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Who succeeds Shekarau?

However, as the Sardauna of Kano concludes his dynamic tenure in 2011, the major question facing the people of Kano State and ANPP supporters is…

However, as the Sardauna of Kano concludes his dynamic tenure in 2011, the major question facing the people of Kano State and ANPP supporters is focused on who will succeed Alhaji Ibrahim Shekarau. He himself has repeatedly said that he doesn’t know who will succeed him, but he acknowledge that he wants a credible successor to built on his legacy. Democracy is about making informed choices and in making of that decision, the electorate has to focus on credibility and performance record of the possible successor.

In fact, as the people of Kano State search for a credible successor to Shekarau, one gentleman who is quietly but remarkably becoming the focus of public interest is Mallam Salisu Sagir Takai. Mallam Sagir, who is currently the Commissioner for Local Government, was previously heading the Ministry of Water Resources during Shekarau’s first term (2003). He twice served as a local government chairman in the past before being appointed into Shekarau’s cabinet.

But why are the people of Kano State focusing attention on this unassuming gentleman? What is so special about him? Why does he stand out from the crowd? What is the significance of the people focusing interest on a particular politician as a credible successor to Shekarau?

Given the level of political sophistication in Kano State, ANPP supporters are capable of making an informed decision on who they want to succeed Governor Ibrahim Shekarau. As a one-time Commissioner of Water Resources, Mallam Salisu Sagir had made such impact that his record continues to resonate repeatedly. It is on record that he supervised and executed one of the largest water projects in Africa. The successful completion of Tamburawa water works along Kano/Zaria road is a shining example of Sagir’s competence.

The 5-billion naira water project is the first ever major effort to tackle water supply challenges in the current democratic order in Nigeria. In fact, the project has made the Shekarau administration to stand out as the shining star of this democracy. The success of every administration depends on the ability of the governor to appoint credible and competent hands as members of his cabinet. In that regard, Mallam Sagir has given a good account of himself, regardless of whatever portfolio was assigned to him by the governor.

Former President Obasanjo was so impressed by the Tamburawa water project that he ordered import waiver on the materials and other equipment needed for the completion of the major water project. General Obasanjo was so overwhelmed by this success story that he advised other state governors to emulate the Kano State government. Sagir’s tenure as commissioner of water resources was so remarkable that Governor Shekarau himself was proud of his performance and his decision to bring the man into his cabinet. With its large population, water is one of the immediate priorities in Kano State and the Shekarau administration has not disappointed in this regard.

Since the completion of the Tamburawa water project, the political profile of Mallam Sagir has risen ever higher. His competence in handling one of the most important ministries has earned him the respect of the people of Kano State. It is not surprising, therefore, if he now becomes the focus of public interest as the people of Kano State debate about who succeeds Shekarau.

Perhaps in appreciation of Sagir’s performance record at the Ministry of Water Resources, Governor Ibrahim Shekarau decided to move him to the Ministry of Local Government Affairs. Predictably, here too, Mallam Sagir has given a good account of himself. Local governments are the major component of our democratic system because they are closest to the grassroots population.

Under the competent leadership of Mallam Sagir, the local government councils in Kano State have a free hand to use their financial allocations according to their priorities. Unlike other states where there are complaints of local government funds being diverted, the Kano State experience is remarkably different. Adequately led, the Ministry of Local Government in Kano State under Sagir doesn’t interfere with the funds meant for local governments. He maintains constructive and cordial relationship with the local governments that he supervises.

Even before his involvement with politics, Mallam Sagir has been a very sociable and kind person, despite his limited resources. He feels for the people from the bottom of his heart. No wonder his former classmates are now openly proud of his record and the increasing public focus on Sagir as a competent successor to Governor Shekarau in 2011 is the further proof that the people of Kano State want a politician who can handle the challenges of the highest office in the State.

In genuine democratic tradition, performance record is the basis for seeking public office and not social or political connection. Governor Shekarau should naturally be interested in who succeeds him. And the input of the people in deciding the selection of candidates is just as important. Performance and not connection or godfather should become the major criterion for nominating candidates for public offices.

 Kofar Mata writes from No. 127, Murtala Mohammed Way,  Kano


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