In the build up to the 2023 general elections and the lifting of the embargo on campaigns by political parties by the nation’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the political atmosphere is steaming up across the country.
Exploiting the opportunity, it’s interesting as political gladiators have been trying to situate themselves at vantage positions against their perceived opponents ahead of the polls. This time around, given the insistence of INEC to use the Bimoday Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the electronic transmission of results, having successfully used them in the recent off cycle elections in Ekiti and Osun states. The technological devices are expected to bring sanity into the electoral system and rekindle the hope of the electorate that their votes will count.
In fact, the era of ballot box snatching, distortion of manually inputted election results would be over and politicians who continuously rely on the manipulations of results to rob people of their mandates would go on compulsory retirement after the 2023 general elections.
The positive impact of the amended Electoral Act 2022 has manifested in some states where a lot of aspirants and candidates have lost their bids to contest in the upcoming elections due to some established irregularities and deliberate aberration of the electoral laws during their party’s primary elections.
The case of Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Bashir Machina both from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is quite instructive. Lawal’s botched attempt to contest the Yobe North senatorial election, as ruled by the Court of Appeal and affirmed by the Supreme Court, is one of many where justice, equity, and fairness prevailed as treasured in the electoral provision.
It’s no longer business as usual where the power that be takes advantage to manipulate the process in favour of certain individuals regardless of whose ox is gored, including that of the voting majority. I am not surprised by the recent jittery of the APC national chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, for kicking against the use of the BVAS and the INEC Results Viewing Portal, IReV, saying Nigeria is not ripe for the use of such technology. That’s too late; it’s a last kick of a dying horse! The most treasured asset and shaping dynamic of any candidate emerging in the next election is the vote of the majority. There is a radical departure from the old ways of conducting the polls.
Today, if there is anyone who has the leverage on the new development in the electoral process it is Mustapha Sule Lamido, the Peoples Democratic (PDP) gubernatorial candidate of Jigawa state, and all those popular candidates endeared to the voters. Though, I have seen a lot of propaganda deployed against Mustspha Lamido by the ruling APC in the state but that seem to be making him more popular and stronger in all the nooks and crannies of the state and beyond. Santuraki, as Lamido is fondly called, has been the subject of discourse and hope for the younger generation, wherever you meet people deliberating about the prevailing politics not only in Jigawa state but the nation in general.
From the critics of his young but vast age, his parental extraction, to those who myopically propel laughable rumours that the governorship hopeful, his brother, and their dad, former Governor Sule Lamido were in contest at different positions in the state. But later everyone got to know that the young Lamido is standing alone with all the requisite qualities, credentials, and pedigree attributed to him, and that no other person is contesting election in his family except him.
It is immaterial and senseless to frown on Mustapha Lamido’s parental background, thus, any person whether contesting election or not, must have been son to his parents. The greatest opposition against Mustapha’s aspirations is hinged on the fact that he is the son of Sule Lamido, with a few dissenting voices alleging gerontocracy. It is either these people are simply being mischievous or they may be completely ignorant or too old to appreciate the fact that even the bastion of democracy, America, had elected the son of a former President as President. The Bush family of America and the Sarakis of Nigeria, readily come to mind.
For the people of Jigawa state, let me unequivocally say that, the greatest asset that Jigawa state has since its creation is having Sule Lamido as its indigene. Maybe they don’t know that we noiselessly all envy them and wish to have as many Lamidos as possible in our state. He successfully built the state from scratch to its present enviable status and his legacies can never be eroded so long as Jigawa stands as a sovereign state. So, to have his lineage to govern the state again,obviously is a blessing, especially at a time the people of the state are clamouring for a rescue from the APC’s misgovernace and deceits.
Besides, Santuraki has all it takes to govern and take Jigawa state out of the woods. Politically, he is a strong and dependable pillar that can stand alone. Recall that, even in 2019 when he contested for senate, he ensured the campaign was wholly about him and his singular purpose of lifting society’s downtrodden from their parlous realities. It was not surprising therefore that many queued behind him in a strong demonstration of belief and trust. He lost not because he wasn’t popular but because he was ganged robbed; it apparently took a high level political gang scheming and approbation for him to be put down, but certainly not out. It’s perceptibly impossible this time around as he seems unstoppable, especially by the feeble and politically frail APC.
Today, he is not only dominating the entire political ecosystem of Jigawa state, the young Lamido has also successfully and strategically dominated the minds of the majority and the media landscape to his credit. He thinks big and critical; his ideas are those of the bigger minds and intellects. The way he plans and executes his range of viable campaign strategies, stands him towering against his major opponents, expressly that of the ruling APC, Umar Namadi. And his strategic romance with the aggrieved members of the APC including people like Senator Danladi Sankara is no doubt a lead to him and the entire PDP.
In his periodic publication of ‘My Vision’, one would envisage nothing but a greater Jigawa state under his stewardship. And the people of the state are eagerly waiting for March 11, 2023, to elect him as their new governor. Santuraki is Insha Allah the Jigawa state governor-in-waiting.
Ibrahim writes from Kano, Kano state