Kwankwaso and APC’s search for sure bait

The flagging off of political activities earlier this month by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has sparked a whirlwind of campaign activities and widened the horizon for consultation and formation of common fronts.
The target, at least in the camp of the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC and other progressive Nigerians, is to see who the mega opposition party can present as its candidate with the potency of coasting to victory. It is this search, more than anything else, that is generating keen interest as Nigerians wait with bated breath. The question is who APC will pitch against President Goodluck Jonathan – who is already anointed by his party to fly its flag once again.  To an extent, the question is not who because the APC is not in short supply of aspirants positioning themselves to pick the presidential ticket; the bigger question, therefore, is who can take the party to victory.

It is in this light that one is bound to examine all the giants of men that have so far indicated interest in the APC’s prized ticket. As a form of rehearsal, the aspirants are retired General Muhammadu Buhari, who has contested the presidency three times in the past; former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, another veteran aspirant who has been in the race since 2003 and a greenhorn politician, Leadership newspaper’s Sam Nda-Isaiah. The fourth aspirant is Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, the outgoing governor of Kano State who, in addition to having ruled the most populous state for the constitutional limit of eight years, had been Nigeria’s Minister of Defence.
In identifying the right person for the APC for the February general election, a number of critical issues have to be factored in, just as credentials and public standing of the aspirants have to be thoroughly examined to sieve grains from the chaff. For the APC, therefore, the challenge is picking the best out of an array of qualified contestants. The best, in this case, is not to be measured by one’s wealth or his gray hair but by one’s prospect of galvanizing support across the divide and one’s unblemished track record.
Any passing scrutiny of the profile and career trajectory of Kwankwaso would appeal to anyone whose watch-word is getting the right person to govern Nigeria at this crossroad period. Kwankwaso fits into the cast of a person needed at this time and conveniently fulfills requirements of a leader that Nigerians would be satisfied to have as their president.
Firstly, the man is adequately experienced having held various public sector posts from his days as a civil servant to political positions. He has been in politics long enough to have garnered enough political clout, sagacity and network. Thirdly, the man has demonstrated he is a responsible and responsive public servant who is always driven by the desire to uplift his people. I explain.
In terms of profile and experience, it goes without saying that Kwankwaso is the most versatile of them all. He was variously a civil servant, a legislator, a state governor, a minister, a diplomat and a bureaucrat. Kwankwaso worked as at the Water Resources and Construction Agency, WRECA in Kano State; he was also a legislator who served as Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Governor of Kano State, Minister of Defence, Presidential Special Envoy to Dafur (Sudan) and member of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. This marvelous CV is not only unbeatable amongst those aspiring for presidency under the APC but it is not obtainable among all Nigerians presently seeking for the top job.
A man of many parts, he knows all the problems in the civil service and knows the antics of its officials in throwing spanners into the wheel of governance. He is also knowledgeable about legislative business so as to avoid unnecessary rancor between the executive and the legislature. As someone who was a state governor, Kwankwaso knows the nitty-gritty of governance at the state level and so can engender a harmonious and complementary relationship between the centre and the units. His short stint at the diplomatic front would also give him an above average understanding of global diplomacy to be able to project Nigeria’s image abroad and defend its interests.
As a politician, Kwankwaso has been there since 1991, taking its heat and cool breeze. Having started on a good standing, as a principal officer of the National Assembly, Kwankwaso made friends with a number of fellow parliamentarians and several political heavyweights from across the length and breadth of this nation. As APC’s presidential candidate, the party would leverage on Kwankwaso’s vast friendship in attaining the needed support that could translate to the needed votes in the general elections. With Kwankwaso as APC’s flagbearer there is also a strong possibility of having yet another exodus of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, chieftains into the fold of the opposition APC; – with this, there is no doubt that the party would just need a little push to gain victory.
Lastly, and very importantly for Nigeria and Nigerians at this time, Kwankwaso is an ingenious performer who has performed creditably well in all assignments he has handled.
The magic he has performed in Kano, using only the statutory allocations and internally generated revenue, is a subject for academic inquiry. In his first tenure as governor (1999 – 2003) Kwankwaso laid strong bedrock for solid socio-economic developments. He significantly increased school enrolment by coming up with policies that would entice parents and the pupils.
He established a state university of technology to meet up with educational and manpower demands of the people and the government. With his second coming in 2011, Kwankwaso has not only upped the stakes in what it means to be a governor, he has placed himself as a reference point for serving and would-be governors, not only in Kano but anywhere in the country.
As a closing tribute, it should also be said that Kwankwaso does not have any excess baggage that opponents could use against him. He cannot be charged of any fundamental character flaw.
This untainted record is another big plus for the APC should Kwankwaso be chosen to fly the party’s flag. It is one thing to have a good record, it is another to be free of a negative baggage. Kwankwaso has combined the two rare attributes – gleaming record of unbeatable service and absence of a character flaw  attributable to him. He is therefore the safest and most enticing bait for the opposition.
Akinjide Thomas a political analyst, wrote from Akure, Ondo State



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