By Sulaiman Maijama’a
Over the last few months, Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State appears to be a beacon of hope as he has been pressured by different groups to join the 2023 presidential race, in order to salvage Nigeria from being consumed by chunk of challenges, ranging from kidnapping, banditry, economic crisis, nepotism, inequality among others.
According to most of these pressure groups, Nigeria at this time needs a detribalised leader who is equal to the task and who can build a bond of friendship between and across the regions in the country for the betterment of all.
It is obvious that these days Nigeria is placed in a dilemma of deciding the competent presidential candidate who is equal to the task the office of the president calls for. The political Parties themselves are confused as to who is likely to succeed. It is, indeed, a Herculean task that requires sober reflection and critical thinking, looking at the nature of the country with over Two Hundred Million population, with different religious faithfuls, different regions and over Five Hundred ethnic groups.
The Southern Governors, believing they are marginalized, have already regionalized the issue, agitating for “power shift”, as an attempt to actualize Igbo Presidency. The North equally feels superior with its population, having Nineteen states plus the FCT. This brouhaha keeps on generating controversies on the political landscape. The question is, do we really need to see regional or religious affiliation as parameter in deciding who deserves to rule? And this “power shift” s not provided the Constitution but just what is known as “a gentleman agreement”.
In my view, the situation of Nigeria is beyond all these; we reached a point where quality and competence ought to prevail regardless of whatever affiliation. We need a pragmatic, detribalised leader who has the capacity to fix Nigeria’s problems, who is ready to render selfless service to humanity, unite Nigeria as one nation to progress collectively. How, then, is Bala Mohammed detribalised?
In 2010, it was Bala Mohammed, then Senator representing Bauchi South Senatorial District, who put party politics aside for the country’s interest and moved the “Doctrine of Necessity” Motion on the floor of the Senate which gave way for the then Vice-President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to emerge acting President. Don’t forget Bala then was a senator under a defunct All Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP), but stood for Jonathan who was in People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Who could have ever imagined that a Hausa, Muslim-Northerner would defy all odds to ensure that a Christian-Southerner emerged President? Let me strongly believe Senator Bala was the brain behind Goodluck Jonathan’s emergence as president! Not only that, his appointments as FCT Minister reflected his detribalization with people from every parts of the country given the opportunity to serve their Fatherland. Aren’t these enough reasons to prove his detribalism?
Being a highly technocrat who has traversed the different political evolutions, he understands the value and power of oneness and this is a typical trait a leader in Nigeria needs to possess, especially at this critical time when personal interests is trying to tear the country apart. Bala Mohammed’s wealth of experience will surely be appreciated, if given the chance.
Senator Bala’s doggedness and ability to fix the numerous challenges confronting the nation was seen in his outstanding and impeccable performance as the FCT Minister for six consecutive years, which is yet to be surpassed till date years after he left office. In the same vein, he maintains the tempo as Democratically elected Governor of Bauchi State.
You can not discuss governance without talking about security of lives and properties of citizens. It is the primary responsibility and first priority of every responsible government. At this time, it is the greatest concern of every Nigerian. In terms of this, Bala Mohammed as a governor stands to make difference.
In June 2020, there was a communal clash over ownership of land between herders and famers in Zadawa Village, Misau Local Government Area of Bauchi State. The bloody clash culminated in the death of 9 innocent lives and 6 people wounded severely. Shortly thereafter, following the preliminary investigation which incriminated officials of Misau Local Government, Senator Bala Muhammad, exhibited pragmatic approach and security sensitivity to promptly suspend the Caretaker Chairman of Misau LGA, Yaro Gwaram, the deputy, Baidu Kafin-Misau, and his secretary, Usman Abdu, for their failure to stop the violence.
Two days later, despite the Governor’s high esteem for Traditional rulers, following the receipt of additional petitions at his disposal from some communities, he did not hesitate to suspend (indefinitely) His Royal Highness, the Emir of Misau, Alh. Ahmad Suleiman; the District Head of Chiroma (the Chiroma Misau), the Village Head of Zadawa. The Governor went further to inaugurate a 13-man investigation panel, tasked with the responsibility of identifying the remote and immediate causes of the clash and clarified that the suspension of the rulers was to enable the investigation committee work objectively without interference, and submit its report within the 3 weeks timeframe.
From experience, it is realized that handling security challenge with a lackadaisical approach, whereby higly placed people are allowed to do and undo without calling them to order, has always contributed greatly towards fueling and escalating the situation. The ugly security situation currently befalling other Northern States such as Zamfara, Kaduna, Yobe among others, started with tiny miscreants, but has now deteriorated , becoming disheartening, claiming dozens of lives.
The point is, if as a state government, he could be this proactive towards curtailing the ugly situation at the onset, how do you imagine the amount of efforts with which he would approach Nigeria’s security situation, when assumed responsibility as president? with these antecedents, we all must humbly submit, under his watch, security breach would not be tolerated.
On the other hand, talking about infrastructural development, Senator Bala Mohammed’s track record as FCT minister remains unassailable over the years and not only that, the amazing metamorphosis Bauchi State is undergoing under him, is an indication of how the outlook of Nigeria will be, if he assumes president. With indefatigable Bala as president, the country will grow to rival Dubai. If you wish to understand this come on sojourn to Bauchi State today and see an overnight transportation the state witnessed, from grass into great gleaming city.
If Bala Mohammed is given the mandate, the Nigeria we dream, deserve and hope will surely be actualized.
However, with all these qualities the former FCT possess, one may be wondering if he has the capacity to defeat the number of awe-inspiring contenders who are desperate to occupying the seat. The “dollarized”, the “kwankwasos”, the “Bambuwals”, the “lamidos” and the likes are all presidents in waiting.
Can Bala scale the race? This is another topic to talk about.
Maijama’a, Faculty of Communication, BUKsulaimanmaija@gmail.com
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Sky Daily