Katsina 2023: Not A Time For Nihilism – Malam Naini Musa
It was evident in 2019 governorship elections that many people are disinterested in the outcome.
Polling centers in katsina were visibly unpacked. Perhaps a result of reality hitting hard on people who dared to dream for a future that is still forthcoming. But with so much decay and many challenges plaguing our dear state, is it yet time for nihilism? The low energy and lack of enthusiasm from many people is concerning. It is painful to hear people talk about never voting again. I am going to go on a leap and call the 2023 election the most important election in Katsina state history. How can anyone refuse to partake in the most important election in our state’s history?
Katsina state is not starved of capable people with impeccable leadership capacity. We have hundreds.
But there is a general belief that those people do not command the kind of resources that could win them elections. There is almost a consensus that without money, no politician can make it. While money is a necessary factor in politics, it is not the sole determinant. If it were, we would have billionaires at the helm of affairs. In fact the last three governors Katsina produced were not the richest candidates when they ran.
When we make the above mentioned arguments, we simply cut off all other possibilities and surrender ourselves to the powers that be. This is how we end of with binary choices. You either vote for party A candidate or Party B candidate. The public is left to make a choice based on the lesser of two evils. It seems foolish to me that we resign our fate when we could take control by creating alternatives to their choices. No one puts a gun to our heads, we have the right to vote our choices.
I find it a little insulting that people take the position that the public do not know better. To suggest that people only vote who they are told is far from the truth. General Muhammdu Buhari has achieved a cult hero status not because he hands out bag of rice and other commodities. The poor man in the North will stand for him any day of the week. Why? It is because they believe in him. It is simply a matter of conviction. If any candidate can convince his constituents that he will better lives, people will line up to vote for that person. It is the absence of such men of character that leaves people in confusion and hopelessness. They rather cash out now than never.
Competent people with integrity have to understand that in politics and in every facet of life, the man who makes the best effort wins. People do not win because they are good or because they are evil. The man with the better plan and the best effort ends up with the prize. So it is not just enough to be the better candidate. Good candidates have to jump into the trenches and fight for the right to rule. No one will hand it over to you on a silver platter.
We also have to know that until we raise the bar, we will continue to produce substandard leaders. It starts with our language, attitude and expectations. No one ever expect to pamper and sweet talk our maids and helps in the house. Why then do we treat politicians, public servants like gods. If you employ a cleaner, you demand your house to be free of dirt. When we vote politicians we must demand they serve to our satisfaction. This culture of idolizing subpar leaders is simply demeaning. And until we upstage them from masters to servants, we will continue to suffer the brunt of their irresponsibility.
Good people must put aside their holier than thou attitude and join the struggle. It is by flooding the political pool with competent candidates that we produce quality leaders. If we leave politics for deadbeats and political touts, we will inevitably produce deadbeats as leaders. It is a matter of capacity.
If you employ a mechanic to do a plumber’s job you will end of with a disaster, but the same man can do wonders for your automobile if you have a problem with your fuel pump. To get good governance, we must find a way to employ people with the capacity for administration. There should not be forcing of square pegs in a round hole.
If we want to produce quality leaders we must learn to identify leaders that fit our expectations. When we go to buy shoes, we demand the size that fits. A person with feet size 32 does not simply grab size 40 just because it is the only option in the shop. If we are shrewd when shopping, why then are we nonchalant in selecting leaders that inevitably shape our fate?
Finally, we have to put as many measures as possible to weed out the undesirables. Anyone that has tasted foreign rice knows why people prefer it to local rice. You can simply consume Thai rice without the fear of chewing small particles of stone. I once watched a documentary on how much technology they employ in sieving rice and removing all other particles. It was intensively meticulous. We have to put equal amount of measures to sieve out candidates. Anyone who cannot present a well thought out plan to rid us of the insecurity menace, corruption in civil service, accountability for perpetrators and how to restore our infrastructure should be done away with.
This sieving can be achieve by demanding for reasonable manifesto, organizing live debates where people can size up candidates and see them clarify their plans and defend them when criticized.
Candidates must be tested time and time again on the hot seats in interviews and other platforms to get them to answer critical questions on how to handle the major challenges we are facing today.
– Mallam Naini Musa
Mallam Naini Musa is a writer and social critic.
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