By Bature Sani
The emergence of Aminu Masari as the leading contender for the Governorship of Katsina State from 2015 has sent shivers down the political spine of the outgoing PDP government under Governor Shema and rattled their seemingly unshakeable confidence in having a smooth sail to retain the governorship beyond Shema’s eclipsing incumbency. In his second bid for the governorship of Katsina State, Aminu Masari is making waves and waxing stronger, powered by a peerless pedigree of outstanding antecedents and impeccable credentials as not just another local Katsina politician with gubernatorial ambition but a prominent national political leader offering his wealth of experience, exposure and exemplary attainments for the much desired accelerated progress and development of the state. In simple terms, former Speaker of the House of Representatives and major arrowhead in the quest for qualitative change in the stagnant political and economic status quo, flying the flag of the fast-growing APC has no rival in the race for Government House, Katsina!
Recent ripples of rancour among the outraged citizens of Katsina State have been unleashed in reaction to the temperamental and high-handed utterances and actions of the embattled Governor Shema and the PDP in the face of renewed discontent over reports of widespread corruption in the execution of public projects in the state now seen to be responsible for the failure of the Shema administration in meeting its own trumpeted targets of development. So embarrassing have these public petitions been that the government furiously resorted to draconian measures to suppress the shrill voices of dissent instead of responding with civility in the spirit of transparency and accountability. On the eve of the elections to usher in a new administration, the generality of people of Katsina State consider this rabid reaction a pointer to the credibility of the criticism and cannot dismiss mounting concerns that the Shema-PDP Administration has duped the masses it promised dividends of democracy.
Against this background, Aminu Bello Masari’s track record as a consistent clamour against the ignoble role of governors as perpetrators of corruption at state and local government levels and by extension the major culprits for the under-development plaguing the states and impoverishing the masses in spite of spiralling allocations of trillions of naira has acquired additional mileage in the hearts and minds of the people of Katsina State. Masari has taken his revealing message in his tumultuous campaigns across the state where he frequently linked reports of abandoned projects, unsettled entitlements and sundry stories of failed governance with the “anti-people” tendencies of the PDP and Governor Shema, whereby only their inner circles benefit from their policies and programmes.
The former Speaker has also attributed the condition of “permanent poverty” afflicting the commoners in the state to mass illiteracy that is traceable to the paralysis of the education sector in general and adult literacy and basic education in particular under Governor Shema’s watch, contrary to the misleading propaganda churned out in the state-controlled media. Similar instances of stagnation in the agricultural, youth empowerment and human resources development sectors in Katsina State have been logically associated with pervasive insecurity and general restiveness by Masari who has emphasized education and agriculture hold the key to the desired development and progress of the state and the entire North.
These candid comments and rational criticisms by Aminu Bello Masari have been further enhanced for his campaign for Governorship of Katsina State with his own unique package of revolutionary policies and projects hinged on his pledge to shun all the unpopular tendencies and selfishly motivated excesses that have effectively thwarted the delivery of dividends of democracy to the masses of Katsina State. Of note is his repeated determination to bar his immediate family members from patronage in the award of contracts in order to ensure application of extant due process regulations and selection of only the most competent and most competitive bids for the execution of all government projects as well as a mandatory requirement for all government appointees to have their children enrolled in public schools and registered at public health institutions to identify with the peoples conditions of living.
So far, the potency of the Masari message has put Governor Shema and his cohorts in the PDP on the defensive in the contest of leadership capacity necessary to win over the hearts and minds of the Katsina State electorate who have another opportunity to open a new chapter of progressive change and refocused development along the lines of the APC manifesto. Additionally, the former Speaker deploys his unique insight into the inherent flaws in the PDP style of politics against which he relentlessly fought before taking the principled stand of quitting the party, to punch holes in the feeble efforts of the local PDP to defray the impact of his criticism while projecting the APC as the best alternative.
Governor Shema who is on his last lap in power, therefore, faces the uphill task of preserving the PDP incumbency through his party’s preference for imposition of candidates in a situation where none of those he is said to be “anointing” as his successor has anything near the clout, competence and credentials of Masari. The 2015 elections for governor of Katsina State may therefore be a foregone conclusion regardless of the much-touted power of incumbency which is all Governor Shema has left in his kitty in the prevailing situation.
Bature Sani wrote in from 51Daura Street, Kofar Kaura Layout, Katsina.