Nigeria today is a country desperately in search of right leadership in all spheres of her national life. The administration of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from 1999 to 2015, at the federal level and in many of the states, ended in colossal failure. The PDP, which had boasted of ruling Nigeria for 60 years, caved in 44 years earlier than its projection.
While key members of the ruling elite became billionaires, and were living like medieval lords, the Nigerian people were impoverished to no end. Most families could no longer guarantee three square meals; life became “nasty, brutish and short.”
It was in the midst of this uncertainty and near hopelessness that the elections of 2015 produced the Change Mantra exponent, President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Granted that the APC government inexplicably inherited loads of problems from its predatory predecessor, the seemingly display of lack of preparation for governance has continued to be a feature of the administration.
For sure, the APC government cannot be said to be a total failure in many respects like development of infrastructure, war against corruption, tackling the insurgency problem among others. Also, it could be said that the level of impunity as we used to know has considerably reduced, while Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government have shown better restraint in their nefarious activities of old.
However, the APC government has been flawed in many ways. The conduct and character of the National Assembly strangely known to be controlled by the same party, the APC, has not helped matters. Importantly, the APC as a party in government lacked cohesion, even in the absence of a virile opposition. Many reasons had been adduced for the internal combustion going on in the APC. But the sad import of it all is that the Nigerian voting populace has been shortchanged on their hard-earned investment of voting for change which has remained elusive in the last three years.
Hence, there is need for another change. And, one of the men naturally positioned for this change is the cerebral two-term former Governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwanso.
Kwankwaso, a man imbued with tremendous leadership qualities, is a tested politician who can also be trusted. He is a detribalised Nigerian and a well-grounded grassroots mobilizer, whose central focus was and is still the people. Across his political trajectory, he displayed a caring heart filled with compassion and passion of service touching the lives of citizens profoundly.
In his political evolution, he discovered early the nexus between trust and loyalty as a balancing act among leaders and their followership. He was able to leverage a unique model of community leadership, a compelling ability to inspire, organise and mobilize people to achieve greater success for the benefit of all.
For Kwankwanso, trust must be visible and transparent for a corresponding participation and support from the people to achieve a desirable impact. This principle formed the basis of his Kwankwasiyya ideology “premised on gaining and honouring the trust bestowed on leadership by the people to deliver visible and impact full succour to the less privileged in the society, irrespective of political, religious and ethnic leanings.”
Politics meant different things to many people. Kwankwanso is very clear in his thought process. To him, “Politics is a formidable vehicle for delivering the much-needed empowerment and relief to the teeming mass of the less privileged and the completely helpless and forgotten in the society.”
While many are given to sycophancy and lip service, Kwankwanso took the bull by the horn, believing that politics should not be left in the hands of the charlatans. He resigned from a prospective career in the civil service in 1992 after a meritorious 17 years stint as a water engineer. That was the beginning of his meteoric rise to stardom in his home state, Kano, and nationally.
Kwankwanso has as his selling point the uncanny ability to unite people of different backgrounds and beliefs, work for sustainable peace and diligently mobilize resources to achieve optimum goal. It is an attestation to his unique leadership traits that in the shortlived Third Republic; he was elected on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) into the House of Representatives, representing Madobi Federal Constituency, Kano State. He later emerged as the Deputy Speaker, an affirmation of his political sagacity.
In 1994, he was again elected member, Constitutional Conference, where he worked with the late Gen. Musa Yar’Adua, a romance that culminated to the formation of People Democratic Movement (PDM). Due to the politics of that era, the PDM was not registered as a political party. This made him and his teeming supporters to join the Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN), winning the largest number of local governments.
Kwankwanso had no difficulty in clinching the PDP’s gubernatorial primary election and won the 1999 election to become the Governor of Kano State. His achievements in office are legendary.
In 2003, he sacrificed his re-election bid because of his loyalty to President Olusegun Obasanjo and the PDP, at a time when anti-party activities got to a point that some PDP governors were playing double game. This rare display of loyalty, party discipline and political maturity earned him appointment as Minister of Defence. Later in 2006, he was appointed Special Adviser on Darfur and Somalia to President Obasanjo. He was also a former Board Member, NDDC representing the North-West geo-political zone. He voluntarily resigned due to the endemic corruption in the corporation.
Again in 2011, Kwankwanso was on song, as his election victory for the second time as Kano State Governor was historic and unprecedented. He won the election without holding any political appointment or support from the Federal Government. He reaped bountifully from his rich investment of transparency and strength of character in pursuing social contract with his people, a project of 18 unbroken years.
A trustworthy man, full of integrity, Kwankwanso is ready, willing and able to take Nigeria out of the woods.
“Look for three things in a person – intelligence, energy and integrity. If they don’t have the last one, don’t even bother with the first two,” says W. Buffet.
Good enough, Kwankwanso personifies W. Buffet’s entire principles of leadership. The icing on the cake for Kwankwanso is that he has a good quantum of integrity the office of the president requires for optimum performance to unleash Nigeria’s inherent greatness to humanity.
•Oluwadamilare, an Ibadan-based journalist, is a public affairs commentator.