Two brothers ran against each other in the July Senate by-election in Daura senatorial district, Katsina state. They are Kabir Babba Kaita and Ahmad Babba-Kaita. The former was the candidate of one time ruling Democratic Peoples Party (PDP) while the latter went into the election as the candidate of now governing All Progresives Congress (APC). Kabir is older than Ahmad and indeed raised his younger brother up after the death of their father. In politics, however, Kabir is a late entrant while Ahmad can be said to be a veteran. The senatorial contest was Kabir’s first elective race. As the contest turned out, the APC candidate won with 224,607 votes against his brother who scored 59,724. The result showed that APC won in all the 12 local government areas that make up the zone.
On polling day, something unexpected happened. All members of the Babba-Kaita family in Kankia and other LGAs in the zone abstained from voting. Ibrahim Sani, a resident of Rimaye district of Kankia and a political associate of Kabir had this to say: “This shows that the family is a united one. Things are normal in the family as if nothing has happened. When you go there, you won’t know that there was any contest between the two brothers. Kabir is well respected in the family because he is the eldest son. He is therefore seen as a father.”
Another friend of the Babba-Kaita family, Professor Haruna Kaita, said from the beginning he knew that the contest between the two brothers would not affect their kinship. “Another interesting thing to note is that many indigenes of Katsina practise politics of ideology. There was Bashir, the elderst of the three; he was in PDP and was one-time chairman of Kankia LGA. He was an ally of the late Umaru Musa Yar’adua. Perhaps, that ideology made Kabir to remain in PDP. This is buttressed by the example of the Yar’aduas. The late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua was largely a socialist with NEPU/PRP ideology, but his other brothers were largely conservatives and they remained one united family.”
We, at Peoples Daily, commend the Babba-Kaita brothers for showing Nigerians that politics should not be a do-or-die affair, but a game that must be played by the rules. It is a platform on which politicians put themselves forward to offer services to their communities. This being so, voters should be the ones to decide whose “offer of service” to accept. It should not be who holds the money bag or the monopoly of violence or the power to play on people’s ethnic and religious sentiments.
The Babba-Kaita brothers showed none of those negative political tendencies that have staunted our democratic culture. Campaigning ahead of the election, the two brothers were asked whether or not the cut-throat nature of politicalcompetition in this country would not damage their filíal ties. Their joint response was the outcome of the election, one way or the other, woulď not sever the blood tie between them.
Indeed, a report had it that Kabir went back to his house after he voted, clearly so as not to cause tension. And after the result was announced, the two brothers embraced, the loser congratulating the winner on his victory. This is how political contests should be fought. It is a way to mature our democracy. This way is, to parody the late Nigerian political sage Ibrahim Waziri, “politics without bitterness”.