As Chinua Achebe would rightly posit, the trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the demand for responsible leadership. The good people of Zamfara State were on the verge of rescue before the Appeal Court recently aborted the transformational leadership of Dr Dauda Lawal, the incumbent governor who received the people’s mandate to lead on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party.
The basic element of this misfortune is a faulty structural system to remove good leaders and intellectual rigor in the political thought of Zamfara. The court verdict decreed a rerun election in three local governments…more of a tendency to pious materialistic woolliness and self-centered individuals to return the state to its dark days. Governor Lawal had ushered in light at the end of the tunnel. He rekindled hope, and peace has returned to many homes and hearts of the people of Zamfara State.
Unfortunately, we have witnessed what can be best described as the institutionalized robbery of the common people of Zamfara State by desperate politicians who are trying to use the judiciary to submerge justice. We must voice out that affirmative action and social justice is the hallmark of democracy.
My joy at the verdict declared on November 16 by what some media houses described it a unanimous decision by a three-member panel led by Justice Oyebisi Folayemi, nullifying the return of Governor Lawal of the PDP as the winner of the governorship poll. The boxers will go back to the ring, and this time around, I can assure spectators of dirty blows that will knock down the political ovation of Mutawalle Bello by the votes the people of Zamfara State in three local government areas will give in bulk for Lawal.
Justice Sybil Nwaka who read the lead judgment ordered the INEC to conduct a fresh election in three local government areas, where elections had not been held previously or where results from various polling units were not counted during the March 2023 governorship polls.
Justice Nwaka took a swipe at INEC to have wrongly relied on information it obtained from its INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal, to collate the final result of the governorship election.
The originating petition had suffered a setback at the tribunal which affirmed the election of Dauda Lawal. The immediate past governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, who was the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election seems to be on a mission impossible. Yes, an impossible mission because his fate in the race for the gubernatorial seat has already been sealed by the popular mandate for Lawal. The people of Zamfara State are the deciding factor. the time is up for the ex-governor. No matter the desires of his ilk in Zamfara, which is rich in mineral resources.
As Achebe would say these are a committee of avaricious landlords, a colony of blood-sucking ticks, is expected to shower upon the bull on whose back they fatten. Their level of patriotism is one of the hallmarks of our nascent democracy but some privileged Nigerians whose general unearned position of sudden power and wealth is with no morals and sheer efficiency and effectiveness of good leadership strides should never be allowed to rule in this nation.
I want to believe we have a big problem in this nation and the problem is just our leadership style. We all lost it. The judicial system has lost; we are fast drifting away from the reality of a united and progressive Nigeria. The power wielders and the voting pattern are always in favor of anyone who can and will pay the piper.
To set the records straight, the affected LGAs court declared a rerun election are Maradun, Birnin-Magaji, and Bukkuyum. They are the deciding factor…block votes for either APC or PDP. The votes will be canvassed by the two major parties. INEC has already recorded in its iREV 24,855 for APC in Maradun and 12, 661 votes for PDP. In Birnin-Magaji APC polled 9, 646 and PDP 8,991, while in Bukuyum LGA, APC received 10,321 votes and PDP 24,341. One can easily know the muscle of each party and its candidate. By way of simple analysis, PDP is stronger than APC in those LGAs.
The Plus and Minus of the political game in Zamfara is giving the PDP under Lawal’s leadership a comfortable lead. A gap of 64,976 votes has been created and Dr Lawal polled total votes of 332,133 as against Matawalle’s 267,157 which are intact.
Should there be a rerun, PDP will still win. The people have since decided that Governor Dauda Lawal has given them a foretaste of good leadership. Mutawalle lost out to the then-opposition PDP. The people are still the same and the votes are known…no magic can displace the governor in office at the moment. All eyes are on the rerun!
The appeal court ruling is only a temporary setback for the PDP to regain much trust of the people to discard the APC in Zamfara State. It is not because the party is bad, but the leader has a blurred vision, enough to misunderstand the needs of the masses whose houses and means of livelihood were destroyed by bandits. The hearts of the people have far gone apart with the APC because the party has inflicted so much pain. No development to show for its rule from the Government House.
I see Dauda Lawal triumph again after the coming INEC rerun.
Mr Garba, FICM, FBMC, SPSP, writes from Abuja. He can be reached via 08030525759, 08172570959, and firstname.lastname@example.org