By; MANSIR LAWAL KAWARE
Democracy is believed to be a system in which people choose their own leaders unlike monarchy or military systems of leadership where the people have no right to choose their leaders but only follow instructions handed down to them.
The beauty of democracy is that there is time limit for those in position of leadership depending on the constitutional provision in place in a given country. America which is the mother of democracy practices a system of four years of two terms as maximum for those elected in the Executive Office while the legislature is left open under which one can contest for as many as his constituency allows. But other countries do differ, some copy American System while some decide a duration for themselves mostly from four years and above.
The time limit for tenures is where the problem lies. Nobody wants to vacate office unless and until it becomes necessary, especially those occupying the office of President, because as Commander-in-Chief, a number of them try to alter the constitution for obvious reasons trying to extend their tenures.
Nigeria is among those countries that copy the American system of democracy where the president, governors and local government chairmen serve for a maximum of two terms of four years for president and governors, and three years for LG chairmen.
Katsina State being one of the states in Nigeria has witnessed two democratic settings of leadership the NRC, SDP in the early 90’s, which brought Alhaji Sa’idu Barda to power and the PDP, APP and other parties which is in existence from 1999 though there was the UNCP, DPN and others in between, that could not last due to the death of General Sani Abacha.
At present, the leading political parties since 1999, PDP and APP which metamorphosed into APC are the ones that occupied Katsina Government House. In the 18 years of democratic rule, PDP in Katsina State has concurred with the Federal Government as they both ruled for 16 years producing Umaru Musa Yar’adua and Ibrahim Shema while APC has been in power for two years four months now under Aminu Bello Masari.
Under the circumstance, PDP members in Katsina State have found it a very bitter pill to swallow, having been in the luxury of power for 16 years and they now lost it both at the centre, in Katsina State and in the North-West Zone. PDP members who relied on government and fed fat on it have no where to go and get relief which has added to their frustration. They are always complaining about President Buhari whom they see as the architect of their failure. The blame starts with Buhari and ends on Masari, describing APC supporters as nothing but sadists who cut-off their life enjoyment. One begins to wonder what was the name of PDP leaders and supporters for the past 16 years when they were holding the mantle of leadership as others were in opposition.
The probability is that they saw themselves as the rightful owners of enjoyment while others are supposed to serve them. Does it mean that they were unaware of the fact that they are under a democratic system which differs from the hereditary system of Government? The situation they found themselves in two years was what others survived for 16 years yet heavens did not fall, or are they telling us that heavens have now fallen on their heads? They make reference to APC members saying that they are equally suffering as none of them have food for one month in his home, despite controlling the government. This tells the PDP members that APC Government in Katsina and the federal level treat Nigerians on the same latitude unlike the selfishness of PDP.
They never see anything good in Masari’s administration even as it is doing better than the previous administration in many sectors. What the PDP members in Katsina, failed to understand is that, it is not enough to go into constructions without planning about personnel, equipment and other facilities that could make the buildings functional. Apart from road constructions which could be put to use once the work is completed all other construction are more of a shadow of what they were meant for.
Even schools and classrooms construction virtually remain a mirage as there are no teachers, no tables and chairs in the schools. The science boarding schools were equally in pathetic situations with unhabitable dormitories for the students. The much talked about payment of examination fees for students was of no value because the schools learning atmosphere was not conducive coupled with lack of adequate teachers and teaching materials, hence majority of the students ended up not passing the exams. This is despite the fact that there was so much money in the hands of the then government. But the PDP members were shouting of an achievement at the top of their voice.
In the health sector, the story was the same. Hospitals and clinics were without health personnel and drugs. The agric sector lacked extension workers even with the retirement of many of them there was no replacement. Civil servants in Katsina State were generally subjected to promotions without financial benefits. Under the arrangement a worker will be promoted but the promotion would not be released until after six months, one or two years, and when it is eventually released it will came with 2 or 3 months arrears forcing the forfeiture of the balance, yet at the end of the year Governor Shema would declare surplus of billions of Naira.
That was how he reigned for eight years and finally left the debt of billions of naira belonging to his major contractors. Even recently Masari had to pay arrears of promotions made to primary teachers since 2012. It is funny for those who know the inside workings of Shema administration in Katsina that you hear PDP supporters shouting its achievements as compared to APC. More so they are taking a cumulative structural developments of 16 years of the PDP and compare it with the APC’s two years as having achieved nothing compared to PDP.
There could be no basis for comparison until APC is 16 years with an aggregate amount of income within the equivalent period. The PDP supporters were so critical of renovation work in Hospitals, primary and Secondary schools by Masari Government, those opportuned to see the affected places before the renovation would appreciate what is being done at the areas concerned.
What is happening in Katsina also extends to the neighbouring Kano State, that is drifting into some violence. We only need to advice Senator Kwankwaso to fight from within the APC with caution, otherwise he may end up like Late Abubakar Rimi or former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. While Atiku Abubakar kept jumping from one party to the other gunning for Presidential Chair, late Rimi only ended-up helping other parties to win Governor election of Kano State through anti party or in a more civilized tone referred to as protest votes like the Kabir Gaya NRC win, the Shekarau win of 2003 just as Katsina PDP are gauging their showing at the recent Mashi/Dutsi Reps bye-election which its gladiators mistook for regaining popularity.
Moving up to the National level, one wonders what the PDP has been shouting for about 2019 after the court ruling which gave victory to Makarfi faction. One may tend to ask who among the top PDP members was not there in 2015 when it lost the elections. They need to remember that they lost the elections even as they were in control of the central Government and two third of the State Governors. It is therefore surprising the way they are parading themselves as it means surrendering power to them.
Can the APC that defeat PDP when it was in power look at it now in opposition as a threat to it. Certainly no People like Femi Fani Kayode who overacts is becoming a problem to PDP and because he wants to remain relevant he is now offering himself as ethnic champion by threatening to lead a breakaway Oduduwa Republic if restructuring is not affected. I think Femi Fani could go ahead because nobody would listen to his rantings. We have seen on the pages of Newspapers that Yoruba leaders gathered in Ibadan and a score of South-East and South-South representatives insisting on restructuring of the country to the 1960’s arrangements. This is retrogressive, they do not take congnisance of the status quo of Nigeria in terms of population, infrastructure and social interaction. What we saw there was nothing but a gathering of opposition leaders who do not see power returning to them in the near future.
The recent statement by Aisha Jummai Alhassan has opened another page of controversy that may likely necessitate cabinet reshuffle because of her claim that a number of ministers are on the same page with her. The controversy has now zeroed down between her and Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufa’i, where she threatened to expose the latter’s hands in the kidnap of Chibok Girls to dent Jonathan. Lets advice the minister to try another weapon because this one will not work. The long and short of it is that PDP should play its opposition role with caution to avoid crashing out completely.
MANSIR LAWAL KAWARE wrote in from Katsina State and can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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