In these tours, Bafarawa has come face to face with the state of infrastructure in the two zones of the country. He has seen the state of the federal roads in the East.
The former governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Attahiru Dalhatu Bafarawa, is unarguably one of the most patriotic Nigerians of our time. Whenever the country is besotted by testy issues, Bafarawa is always one of the strident voices that will intervene on the side of the people. He always puts Nigeria and its peoples first.
READ ALSO: Sultan confirms son’s auto crash in Sokoto
In recent weeks, he has taken an uncommon step. He has been touring the length and breadth of the country. The significant thing here is that he is not hopping in and out of airplanes. He is embarking on the tours by road. Bafarawa has a reason for this. He says he wants to know the true situation of things in Nigeria. He wants to have a firsthand knowledge of the problem of the people. He wants to connect with the people in their local environments.
The experience has, so far, produced amazing results. From north to south, there have been huge stories to tell. But Bafarawa’s tour of South East and South South states has been most revealing. From Enugu to Abakaliki. From Awka to Owerri down to Umuahia. From Port Harcourt to Yenagoa. And from Uyo to Calabar, the discoveries have been humbling. In these tours, Bafarawa has come face to face with the state of infrastructure in the two zones of the country. He has seen the state of the federal roads in the East. Most of them are in very bad state.
Gullies mostly occasioned by floods have eaten up the roads, thus making most of them impassable. In some cases, traffic gridlocks could prolong a journey of two hours to five or six hours. Road travelers have been having a hell of experience. And this was what Bafarawa has had to experience through the tours. His experience on Ikot Ekpene-Itu-Calabar highway was almost nightmarish. The narrow and dilapidated highway has been rendered impassable by the elements to the extent that heavy duty vehicles fall freely on this road. While Bafarawa and his entourage were travelling from Owerri through the Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene corridor to Calabar, fallen trucks halted vehicular movement and grounded the highway. A journey of about four hours ended up lasting over nine hours.
But the salutary thing in all this is that the experience did not weigh down Bafarawa. Rather, it energized and strengthened him. If you thought he would be weak and sapped after the gruelling experience, then you must be wrong. He was unruffled. Instead, he bubbled with more energy. That is very uncommon for a man like Bafarawa who is used to comfort. The experience ushered in a new reality. He has seen what the common people go through. He felt their pain. He identified with them. And he has promised that he would embark on massive road rehabilitation across the country if he is voted into power. Significantly, Bafarawa did not gloat about his ability to go through the harrowing experience without qualms. But he challenged other presidential aspirants to try to experience what he has experienced. He mocks those of them who are disconnected from the people. He wants them to come down from their high horse and be at one with those they aspire to lead.
The Bafarawa approach is truly worthy of emulation. It should be copied by every other person who aspires to rule Nigeria. With this experience, Bafarawa cannot go into office and sleep easy without addressing this dehumanizing condition of the Nigerian people. And of course, since Bafarawa has promised to address this problem, we have to believe him. He will always do what he says. He is a man of his words. While he was the governor of Sokoto State, he demonstrated capacity in this regard.
He constructed over one thousand kilometres of roads, a feat that earned him the name “road master.” He is poised to tame the roads again and bring us comfort. What is left is for us to play our part by voting him into office. If we do that, we can be sure that the man will not disappoint us.
The tours have also brought to public knowledge another aspect of Bafarawa. He is not given to primitive display of wealth. At this time that delegates to the national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are expecting to be bought by aspirants to various elective offices, Bafarawa has told them in clear terms that no one should expect any money from him. He has cautioned that people should not sell their conscience in exchange of money. His message is that the delegates should make an informed decision.
They should choose candidates based on merit.They should consider the backgrounds and track records of the contestants and settle for the best. Money should not be the deciding factor. Since a people get the kind of leadership they deserve, the good people of Nigeria should ensure that they go for quality people who will give them good service.
Bafarawa is at all times, interested in making Nigeria better. As the debate over restructuring rages, Bafarawa has a simple solution. He has said that he will embrace restructuring if he is given the opportunity to serve. He said he will do this not necessarily by instituting a national conference. He reasons that previous conferences have given us all that we are looking for.
The only problem is that their reports have never been implemented. Bafarawa has said that his government will synthesize the reports of the various national conferences and isolate the best aspects of them for implementation. Bafarawa will always do what he says and he knew the issues. As a member of the national conference of 1994-1995, Bafarawa had knowledge of how certain decisions were arrived at. He will bring his wealth of experience to bear in this regard. And we will look forward to a new and restructured Nigeria under the Bafarawa presidency.
For those who know Bafarawa, this expectation should be taken for granted. He is an apostle of good governance. He understands the fact that agitation and restiveness will always set in once a bad leader is in place. The ongoing agitation for restructuring, though justified, was largely given rise to by the misgovernance of the present administration. In a situation where citizens are left out of governance, they are bound to look for a new order that will accommodate them. Bafarawa envisions a new Nigeria where there will be no sense of alienation and rejection.
READ ALSO: Osinbajo and the restructuring debate
He will run an inclusive government that will put every Nigerian on the same wavelength. His road tour is aimed at achieving this objective. He does not want anybody to ride the high horse at the expense of the people. Nigerians need to give him a chance. He may end up being the messiah we are looking for.
Buba writes from Sokoto