Published On: Fri, Jun 28th, 2019

What it feels to be out of power

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Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown, so goes the saying. With the conclusion of the 2019 general elections, so many hitherto mighty men of power, especially governors who had served out their terms, have returned to their normal lifestyles. No more razzmatazz of office.
But their reactions to this new reality vary. While those lucky to get elected into the Senate have a soft-landing opportunity, those not so lucky to either secure a second term or failed a bid to win their Senatorial seats are working assiduously to adjust to their new status.
Expectedly, those in the latter category have begun serious lobbies for ministerial appointments from Mr. President. Rumours abound that they are leaving no stone unturned to persuade the President to consider them because they are obviously finding it difficult to adjust to the reality of living out of power.
Former governor of Bauchi state, Mohammed Abubakar, who lost his second term bid and other of his ilk have been rumoured to be frantically lobbying those close to President Muhammadu Buhari for him to be considered for ministerial appointment.
But several other civil society groups have taken it upon themselves to work against him. For instance, a group, Coalition Against Financial Crimes and Injustice (CFCI), a civil society group, has kicked against the consideration of Abubarkar for a ministerial position by the President because he allegedly had some questions to answer on the handling of his state funds while in power.
According to the group, appointing the former Bauchi helmsman into an anti-corruption administration without his first clearing allegations of financial malfeasance from the anti-graft agencies would dent the gains acquired by the President in his anti-graft efforts in the last four years.
Should the President hearken to this advise, Abubakar should be prepared for a life outside power where he would have to fuel his cars, pay for his meals and carry his bags all by himself. Hordes of hangers-on, including ubiquitous security personnel scrambling to overdo one another to gain his attention just a few months ago, and the cacophony of sirens in his convoys, will vamoose into thin air.
One of the former governors who relishes his new found ‘freedom’ and was willing to share same with his friends in the media at the Presidential Villa within the week was the former helmsman of Nasarawa state, now Senator, Alhaji Tanko Al-makura.
In a tete-a-tete with journalists, including yours sincerely, after a delegation of traditional rulers and leaders of thoughts from Nasarawa state led by Govermor Abdullai Sule, met with the President at the Presidential Villa, Al-makura said he felt relieved after handing over power to his successor.
He said he now sleeps with his two eyes closed because he had been relieved of the huge burden of leadership. Al-makura described the responsibilities of leadership as burdensome because he had no time of his own.
According to him, even though his state remains the closest to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) seat of power, he rarely comes into the city because of the enormous tasks back in Lafia and the entire Nasarawa state.
He said he couldn’t afford to leave the state, except when unavoidably necessary, because there must always be one development or the other that would require his attention as the governor.
To him, he had no luxury of time like some of his colleagues who literally live in Abuja doing one thing or the other only to ‘visit’ their states when it becomes absolutely necessary.
Al-makura is one of those lucky former governors who, after having served out their two terms, made it to the National Assembly to continue to serve and enjoy public funds.
Even though Al-Madura, like his ilk now in the National Assembly may not be able to retain his erstwhile larger-than-life lifestyles as state Chief Executive, he has at least not fallen out of power outright.
However, governors turned senators must have to adjust to a new reality with their perquisite of office and immunity gone. Others not so lucky must begin to adapt to a ‘lifestyle of ordinariness’ unless they get appointed ministers.

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