As a student of Nigerian politics, I know as a matter of fact that, nothing distracts elected leaders, either as President, governor, legislator or even council chairman more than the thought of facing the next round of elections.
The rigors and attendant uncertainties make most of them begin planning for their return long before they are halfway into their very first tenures. I also know that, most political quarrels arose from struggles for succession or the quest to seek additional terms of office by incumbents
Example abound of political squabbles between additional term seekers, especially state governors and their godfathers or with those interested in taking a shot at the seats. Such disagreements were often at the expense of the progress and development of such states.
Any leader, especially a state governor, who has genuine intentions to develop his or her state, will try to avoid the pitfalls of having to pick early quarrels over second tenure.
Very often, people disregard the place of God and the roles of the electorate in determining what happens. Any leader who places God first and reckons with the mood of his people will hardly place his or her ambition high and above what God may do, or what the electorate may decide.
The avoidable quarrels over second term have tended to derail hitherto good intentions of leaders. I tried to x-ray the recent statement credited to Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, to the effect that he was not keen on a second term, but would rather work to justify the current tenure
In my understanding, that remark was meant to explain that, unlike others, he does not enjoy the luxury of acting to endear himself to people for the next round of election, rather, he would rather face the immediate task of restoring law and order and resettling his people.
And I am convinced that, because the professor is not known to make political statements, what he said was the outflow of his honest inner contemplation, in the face of obvious challenges and threats of frustration to his efforts. But some people tried to promote that statement as a narrative that the governor will not seek a second term.
That narrative is already gaining currency amongst some people, who may already be living in self-deception that there may be a vacancy in Government House, Maiduguri in 2023. It was more out of sheer patriotic zeal and his uncompromising disposition to issues of his citizens’ welfare, much more than it was an abdication, that Professor Zulum made that remark.
As the good Muslim that he is, he knows that tomorrow is in the hands of God, just as who will be the governor by 2023 is also known to God alone. As a public servant, he also knows that the people will eventually decide whether they have had enough of him by 2023.
To imply in any way, that he is not interested in second term is rather presumptuous and too early in the day to make. There is no doubt that Professor Zulum is the shining example, as far as political leadership in Nigeria is concerned today.
Governor Zulum has made landmark pronouncements that have potentials to address problems being faced by Borno State.
He has made celebrated outings as governor, placing the interest of his people high and above every other consideration. It baffles me that, of the so many good things he did and or said, none has elicited interest, as much as his honest expression to the effect that, second term is a secondary consideration in the face of the challenges facing Borno.
It is not enough to isolate that statement made in the face of a development that is threatening to frustrate the governor’s efforts and draw conclusions.
With what Governor Zulum has done so far, and what he is bound to do before 2023, I feel that those who want to read meanings out of that honest expression, in order to score cheap political goals, may have to wait for long.
Governor Zulum and his team have been doing so well, if this tempo is sustained, we may not need any change now or in 2023.
As a team with citizen-centered development approach, Governor Zulum’s lieutenants have lifted the bar of leadership in Borno higher and it is the people who will eventually speak. In a nutshell, there will be no vacancy in Government House, Maiduguri by 2023.