When Gusau stood still for ‘mafita’

The National Rescue Movement (NRM) Sunday flagged-off its governorship campaign in Zamfara with a promise to rescue the state from insecurity and make it work again. Patrick Andrew writes.
The launch
Sunday, December 2 was no ordinary day for the people of Zamfara State and in particular those resident in the state capital, Gusau. Apparently eager to engage politicians in debate, appraise political parties and their candidates and thus be prepared to express their anger against those that they have hurt their democratic sense, the people lined up the streets as the campaign convoy  roamed through major thoroughfares announcing the arrival in Gusau of Senator Saidu Mohammed Dansadau, the NRM governorship candidate.
Defying the blazing sun that beat down on them as if heralding a royal gaiety, the people trooped out from their abodes and clustered in major pathways discussing the anticipated rally and were truly in high expectation.  Indeed, they were in festive mood as they clung to their transistor radios, handsets and other local musical instruments and danced to local lyrics which ridiculed those that have failed them across party lines and wishing that the NRM candidate would be different.
As the convoy circle the city, commercial vehicles including tricycles, achaba, and commuters alike regaled themselves with the fliers and slogans of the party most of which simply say ‘mafita’-translated ‘the only way’.
It was observed though that the people started gathering as far as Tsafe local government area where members of the campaign team had waited to receive the central figure of the day- Senator Saidu Mohammed Dansadau, who being a Fourth Republic two-term senator, was reported called out from retirement in partisan politics by the people that craved for his humane disposition towards the people and the need for credible individual in the political field.
Emir of Gusau Speaks
Senator Saidu, who was accompanied by the party national executives, members of the State Working Committee (SWC) and other high profile political friends of the candidate from other political platforms, first headed to the Emir Palace to pay homage as well as receive royal blessing.
At the Palace, the Emir of Gusau, Dr.Ibrahim Bello, received him warmly and advised Nigerian politicians to eschew violence by playing politics like sports where losers and winners in the spirit of the game accept the result without bitterness.
He said the candidate’s decision to pay him a courtesy visit to introduce himself as the candidate of his party that is seeking the mandate of his subjects to govern the state in 2019 well reflects his and the party’s respect for the traditional institution.
Decrying the sustained violence in Nigerian politics, Dr. Bello appealed to politicians to see politics as a game where participants accept the result without revolting against the authority.
According to him, “Politicians must play politics like sport where all participants play by the rules and at all times are bound by these rules. They accept result without resorting to violence or insisting on their own position or intrepretation of the rules of the game according to their whims and caprice.
“To avoid violence during campaigns, I urge you to let your campaign be based on issues because an issue-based campaign will focus on problems and solutions. It will seek to persuade and convince rather than impose and compel people to act against their wishes”, he said.
Not done, he accused desperate politicians of making the game look ugly and unfriendly and went to caution them against bringing unauthorized object into the field of play.  According to the royal father, Nigerian electorate were very ready to align with any politician with sound objective.
Also, he urged politicians seeking offices in the forthcoming elections against arming youths with dangerous weapons to attack assault their political foes with.
Instead, he said the youths should be conscientised to accept politics as a game that seeks to entrench disciple, people-oriented issues in campaigns as well as oneness and nation building devoid of violence.
“Again, I urge you to play politics like sports ,if you win fine, and if you don’t win, embrace the other person and shake hands with him. There is need for politicians to base their campaign on issues and not on things that will aggravate crisis.
“Tell the electorate what you can offer and allow them to decide because all the people want is development”, the emir said.
Handing over of flag
Gradually after being on the road for more than eight hours, the campaign convoy eventually arrived at the campaign venue which was already crammed for space. Though an open field, the massive crowd surged forward to receive the candidate was intimidating, choked with people determined to see ‘mafita’ come to roost.
Amidst shouts of ‘mafita’ ‘Saidu Dansadau’, ‘NRM’, ‘away with APC’, ‘no to PDP’, ‘refresh start for Zamfara’, rented the air.
After series of speeches by party stalwarts seeking to ginger them to brace up for the refresh start that ‘mafita’ promises to offer, the Deputy National Chairman, Otunba Niyi Dada told the people that the start of a new Nigeria would begin in the state as the NRM government intends to institute policies and programmes which would be the envy of other states in the federation.
He urged the people to vote in their illustrious son who had in the past represented them honourably and was willing to do so again. “He represents the start to a new Zamfara State and indeed Nigeria. You must therefore support him by giving him the mandate to govern the state”, he appealed.
Egged on by the excitement and overwhelming applause accorded his address, the deputy national chairman proceeded to invite the candidate to the already crowded podium amidst shouts of ‘mafita’, ‘mafita’.  There and then the atmosphere assumed not just pious disposition but one that seems to transform everyone into an ardent believer in the person and capacities of the candidate to alter their status.
And when the man of the moment finally raised his hands, the crowd went wide with jubilation and it took some time before Otunba Dada could raise the flag and handed same to the candidate.
Zamfara will work again
Buoyed by the deep passion shown by the enthusiastic crowd, Senator Saidu Dansadau could not help danced to the rhythm of the local lyrics before delivering his message with a clarity that defied obvious tiredness.
“Zamfara State will work again. We shall return Zamfara to its renowned status in agriculture and commerce, one that was only second to Kano State in the Northern region when the National Rescue Movement (NRM) administration comes on stream in 2019”.
Lamenting the deplorable state of things, the Senator said insecurity, mass killings, cattle rustling and other economic depravations the people are currently facing would be shrewdly addressed by his administration within the first year.
Senator Dansadau, who spoke in the local language, urged the people to break from vicious grip of visionless rulers by identifying with the NRM which mission is to rescue them from insecurity, unemployment as well as unite them.
“Our mission is to make Zamfara State to work again. We have the resource: people and materials because we are richly endowed. We will make Zamfara State to work again through good governance and elimination of deceit and misrule.
“Our mission is also to make Zamfara the hub of business that will stimulate industrial revolution and ensure that the people do not regret voting in an NRM government.
“Our people are suffering, there is hunger in the land coupled with the insecurity that has demeaned the life of our people and we are determined to arrest and put an end to these avoidable problems.
“The people now have the opportunity to free themselves from misrule and bad governance by ensuring that the NRM in voted into office. You know me and I have never disappointed you before and will definitely not disappoint you now”, he said to a loud applause from an appreciative audience”, he said to a wide applause.
As the campaign departs, the people were seen in clusters discussing the message and reminding themselves of the need to get their PVCs handy ahead of the election.
Perhaps, the atmosphere was further charmed by the fact that the ruling party- APC may not likely candidates if the INEC sticks to its position that the party failed to conduct primaries in line with its requirement for the selection of candidates.

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