Shekarau and the politics of defections

Malam Ibrahim Shekarau needs no introduction in Nigerian politics. He is a former governor of Kano state, former minister of education in the Goodluck Jonathan administration and currently a senator. Shekarau is a political colossus whose experience, eloquence and exceptional performance cannot be questioned. His eight years as governor of Kano, the most populous state in Nigeria, speak volumes about him.

He introduced popular programmes tagged “A daidaita sahu” a societal orientation programme aimed at instilling discipline and good moral values in the people of Kano state. This is one of his unforgettable legacies. The trained teacher turned politician also performed excellently during a debate organised for presidential candidates in 2011 where he emerged first. Besides, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau has built a think tank political group which he refers as “Shura”. The group consists of mostly his loyalists and those who identify with and share his political ideology. He meets with “Shura” before taking any political decision.

Malam Ibrahim Shekarau governed Kano state that produced late political sage, Malam Aminu Kano, and other great politicians such as late Audu Bako, Sabo Bakin Zuwo and Abubakar Rimi. These great politicians, during their time, had carved a niche for themselves and shaped the politics of present Kano. Shekarau who first aligned himself with progressive politics has suddenly abandoned it and morphed into a serial defector. One thought, Shekarau would fit the empty shoe left behind by late Aminu Kano and continue with the struggle to emacipate the downtrodden (talakawa).

Alas, this has not been the case, as he has become a desperate politician looking for relevance. Within the period of less than four years, Shekarau has moved to three political parties, namely, APC, NNPP and PDP, respectively. He cites injustice as the main reason. However, Shekarau is not the only politician guilty of defection, many others are equally guilty. Politics in Nigeria is bereft of ideologies. Our today’s politicians see politics as gravy train for power acquisition and wealth accumulation. That is why they don’t give a damn moving from one political party to another, so long it will put food on their table.

One remembers with nostalgia the politics of first and second republics. Politicians of first and the second republics were driven by party ideologies and passion to serve the people. There were minimal cases of defections as being witnessed today. The NPC, NCNC and NEPU were formed primarily to champion the cause of the common man. These political parties never faltered or derailed from their policies and programmes.

It was during their time that the country recorded tremendous infrastructure development such as the first generational universities. In the second republic, the late President Shehu Shagari led NPN federal government with the logo of house in its flag. He embarked on massive building of low cost and affordable houses for ordinary Nigerians across the country.

The agriculture sector was also accorded the greatest priority it deseved. There was good leadership across the three tiers of government which led to accelerated socio-economic development in the country. Most of those politicians elected under the first and second republics ensured parties’ programmes were implemented to the fullest.

Nonetheless, our today political parties are being formed just to capture power so also the greedy politicians to control resources. In Nigeria, an elected governor, senator or member of state house of assembly will just wake up overnight and defect to another party without losing his/her seat. The reason is that, there are no consequences for such actions.

In developed democracies, politicians never contemplate defecting. The laws are there for whoever tries it. For Senator Ibrahim Shekarau and his co-defectors, their actions will deflate or diminish their integrity and political acceptability. It is reported that some of his die-hard supporters and political loyalists have refused to join him. With time, his political base will collapse as nobody will endure moving with him.

Ibrahim Mustapha,
Kaduna state