2019, Abdulsalam and wind of change in Maiduguri
By Laila Ali Bunu
After almost 20 years of Nigeria’s return to democracy, the likelyhood of the Maiduguri Metropolitan Council federal constituency swaying to the People’s Democratic Party for the first time is becoming real.
Since 1999, the representative seat for the municipal had literally remained the exclusive preserve of the APP/ANPP which later transmuted to the All Progressives Congress in 2014.
With the 2019 election fever on high pitch, a growing voter discontent with the low quality of representation offered by the current member from the Maiduguri municipal, Hon Kadiri Rahiz is appears to be mounting in favour of the candidate for the PDP.
The prevailing pervading feeling across Maiduguri in the buildup to the coming elections is such that the current reps member, Rahiz is no more than a political thug lacking in all the standard moral requirements for meaningful and effective representation.
On the other hand, the candidate for the PDP, Engineer Abdulsalam Mustapha Kachalla, aside his impeccable educational qualification is also generally believed to be a man of proven integrity, honesty and ample experience.
With the added advantage of being from the respected family of former Borno state governor Malah Kachalla, the PDP candidate enjoys a wide support from a large section of intellectuals and core politicians in the state and is generally easily accessible to all categories of people.
Another outstanding quality possessed by Abdulsalam Kachalla in abundance is honesty in an era when dishonesty is what has become expected of everyday politicians, and being honest becoming difficult for most political leaders for the fear that it makes them vulnerable.
Quite apart from the flock of deceitful politicians to which the current rep Rahiz and many others belong, Abdulsalam Kachalla agrees that honesty develops character and builds credibility and trust which are the foundation to evoke confidence and respect from teammates and constituents.
Another major selling point for Abdulsalam Kachalla is Integrity. This is endearing him daily into the hearts of Maiduguri voters who seem less interested in a candidate who tries to ride the waves of public opinion than they are a candidate who like Abdulsalam Kachalla will stand up for what they believe in.
The general voter consensus around the Maiduguri metropolitan is therefore fast turning against those politicians who appease the people by telling them what they think they want to hear. Instead, public sympathy is today greatly swaying in favour of candidates that are capable of forming their own opinions and sticking to them; a category in which Abdulsalam Kachalla eminently falls.
Patriotism is another major character trait of the PDP candidate at a time when it is rare to find politicians who put the best interests of the community, state or country ahead of their own political careers or legacy.
An ideal candidate, Abdulsalam Kachalla is widely believed to be ready to make and accept decisions that would benefit his constituents, even if it ruins his career; a rare trait.
And even though most candidates and politicians in the state also have certain educational pedigree, it is clear that only Abdulsalam Kachalla has been anything close to applying it in practical terms. He has not just excelled in his schooling but uses it to help him make his decisions instead of having to rely so heavily on “advisers”, “advocates” and “lobbyists”.
Whereas the abundant bad politicians deceive the public with high but unattainable promises, Abdulsalam Kachalla falls among the few who openly reason that nobody can change the society overnight.
This is why he always impresses people with such blunt and honest remarks as: “in the long run, there’s very little that a state governor or a representative at any level can accomplish in a short term. What is important is that they should still have high goals, but be realistic about what can be accomplished in the time they have, and be open with the public about how their plans are coming. Even if some changes may not be seen until long after their terms, they should at least get the ball rolling.”
And since the people of Borno are desperately looking for change in they quality of representation they have been having, Abdulsalam is definitely poised to be the arrow point of that change.
Laila, a public affairs commentator writes from Maiduguri.