Bafarawa’s Declared Presidential Candidature: Living in fools Paradise?


Dan Azumi Kofarmata

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Governor Attahiru Bafarawa was declared the Democratic Peoples Party’s 2007 Presidential flag bearer at a gathering that took place at the Eagle Square, Abuja on December 20, 2006. He came into office on the political platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). Not long ago he was forced to abandon the party by forces within the party he could no longer muscle and trampled upon. He quickly decided to capitalise on his incumbency and access to the federation account allocation of Sokoto State (i.e., Sokoto State Government treasury) to float a new political party named the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) to further bolster his alter political ego.


However, the exit of Attahiru Bafarawa from the ANPP, together with his entire cabinet and members of the Sokoto State House of Assembly and their migration to the newly formed and registered DPP is in itself, an issue surprisingly ignored by our national electoral watchdog; including the Nigerian press. This issue is not the subject of this write up; however, it is just mentioned here in order to anchor some fundamental issues pertaining to his entry into the race for the forthcoming 2007 presidential election.


As this article is being composed, the first deadline set by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the submission to it, the names of presidential nominees for the 2007 presidential election by the political parties has just elapsed. At least, by the last count to the deadline, about a dozen political parties out of nearly 50 or so registered political associations have in one way or the other, produced and submitted the names of their respective 2007 presidential flag bearers and their running mates to the INEC. The outcome of these national conventions of the political parties for the 2007 presidential election produced a number of good, bad, ugly and seriously ridiculous presidential candidates. For example, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) produced Umaru Musa Yar Adua the Governor of Katsina State and Governor Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as his running mate, while the ANPP produced General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) and Rt. Hon. Chief Godwin Ume-Ezeoke (former Speaker in the Second Republic House of Representatives) as his running mate and the Action Congress (AC) produced the embattled Vice President Atiku Abubakar as its flag bearer. 


Other political parties followed suit and at the moment, in addition to the names mentioned above, we have the following names declared as 2007 presidential candidates: Dim Odumegu Ojukwu for the All Peoples Grand Alliance (APGA), Professor Pat Utomi for the Action Democratic Congress (ADC), Abia State Governor Orji Uzo Kalu for the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Reverend Chris Okotie for FRESH Democratic Party (FDC), Alhaji Habu Fari for the National Democratic Party (NDP), and the Sokoto State Governor, Alhaji Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa for the Democratic peoples Party (DPP), amongst others.


Governor Bafarawa, amongst others, falls into the category of the pack of the bad, ugly and seriously ridiculous 2007 presidential candidates. The presidential candidature of Governor Attahiru Bafarawa (DPP) shouldn’t have bothered my attention to warrant devoting time and energy in making public comments on it for obvious reason - it is just a pipe dream and an exercise in ego trip at the expense of the Sokoto State Government treasury as has always being the case since coming to power in 1999. Also, as the heading of this write up indicates, Bafarawa’s presidential candidature can be best consigned to Nigeria’s political fool’s paradise. I also decided to comment on Bafarawa’s pipe dream largely as a result of the claim he was reported to have made in some Nigerian news media that he is the best presidential material as compared to General Buhari (ANPP) and Umaru Musa Yar Adua (PDP) and by extension, any other presidential candidate fielded by the other political parties so far. One could have simply just dismissed this naked false claim as a mere political bravado that we are used to seeing in today’s Nigeria’s political arena.


Putting this issue into proper perspective, the only credentials Governor Bafarawa presented to buttress his claim as the best presidential candidate out of a dozen or so that have thus far emerged last week are those associated with his entry into the murky waters of the Nigerian partisan political arena in 1976 when he contested the local government elections and became a local government Councillor. Over the period of thirty years since then, he also claimed to have held other partisan elective political office; including the present one as a two-term Executive Governor of Sokoto State. Therefore, by his own standard yardstick of measurement, these political achievements are enough to make him the best presidential material for the 2007 presidential election. I would rather believe that these credentials are desirable, but they are not necessary sufficient enough to make him (or any other person that falls within his category of Nigerian politicians for that matter) a suitable and desirable presidential candidate for a 21st Century Nigeria.


Simply put, Governor Attahiru Bafarawa and several of his fellow co-travellers contemporary Nigerian politicians just doesn’t get it. He and his elks should know that to be Nigeria’s President and Commander-in-chief of the Armed forces of the federal republic of Nigeria requires modern world-class leadership skills and experiences far beyond those acquired by merely being a local government Councillor and or a Governor of a wretched and poverty stricken State. For example, Governor Bafarawa and most of the present crop of State Governors preside over the affairs of mostly religious and ethnically monolithic States. These States are generally unsophisticated, highly underdeveloped and poverty stricken disadvantaged simple agrarian societies.


Therefore as the Governor Sokoto State, which is the most underdeveloped and wretched State of the federation, he will be bringing virtually nothing in terms of sophisticated modern leadership skills and experiences that the office of President of modern Nigeria requires. That is to say, the State House Abuja (Aso Rock) is not synonymous with and cannot be equated with and or compared with any State Government Houses to say the least.


One would advice that, a ministerial post in the next coming administration may be of help to Bafarawa in order to learn, acquire and better understand the rudiments and fundamentals of national leadership capabilities that are needed to lead a sophisticated and very complex Nigerian polity. Furthermore, he should understand that, there is a wide difference between the feudal type of governance and modern 21st Century type and style of governance. That is to say, popular democracy is not synonymous with feudal aristocracy as being practiced by Governor Attahiru Bafarawa while running the affairs of Sokoto State affairs over the past seven and half years!


All other things considered the President Nigerians deserve in 2007 must satisfy the following basic democratic and leadership fundamentals:


  1. He or she most be a true democrat who must work within the context of democratic norms; rule of law and fundamental human rights and the Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria.


  1. Most be elected in a free and fair primary elections conducted in an atmosphere free from arm-twisting, threat, intimidation and any form of undemocratic practice to emerge as the Presidential flag bearer of his or her political party.


  1. Most be elected in a free and fair nationwide general election conducted in an atmosphere free from rigging, intimidation using instruments of State coercion and political violence.


  1. Most be sufficiently literate (not necessarily academic degrees), well informed and knowledgeable of Nigeria in terms of its history, composition and general and specific developmental needs of each and every component parts of the federation, among others.


  1. Most be sufficiently knowledgeable of the fundamentals of Direct State policies as enshrined in our 1999 Constitution and implement same diligently under a people-centred sustainable economic development and management strategy.


  1. Most be sufficiently knowledgeable of our national security interests and be able to articulate same and defend them at all times.


  1. Most be sufficiently knowledgeable and able to articulate fashion and manage a strong, dynamic and developmentally oriented foreign policy for the country.


  1. Most be sufficiently knowledgeable of the global and international regimes vis-à-vis our foreign policy and national security interests and be able to play proactive role in promoting and defending them. Furthermore, he or she must be sufficiently knowledgeable of all the existing global/international and regional bilateral and multilateral organisations in terms of why they exist, what they do and what benefits Nigeria derives from membership of these organisations (for example, the United Nations Organisation, the African Union, ECOWAS, The World Bank and the IMF, the World Trade Organisations, OPEC, etc).


  1. Most have practicable and sustainable blue print for solving the lingering Niger Delta environmental and socio-economic development problems in the overall national interest and last but not the least,


  1. Most be incorruptible, frugal in management of our scarce national resources, and above all, be transparent, hardworking, honest and accountable to the Nigerian electorate.


These 10 articles of faith provide the basic ground norms for a true democratic and prosperous Nigeria. I am afraid; Governor Attahiru Bafarawa and many other candidates for the 2007 presidential election do not have the above 10 democratic and leadership fundamentals. We are all witnesses to the havoc created by the concept of learning by doing in the last seven and half years of our democratic leadership experiment. I don’t think Nigerians will like to go through it once again.