During the 2011 Annual General Meeting of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu of Niger State gave a thought-provoking speech that was supposed to be of great concern to every son and daughter of the northern part of the country.
“When we talk about the North today, what are we talking about? Do we still have the ‘North’ that reflects a trans-ethnic community that transcends tribal, religious and class affiliations? Where do we stand today in the political equation of the country? Are we prepared and ready to compete with other regions?” Aliyu asked.
The answer to the above questions is, no. The North as it stand today is not yet prepared to compete with other regions. This is quite unfortunate!
While other regions, most especially the South-West are busy show-casing the achievements of their emerging leaders like Governor Fashola of Lagos State and others, the North is busy plotting how to pull down its own emerging leaders, all in the name of politics. The success of the South-West politics is that people focus more on individual personality and achievements, and less on political party politics.
If the truth must be told, in the tortuous and murky waters of Nigerian politics, Governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema of Katsina State is a rare breed.
It is no longer news that some desperate individuals, in recent times, have embarked on campaign of calumny against this amiable governor. He is a man with refined approach to politics. He once remarked that his expectation is that one day, “politicians in Nigeria will close ranks and work for our nation and its people after every election.”
In the current political dispensation, Governor Shema has performed creditably. Unfortunately, his achievements may not be seen, simply because the region where the governor hails from is always ready to sacrifice its best hands on the altar of petty politics.
It is on record that since May 2007, when Shema was sworn in as governor of Katsina State, he has taken bold steps in the provision of infrastructure, free education at all levels, enhanced health care services, agricultural development, youth empowerment and general wellbeing of the people. All these he has achieved out of service to humanity.
In addition to other successful projects, within seven years of his administration, 189 additional secondary schools were established. He also has 34 girls’ primary schools, 70 ALLO model schools for the almajiri, not less than 50 new roads totalling about 3, 000km to his credit. Also, 1, 772 houses were built, 98 new buses were purchased for the Katsina State Transport Authority, with insurance for passengers.
Governor Shema has transformed Katsina State beyond imagination with many developmental projects. It is on record that he completed all the inherited projects from his predecessor before embarking on new ones.
His leadership style is based on accountability, transparency, honesty, the fear of God and high sense of responsibility.
It is to his credit that despite his numerous achievements, the Katsina State governor has never uttered any abusive or foul language against his critics and opponents, even in the face of unwarranted provocation.
As the political atmosphere in the country is charged ahead of the 2015 general elections due to the activities of desperate politicians, Shema has been playing the politics of ideology with high sense of patriotism. This is simply because of his disposition and high sense of responsibility.
Sources close to him revealed that his major strength lies in the fact that his opponents always take him for granted because of his gentle posture. Shema is not the talking type. When others are busy making noise, he is busy strategising. That is why his opponents always find it difficult to withstand him. He has mastered the art and science of modern politics. He is gradually becoming a model in Nigerian politics without attracting undue attention to himself.
It is only in Katsina State that one can find a governor that is an ardent believer in and an apostle of the rule of law. Governor Shema has the power, just like his other colleagues, to embark on jungle justice against his critics, but he has refused to do so because that trait is not in his character.
It is worrisome that some politicians, out of desperation and inferiority complex, are beclouded with petty politics, to the extent that they do not see anything good in others.
When President Goodluck Jonathan announced the establishment of new federal universities, the governor, through his selfless service to the people, ensured that Katsina State was included among the first set of states that benefitted from that laudable gesture.
Those who know Governor Shema very well said his style of politics is not that of intimidation or coercion, but of conviction. That is why he is always ahead of his opponents and critics in Katsina State politics.
Within the last seven years he held sway as governor, he has endeared himself to the people of Katsina. The people now know the true meaning of dividends of democracy. If other governors, especially those from the North can toe the same path as the present governor of Katsina State, the region, and indeed the country in general, will be a better place for citizens.
The author wrote from Nagogo Road, Katsina.