Nigerian Political News Media
Profiling true Elrufai sucessor in 2023
From right : President Buhari, Governor Elrufai, Senator Uba Sani

By Habib Bello

By now Governor Nasir Elrufai of Kaduna State has set a precedent: work, work and work. He is blazing a trail in the political history of the State with an unbeatable array of infrastructural programmes and radical people-oriented policies.
Another strength of the governor is taking bold steps for the good of the mass majority, without minding whose ox is gored. He is not one to surrender to the usual political intimidation of the traditional hierarchies of political domination in power politics of the North, let alone his domain of Kaduna State.
This makes the emergence of a true 2023 successor of the governor a daunting task.
An Elrufai successor must be a game-changer of sorts: politically bold, fearless, masses-friendly, advocate of good governance and committed to the service of the people.
This successor must have a proven record of being tireless about empowering the poor people in our midst. In Kaduna, the love for changing the battered lives of the poor and giving them a sense of belonging has been the hallmark of Elrufai’s leadership since 2015. It follows logically therefore, that whoever wishes to succeed Elrufai must have these peculiar qualities.
Any successor of Elrufai without a record of fight for social and economic emancipation and justice in the society has very slim chances of making it. And one element of democracy and social justice is not just thinking right but demonstrating it. Elrufai is a practical democrat and so must be his successor, otherwise a disconnect between Kaduna masses and government during the PDP years could be the lot of such a successor. To be Elrufai’s successor you must have proven record of practically attacking a nagging challenge like poverty or unemployment in the society in general and especially in the State, no matter how little.
If you are politician that could easily be intimidated by opposition elements, forget hoping to be an Elrufai successor. You must possess the skill to turn opposition’s machinations against you into a political fortune. You need the special political skill to pre-empt opposition and judases propaganda with supersonic speed. At least if you are capable of offering feasible and practical advice on how to quickly and tactfully handle opposition challenge, you are already flowing with the spirit that makes Elrufai politically savvy.
One significant bonus a potential Elrufai successor requires is massive political goodwill. If you cannot successfully mobilize people to make your political activities tick, then you have no business wishing to be an Elrufai successor. For instance, if you have a public or political enlightenment rally and you can’t mobilize even quarter-of-a-million people to actively participate, your wanting to be an Elrufai successor amounts to wishful thinking. In modern democracy mass mobilization is a rare gift that few possess. And I dare say that if you don’t have the capacity to command loyalty in such a grand scale, you have a long way to go in becoming an Elrufai successor.
Indeed, it would be difficult to want to become an Elrufai successor without being gender – sensitive. At least in the 2019 elections we saw how good political advice and Elrufai’s foul-proof political strategem placed women in the forefront to achieve final electoral victory. An Elrufai successor should be able to demonstrate what he or she did to help mothers, daughters or sisters rebuild their lives through empowerment of all kinds, either officially or with personal resources.
To be an Elrufai successor is indeed not a picnic because it takes years of experience, acquired through fast learning of the political ropes. Proximity to Elrufai and being fast enough to study his deft political moves can also be helpful to building a successor in someone. If all you do is listen to Elrufai’s political statements and learning nothing to apply therefrom, then your place is in the bureaucracy , where political novice is ever wellcomed. There is a dividing line between being a technocrat and being a politician. It goes beyond six and half-dozen. A politician’s challenge is huge because he deals with human beings, who can be terribly unpredictable.
One of Elrufai’s strategies that has helped his politics for many years is a reward system that encourages hardwork and frowns at laziness. Those who made efforts in the struggle for victory are hardly forgotten by Elrufai. If there is no extra space in his government to place a hardworking politician, there would, at least be a letter of commendation. This mark of respect for your contributions to victory is will still be rewarded when the time is ripe, definitely . Anyone without this kind of stop-gap political strategem should not bother thinking about becoming an Elrufai successor.
I foresee a total overhaul of the political space of Kaduna by 2023. And the reason is simple: People will ask any aspiring successor of Elrufai to show proof of community service projects or infrastructure to justify his or her aspiration. There will definitely be questions about how much such an aspiring successor has done for the advancement of health, education, small-scale or medium enterprises. There will be questions as to whether such an aspirant’s support for the poor is evident or not. For instance, how many poor people have you empowered with public or personal resources? Have you ever given support to the mestablishment of viable political structures, where the mass majority have emerged as leaders, at least at the grassroots? Have you ever sacrificed your hours of sleep to aid political victory? This is just a tip of the iceberg because I am so sure the questions will cover many facets of our socio-political and economic lives. If you can give straight answers to these deluge of questions, the dream of becoming an Elrufai successor may be as good as a mirage for you.
Let me address those who are involved in the unnecessary controversy over the Elrufai philosophy of having young men and women dominate the democratic space. Some dullards assume that Elrufai wants just anybody, provided he or she is young to man the office of Kaduna governor. Wrong! For those who heard him well, he was talking about exempting people who are old enough to be resting happily at home in retirement. By saying he wants young people in the corridors of power does not suggest just any young, politically under-exposed democratic infant. He wants politically-exposed men or women who have experience in politicking and the capacity to provide out-of-the-box solutions to a floodgate of challenges. The narrative that Elrufai said he needs just any young man to succeed him is a flat-out lie and whoever embraces this over-the-board claim should have his or her head examined.
On the whole, an Elrufai successor in 2023 must be a respected democrat, with enormous grassroots goodwill that could translate into a rain of votes at the polling units. He or she must have a solid structure not one that is hurriedly put together within months, but one that has been there since the military left for the barracks, at the very least. I dare say that anyone without some of the qualities I mentioned should be ready for his or her first political defeat at the polls. My sincere expectation is that we should not even contemplate the emergence of a governorship candidate with qualities that fall short of the real Elrufai successor for 2023.

Habib wrote from Chikaji in Sabon Gari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

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