Date Published: 05/1710
Shagari: The VP that Nigerians need By Danjuma S Bichi
The last thing that the government of President Goodluck Jonathan can entertain to the detriment of its own image and good name is to squander its remaining one year in office without impacting positively on the lives of Nigerians. And the stage can therefore be said to be unavoidably set for such a historic failure, should the new President fail to pick a competent vice president to assist him to take the country to higher level before 2011.
As things stand now, President Goodluck is reported to have forwarded the name of Governor Namadi Sambo of Kaduna State to the Senate for screening as his deputy. If cleared by the upper legislative chamber, the governor will be sworn in as the new vice president, stepping into the former position of the current President, who was sworn in as president immediately after the demise of Yaradua.
Ordinarily, one will have no objection to the choice of Namadi Sambo as the nation’s number two especially when one considers his achievements in Kaduna State. Nevertheless, there is enough to believe that if Goodluck has picked someone like Alhaji Muktari Shagari, the deputy governor of Sokoto State, the country will benefit more.
Shagari’s track record when he held sway as minister for seven years makes him more qualified than even governors who have served two times. During his supervision of ministries of agriculture and water resources, the country witnesses enormous changes in those sectors. Shagari has also shown that he is a man of abundant skills when elected deputy governor of Sokoto State in 2007.
Nigeria now needs a VP, who has the knowledge of the workings of the federal government, so that within the limited time that is left for the administration to roundup, there will improvements can be seen on the lives of all the citizenry.
This cannot be the time for Goodluck to shop for a governor to help him run the affairs of the country. Besides, those state chief executives who are serving out their first time in office, have already set the mechanism of returning for the second term into motion in their respective states, as such they cannot focus on helping the new president to achieve his objectives before his time lapses, as they will always be taken away by political developments back in their respective states. Consequently, the federal government may therefore be returned to the ignoble past that characterized democracy between 1999 and 2007, where its might was used to stifle the growth of democracy in the states through direct involvement to support political cronies.
Already, Sambo’s selection has triggered speculations in the northern part of the country of a deliberate attempt to distort the power balance in the north-central region, where it is being purported in the newspapers that picking the Kaduna governor was aimed at creating room for minorities to clinch to power in the state beyond 2011. While it is on record that the state has a history of deadly ethno-religious crises, the presidency should not deliberately or unknowingly fan the embers of mistrust in the volatile state as it is being rumoured.
All the more, in view of the enormous task of organizing general elections in 2011, President Goodluck will require supporter not challenger so that he can be able to conduct the credible polls he has been promising Nigerians. Going by the cordial relationship between Muktari Shaga and his principal, Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamako, which has been going on since the duo were voted into office in 2007 by the good people of Sokoto, Shagari can come in very handy for the new president.
Not only this, the former minister’s touch with all the people of the north, which is partly hereditary and partly won because of his humbleness, can help galvanize the necessary support for Goodluck, especially from the core north, to maintain the peace and unity of the country.
As the running mate and former second in command to late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua, President Goodluck, is more than any other Nigerian, the right person to actualize the noble dreams of his former boss. Attesting to that, he after his swearing-in, vowed to keep his predecessor’s legacy alive. Nigerians and the world are watching to see how the new president will fulfill the cardinal principle of their administration – the 7-point agenda.
Danjuma S. Bichi,
Co-ordinator National Peace Group,
No 32, Tarauni, Kano.