By Lawal Sa’idu Funtua
When in 1802 Usman bin Fodio was forced on exile to Gudu forest, west of Gobir, with him on that exile was the fate of a revolution that would change the socio-political and spiritual life of a whole sub-continent forever. Had he remained on exile, or heeded precautions by some of his disciples, the destiny of a billion people in time would have been buried in the annuls of history. And his breed would have been a conquered folk.
Though daunted by the burden of spearheading a social reform, he feared that if he remained in Gudu his would be an abandoned cause — which many of his lieutenants would not condone — so he had no option but to regroup the merchants of revolution and march back to Gobir … and the rest is history. Ground soliders and other pawns on the chess board of life can retire to the background, but Generals can not, social reformers must not. And when they do, the destiny of a nation is aborted.
Last week I read, and many did with much reservation, an interview on a national daily where Rt. Hon. Aminu Bello Masari said he would retire from politics after 2023. Though this decision may be rooted in the idea of his successful outing on the political podium, it is still not a good idea when placed in the context of its implications on the rest of us; for this is not the best time for good men to leave the scene.
The dark clouds of uncertainty are already hovering above the horizon, and the closer 2023 gets the bleaker it would look. This is no time for gamble. Wise men well groomed in the art of governance must step forward to captain this ship out of troubled waters. It is at such periods in the history of nations that heroes are made, and when the supposed heroes retreat to the background villains seize the moment.
As politicians across regional and partisan divides renegotiate alliances towards victory come 2023, citizens and politicians alike must not overlook the good governance factor which is the essence of politics. They must sieve out a quintessential model for sustainable socio-economic growth, and desperately plot towards replicating it at the national level as though it is our last chance as a nation. And who could tell if it is.
That super model, I and a million others insist, can best be found in Katsina State which currently undergoes a comprehensive social reengineering that has not left out any facet of human and material development. It is a model that recognizes the indispensability of education to social transformation. In the last four years, the state’s education sector has received unprecedented attention in terms of resources and reforms.
20% of the state’s revenue has been committed to this end for four consecutive years, despite education being a sector that does not turn in quick results for the electorate to see and applaud. In some instances investments sown in the education sector take six to ten years to reap, but once they do the results are so evident. Sinking resources in this sector is not the business of politicians but statesmen.
The security component of this model is another reason to look towards Katsina for inspiration in matters of good governance. In the years preceding 2015 parts of the state had become semi-colonies ruled by bandit warlords that at one time converted a village into a human abbatoir where they slaughtered over 150 people at a go, in a village called Sabonlayin Galadima.
Once the Masari administration came on board and rolled out series ofy combatant and non-combatant measures to end the menace it was stamped out by 2016, until it spilled over from Zamfara State in 2018 when bandits terrorized communities on the Zamfara-Katsina border. That too was fought to a minimum in a joint operation between the Katsina, Zamfara and the federal government.
The success story is a common factor across all other sectors, particularly health, agric, water resources, works housing, and environment. Evidently it was for good reason that Aminu Bello Masari was returned as the only one-million-vote governor in 2019 — a feat that is almost unheard of in the history of politicking in Nigeria. These records in governance and politics alike, and the need to replicate them at the national level, present a superior argument which Masari should not overlook — unless if he cares less to abort the destiny of a nation.Lawal saidu funtua is a veteran journalist based in katsina can be reached at 07067362977