself knows that he could not have been in the race for governorship let alone emerging victorious. It was Aliero that paid for the legal battle that Dakingari’s election faced. Even now, despite all his huffing and puffing, the undeniable truth is that he is merely exploiting the leverage of incumbency and its attendant unlimited access to state resources to prop up his belligerent and bellicose stance. This leaves him with a heavy moral deficit and a huge credibility crisis in the eyes of the common people who still see him as he was rather than as he wants to be seen.

Expectedly, his tactics so far show that he is still quite juvenile in politics. Arm-twisting and bulldozing his way through has been his mainstay as can be deduced from his attempts to subdue elected local government chairmen and resorting to appointing sole administrators when the judiciary checked his exuberance. District and village heads have not been spared in his vaulting ambition to be the only man standing in Kebbi politics and recently he has forced a state agency to demolish billboards it had duly processed and approved to spite a sitting senator who is not with him. Influential politicians such as Sani Hukuma have all been needlessly hounded and victimized for not joining the two-term bandwagon and now he has added formidable stakeholders like Abubakar Malam and Maieka to the growing ranks of his opponents. Contractors and civil servants who have anything to do with Senator Aliero are frustrated in seeking legitimate payments and emoluments while Aliero himself has been denied his pension to cap the series of insubordinations from Dakingari who once denied receiving hand-over notes and manipulated the state legislature to dock Aliero.

While all this is going on Dakingari has squandered an opportunity to make a better mark for himself in terms of tangible development comparable to what Aliero achieved in his first term as governor. The approach of 2011 leaves him with little time to make amends and he has been pushed by desperation to run after Aliero wherever he goes in Kebbi State in a bid to upstage him. The difference is that whereas Aliero is accompanied by an impressive entourage of prominent politicians and community leaders, Dakingari is heralded by convoys of government vehicles and bands of “two-time” teenagers herded around by his lackeys. Inevitably, violence becomes the only way to make an “impact” with a rented retinue as witnessed in Zuru.

Meanwhile, 2011 relentlessly draws nearer by the day. The handwriting is bold and unambiguous for all to read. It will be a contest of credibility, morality and political prowess in terms of loyalty and followership. The bottom line is that the people still hold the ace and nothing suggests that they have all been taken in by government patronage or persecution.

Atiku wrote from 23b, Maiduguri Road, Birnin Kebbi GRA

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