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Kebbi Deserves Abubakar Malami

Kebbi Deserves Abubakar Malami

After the unprecedented agriculture revolution executed by Governor Abubakar Bagudu’s administration in Kebbi State in the last six years, the state has rightly become an agriculture hub in the country. Through a fruitful collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria, Governor Bagudu has uplifted small-scale farmers in the state, especially rice farmers, who have been so successful that sky-high pyramids of rice dot the state.

Bagudu, a successful businessman in his own right, would be leaving deep footprints as governor when he leaves office in May 2023 after completing a highly successful two terms in office. His temperate and purposeful leadership of the All Progressive Governors Forum would also certainly be missed across the country. He has portrayed himself as a true progressive politician who believes in the strength of a united Nigeria. Through him, the state has also been shown in a similar light.

In 2023, Kebbi State deserves a governor with proven capacity to take the state further up on the ladder of progress and not one that would drag it back into the inconsequential obscurity it had languished in before Bagudu.

Thanks to his performance as the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami has aroused a determined media and civil society inquisition of his person and state, and succeeded in firmly implanting himself and the state in the consciousness of the country.

For obvious reasons, no appointee of President Muhammadu Buhari has faced such sustained scrutiny as Malami. It’s a testament to his integrity and leadership potential that he has emerged unscathed and is still one of Buhari’s trusted aides.

For someone who came straight from the private sector to serve as the minister of justice at one of the most perilous times in the history of the country, Malami has discharged and acquitted himself in remarkable fashion.

He took on the legal establishment which saw him as an outsider, fought political hawks and jobbers preying on the Buhari administration, and responded to media suspicion of his vision and modus operandi all at once. For nearly seven years, he has been on his toes, staying alert and waiting for darts he was sure would be thrown at him by his self-motivated detractors.

In the midst of the turbulence of his office, Malami had demonstrated an astounding tenacity and commitment to the ideals of the Buhari administration, which to me, is an indication of his rare leadership qualities. This is why he has been able to achieve the objectives of the Buhari administration as they relate to his office.

Whether it is repatriating Nigeria’s stolen funds back to the country, dealing with terrorism and crimes or making new laws and executive orders to achieve the goals of the Buhari administration, Malami’s legacies are undeniable.

Now, after eight years of serving his country, Malami has been asked to turn his attention to his native state of Kebbi in order to replicate his success at the centre.

Kebbi State, which was created out of Sokoto State in 1991, has remained in the shadows of the Caliphate for too long largely on account of rudderless and docile leadership. Kebbi has remained, like its previous leaders; tractable, uncompetitive and easily bypassed in regional and national discourse until Bagudu entered the Government House.

But as Bagudu prepares to exit after an eventful tenure, Kebbi State deserves no one else to succeed him than a man who is capable of sprinting through the thorns of running a modern state.

There’s no disputing that Kebbi State possesses many qualified and competent persons capable of running the state as governor. But who among those currently aspiring to be governors in the state has Malami’s pedigree and track record? Who among the crowd of aspirants can boast of his capacity to conceive and deliver policy objectives as he had done under the Buhari administration?

Who among them has conceived and executed a charity policy that benefitted thousands of his people and raised many out of poverty as Malami has done with his Kebbi-based foundation? The foundation has succeeded in supporting over 6000 people who gained COVID-19 intervention of N550,000 each, about N3.2 billion in total.

Through this and other interventions, Malami’s foundation has made over 500 people millionaires in Kebbi State. It is no exaggeration because the records are there and the people are there to confirm it.

This is why the people have clamoured for him to join the governorship race in order to institutionalize his vision for poverty alleviation at the state level. It was a call that the people ensured he could not ignore.

Even though he has never said it, Buhari may have been Malami’s biggest influence in his determination to run for the office of governor of Kebbi State. Having been with him as his lawyer before he became president, Malami must have felt similar empathy for the poor northern electorates who had always given their votes to Buhari since 2007.

When Malami decided to pick the governorship form of the APC recently, he said, rightly, that he was heeding the call of the people. If he had refused to heed the call, it would have been a snub of the people for which his conscience may never forgive him. But even more importantly, it would have left the field for aspirants without abilities to decide the fate of his state for the next four years.

It would have also been a betrayal of his own vision and desire to lift his people out of abject poverty. What he said in Birnin Kebbi last week encapsulated his vision and what drives him to run for elective office.

He told an audience who visited him at his residence that, “… they are busy over the time destroying the lives of our youth, providing them with drugs.

“We have been busy over time supporting our teeming youths with offers, in terms of offers of employment; we have succeeded in supporting over 700 people across the state who gained employment.

“They have been busy destroying while we have been constructing, we have succeeded in constructing over 200 boreholes across the state, and we are supporting the state by way of creating over 500 millionaires across the state.”

If there’s anyone among those angling to contest for governor of the state who can beat his record, let such person presents himself/herself and challenge Malami at the polls. But if there’s none, no one should deny Kebbi the opportunity of a Malami governorship. He deserves it and Kebbi deserves him.

– Tajudeen Suleiman is an Abuja-based journalist.

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Disclaimer: This article is entirely the opinion of the writer and does not represent the views of Mc Ebisco.

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