By Mohammed Inuwa
His mission was without doubt right from the beginning-save the state and its people from the vice grip of the elite-induced poverty and underdevelopment. His was a welfarist ideology with the masses as centre point of his policy as against the pro-elitist order that has hitherto confined us to perpetual slavery. Aware of the consequence of the impending social change, they denied him the ticket on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but with the masses behind him, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura shocked analysts by defeating an incumbent, who was only waiting to be crowned. And so he murdered sleep and must sleep no more. From the day he was sworn to the present moment, Al-Makura has not known peace as the fascist bares its fags.
The PDP never forgive him for its loss and it has more than it takes to run the governor out of the Shendam road sit of power. It has the majority in the state assembly and a federal might behind it. That he is still in power three years on many believe, is a miracle. Although moralists are wont to argue that there is hardly a cogent reason to impeach him, but in a country where impunity is the other of the day, PDP need not invoke any law to run him out.
Al-Makura is still holding forth in Nasarawa today because he seems to be aware of his limitation right from the onset and sought the only hideout available to him-the masses for protection.His pro-masses’ approach to governance was the antidote he needs against the hitherto elitist set up. And he dangles the carrots well by building roads, schools, hospitals and other social services. By doing this, he draws sympathy from not only the main beneficiaries but majority of members of the state assembly whose constituents are touched by the efforts. It was also apparent that some members also share the governor’s dynamic social change ideology. This is apparent in the way the assembly accelerated passages of appropriation bill each year and other demands that have direct bearing on the people. Some PDP members in the state also have cause to commend him for his landmark achievements within the short time he assumed the mantle of leadership in the state.
So it is that while powerful elements with the PDP take on the governor for daring to wrestle control of the state from them, the pro-masses among them identify with his development initiative. That way the opposition hardly have a common ground to launch a major onslaught against him.
However, Al-Makura’s albatross yet are his co-travellers within rather than the known “enemies” in the opposition party. The retinue of aides, acclaimed “loyal” party men, who were the main beneficiaries of the new order. They are the sheep in wolve’s clothing; the ostrich with the head in the sand.
Until he declared his intention to contest the last governorship election on the platform of the PDP, Al-Makura although a founding member was an ordinary party man.
Having been denied the ticket, he switched to the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). Having realised that he was making headway in the new party, which he was the major financier, other aggrieved members of his former party align with him in the new party. They were rescued from what Malam Abdulkarim Abdullahi, a foremost television journalist, referred to as “the sinking political boat that was consumed by that variant plague under the PDP to safety in the CPC” in an interview recently.
Some of them were hurriedly handed party tickets for various positions in the impending election, even as others were allocated positions, while on their sick beds. Damesh Luka’s name was merely handed as a running mate to Al-Makura against entreaties by some of his kinsmen that he was unworthy of such privilege. He was incapacitated and bedridden, but Al-Makura would rather have him as his deputy despite several alternatives lined up before him. He was not seen throughout the period of electioneering campaign because of his condition. It was a sickly Damesh that appeared during Al-Makura’s inauguration as his deputy.
He was just waiting to get well and be crowned. And he was the most favoured lieutenant as he got more than he could ever have hoped for. He rarely leaves the government house, where he sits side-by-side with the governor to take decision on how the state is governed. Luka also has several ministries under his direct control, including sports, where a procurement contract scam remained unsolved. He represents the governor in important events that ordinarily would not require the attention of a subordinate. He was having unalloyed access to the movers and sakers in the politics and economy of this country. He was assuming much power and its treachery nature was soon to catch up with him. He began to look beyond his current status, and longer sees himself as subordinating to his boss and even his party. He felt it was time to build his own power bloc through alliances even with members of the opposition party.
As if to spite his boss, he began to dine and wine with self confessed enemies of the state; those who have visited terror on our state and its people. He was no longer playing the ostrich with insurance from the presidency; all he needs to do is to weep up religious sentiment. He has co-travellers in Senator Solomon Ewuga, who is also from his Senatorial district and National Assembly members of Eggon extraction. He was to defect along with his co-travellers to PDP in an on-going alliance against Al-Makura and the rest is now history. But whether he will get the governorship seat, the prime price for betraying his boss is yet to be seen.
Like Luka and Ewuga, Al-Makura is still surrounded with those Abdulkarim referred to as “predictable traitors or masquerades,” who after being rehabilitated by the governor, began to introduce the negative element they cultivated from their former place of political abode.
They do not share the governor’s political ideology of service to the people. So Al-Makura has been quite alone from the beginning. This is the man who rode to power through the goodwill of the people, who were tired with the parasitic politics of the past. Without structure and trusted allies on ground to work with, he suddenly finds himself in the midst of strangers whose agenda is anti-people. Nevertheless he solders on; stumbling but regaining his balance through prudent management of megre resources accruing to the state from the federation account.
Three years on, the state and its people have cause to celebrate for the transformation that we are witnessing today. No one is in doubt that the state has never had it so good under any administration in our dear state since its creation. Our state capital Lafia has shed its status of a glorified local government headquarters; the standard of our education has risen within the last three years under his watch. The state has continued to receive accolades from all and sundry, even from the opposition federal government.
Our rural communities are transforming into mini-towns and cities because of the development going on despite the bobby traps on Al-Makura’s way. Will we rather prefer to go back to the sorry state we were before he emerged? Shall we watch while these enemies of our state draw back the hands of time? How long shall we continue to be enslaved by the so called elites?
Al-Makura has nothing to lose if he is forced out today. He has made a statement that people should be the centre point of governance; that politics is about service delivery. He has dared history and challenged the status quo that change is possible. He will continue to be revere for his performance and will remain a reference point for good governance.
From the day Al-Makura was sworn in to the present moment, the governor has not known peace by antics of those who are supposed to be his partners in moving the state forward.Should we allow them to hold the state to ransom and deny it the chance of being led by a bona fide welfarist.Should we allow the state and its people to be treated to the fascist’s treatment by them? These are questions we must ponder on as the fascists further bare their fangs. Good night my dear state, adieu.
Mohammed Inuwa wrote in from Akwanga, Nasarawa state.