By Umar Sagiru Gwandu
In Nigeria, there have been a power exchange from military to civilian and vis versa, and in some instances, there was interregnum and joint military and civilian administration. Thus, when Kebbi State was created in 1991, it was ushered into existence by the Ibrahim Babangida military administration thus necessitating a series of military governors and administrators before the transition to civilian government in 1999 and the sustenance of democracy till date.
Down history lane, the All Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP) was the first party to rule the state under the administration of Gov. Adamu Aliero before the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) took control under the stewardship of Gov. Usman Dakingari who ruled the state with an iron fist from May 29th 2007 to 2015. PDP regime was a clear example of misgovernance and misdirection characterized by visionless and directionless leadership desiderata, policy summersaults and witch hunting of opposition figures to no end.
Indeed, the PDP’s stewardship in Kebbi state was as more in the mold of the legendary Louis XVI, the Sun King of France who ruled with unparalleled pomp, pomposity and pageantry while the masses of his country wallowed in penury and abject poverty unprecedented in those times. In fact, rather than concentrate on meaningful and purposeful governance that would transform the fortunes of the Kebbi people for the better, a grandiose loving regime was more interested in power accumulation and power aggrandizement at the expense of the denizens of Kebbi society.
The then government was more interested in dispensing favours to an influential segment of the state consisting of retired generals, super civil servants, corporate barons and conservative traditional rulers rather than initiating any meaningful developmental architecture that would pull Kebbi state out of the woods and rank it in the comity of progressive states of Nigeria.
In agglomeration with PDP party hacks and scribes, their vested interest was the massive and systematic looting of Kebbi state finances under the guise of awarding questionable, fake or non-existent contracts or tenders as a Trojan Horse for siphoning huge amounts of funds from the state treasury. Disgustingly, at no time during the woebegone administration could the government point to any meaningful physical or infrastructural project that they had executed or in the process of executing in Kebbi State, therefore the only recourse was to engage in media hype, propaganda and the dissemination of state-sponsored campaigns of calumny and blackmail against the opposition parties.
It was clear that, during that epoch, appointments, postings, deployments and promotions in the state civil service or its numerous MDA’s was based on ‘man know man’ factor as PDP’s hacks and favourites were appointed to man strategic positions in the state’s bureaucracy while other more competent and experienced hands stagnated in the same position for years on end.
It was pathetic that, during the previous regime, government was mainly concerned PDP was Kebbi state and Kebbi state was PDP, no more no less. And being possessed of their fanatically partisan mindset, they ran the state aground while allegedly moving billions of naira into the coffers of his cronies and acolytes in the PDP not caring for the welfare and wellbeing of the citizens of Kebbi state, majority of whom had become disenchanted and estranged from his rampant kleptoratic maladministration of the land of equity.
Therefore, during the 2015 general elections, hundreds of thousands of determined Kebbians trooped out to hand a humiliating and woefully devastating defeat to PDP throwing out the cronies and acolytes that the former helmsman had used to milk the state for years. It was a sweet and resounding victory for the APC and the newly elected Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu who moved swiftly to deliver on key infrastructural and developmental projects, programs and policies designed to raise the socio-economic index of the state for the better.
Bagudu rather than engages in partisan axe-grinding typical of the ousted regime, he’s running an all-inclusive administration and treating all Kebbians as his constituents regardless of partisan, ethnic, religious or sectional loyalty or inclination and because of this singular gesture, most of the PDP members including the former governor has joined the APC in the state leaving the PDP with few degraded members. His idea on location of projects has been across the board, as and where needed and not tied to any parochial or primordial disposition as was the case with the PDP’s rein of political favoritism.
Indeed, such has been the stunning array of projects bequeathed by the revolutionary government which make thousands of erstwhile PDP supporters to have switched their party loyalty to the APC as the party of hope, achievement sustenance and delivery of democratic dividends. On that basis, the politically conscious Kebbians have compared and contrasted the dynamic APC led government of Bagudu with the erratic PDP led administration of yore and have come to the irreversible conclusion that the ancient regime and its remnants and lackeys must never be allowed to come close to the corridors of power again.
Interestingly, in lieu of engaging in empty, vile or deceitful propaganda reminiscent of the PDP years of the locust, an objective Gov. Bagudu has remained focused on his goal of uplifting Kebbi State to a greater height, materially, socially and physically not caring whose ox is gored in the process.
Equally, while those that regard themselves as unrepentant power brokers in the state continue in their fruitless shenanigans against his government, an unfazed Gov. Bagudu has rather allowed his visible democratic tidings to speak for him and his administration, vowing that he would not spend a kobo of state funds for cheap publicity stunts aimed at garnering cheap and vacuous popularity. The fact is that, if money could buy votes or popularity then PDP’s favoured gubernatorial choice, Major General Sarkin Yarki (rtd) would have emerged victorious in the 2015 polls but sadly the famed war hero was decimated by the APC moving train and crashed into early political retirement before he could even kick start his political career from military retirement.
It’s prevailing that, as the 2019 election looms the PDP has once again kicked off their ubiquitous propaganda machinery comprising of half-truths, misstatements, outright lies and manufactured falsehood all in an attempt to hood wink the stoic and hardworking people of Kebbi who have borne the brunt of their years of misrule, misgovernance and neglect to no end.
However, times have changed, the Kebbi people have become wiser, have come of age and are determined to take their destiny in their own hands once and for all rather than fall victim to the hyenas, jackals’ vultures, predators and scavengers that hark in the Peoples Democratic Party.
–Sagiru writes from Gwandu