2019 and PDP’s consensus choice

Now that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has decided to deal with the unwieldy number of its presidential aspirants by picking a consensus candidate from their rank, it is pertinent to point out some issues the party can only ignore at its peril.
In doing that, it is necessary to remind all Nigerians of goodwill – not just members of the PDP – that what is at stake is the federation called Nigeria.
The major issues at stake are national unity, economic transformation and national security.
Sadly, the large number of people asking for PDP’s one flag for the presidency is alarming to many.
It therefore behoves on the party, now that it has settled for consensus, to make its task easier by answering this question: who, among the multitude of suitors, is best suited to provide realistic solutions to the myriad of problems facing the Nigerian nation? The first issue for consideration is: who can resolve the hydraheaded problem of disunity and make Nigerians of all shades and colors see themselves first as Nigerians before their tribe or religion? To answer this question, the PDP needs to find out whether in the rank of its presidential suitors there is any who has governed a state that is a true reflection of the diversity of Nigeria.
If in the previous or current positions you have held, you were able to successfully navigate diversities, then you have what it takes to get Nigeria out of the woods and unite its people.
And since it is necessary to have real handson experiences of dealing with such, it is imperative that the person must as much as possible be a leader when the nation was pushed into this quagmire.
Even at the risk of appearing to take sides, it is clear that the only person possessing this major quality is Gombe’s incumbent Governor Dr. Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo.
The state he governs is a true reflection of the diverse nature of the country.
Yet, in seven years as governor, he has been able to weld together the fractious components that make up the heterogeneous state.
The next question is the economy.
Nigerians are suffering unprecedentedly.
Jobs are being lost.
Basic necessities of life are more and more beyond the reach of the average Nigerian.
Is there, among the large number of aspirants, someone who has discipline in economy and can prove managing scarce resources to achieve big objectives? The answer to this is also not far-fetched.
It is still Dankwambo.
He is the most educated of the lot.
He read accounting and economics.
And he is able to achieve unprecedented records of achievements in Gombe, applying very scarce resources.
His political enemies will make all the noise to distract or destroy him.
But no one living in Gombe could venture out of his home without walking or driving on a road or some other infrastructure provided by Dankwambo.
It cuts across all sectors of development.
The Gombe governor could easily attract the much-needed foreign direct investment because he belongs to a myriad of globally-respected professional bodies that are rooted in accounting and economy.
That explains why his tenure as Accountant-General of the Nigerian federation was rated the most successful ever.
So much is the love that he has for his people that Dankwambo left his comfort zone and risked it all by bargaining to be Gombe governor, a position he won twice, and which now gave him the experience to eradicate the problems bedeviling the Nigerian nation.
Then the next question: security.
Nigerians need to ask: what is it that Dankwambo did that made Gombe unattractive to Boko Haram, which has ravaged most of the northeastern plank of the country? Ibrahim Dankwambo went beyond that.
He also tackled the Kallare thugs that were killing people at will, in the state.
The social re-orientation policies he enrolled ensured that many of these thugs have since thrown away the dangerous weapons with which they were making life a hell for many.
A lot of them are now direct beneficiaries of Dankwambo’s noble policies in vocational education that seek to prepare students for a future of self-reliance.
And if you are talking about consensus, you need to find the one person who is a true friend to all; someone that respects even his subordinates, while remaining firm in matters of principle; someone who is not controversial.
Nigerians will remember that before the advent of Dankwambo as governor, a serving Vice President of the time, Atiku Abubakar, was stopped from attending a rally in Gombe.
But when Dankwambo became governor, the same man was accorded all the protocol and respect befitting his position, even as former VP.
Dankwambo is about the only aspirant who does not attack his opponents.
He firmly believes that he who must destroy another to succeed, shall await destruction at the post of his success.
No democracy can thrive without opposition.
Dankwambo has the distinctive record of being one of few governors who allow unfettered opposition in the state he governs.
We all know that a serving APC governor has audaciously made it impossible for his opponent to venture into the state he once governed.
With the way opposition politicians are being hounded left right and centre by the federal government, Nigeria needs a leader who has a record of tolerance, and who will not use the anti-corruption or security agencies to unjustly get at his political opponents.
Giving Dankwambo the PDP presidential ticket will also greatly please the multitudes who feel it will be unfair to give it to a returner member of the party, who played a key part in its destruction as recently as four years ago.
Is Dankwambo perfect? Or to put it another way, does he have any baggage? Of course, we all have.
He cannot be perfect, just as no one is.
But you can hardly fault him at his work.
He is one leader who has severally sacrificed his yesterday to ensure our today.
With Dankwambo as President, Nigeria can be assured that it has a leader who will be in charge; who will not allow any cabal to hijack governance at the expense of the people by holding him hostage.
Bilkisu writes from Abuja

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