By Calvin Anadio Lawan
Between 1966 up until 1976 when Mao Zedong’s policy of “Great Leap Forward” reigned supreme in China, upwards of 45 million people literally starved to death with millions more reduced to a desperate cannibalism. In fact both Stalin and Hitler were outdone by Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution in terms of mass murder.
By 1978 after Mao’s death, Deng Xiaoping created special economic zones which became engines of growth for the Chinese economy. He made the now famous declarations that “It doesn’t matter whether the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.” From then, China never looked back.
From abject poverty, and social disarray, China leap to become the second most powerful nation on earth, and it is still rising.
Confucius said and I quote “faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage.”
I am one of those who were fascinated with Dr. Umar Ardo’s manifesto “Coming to the Rescue” and I think the only one who took time to analyze and shed more light on the importance of the mission and vision for a greater Adamawa state.
I have had people called to applaud Dr. Ardo’s sterling qualities, brilliance, principles, and all that BUT: they kept mouthing this sentiment about the impossibility of a Fulani man becoming the Governor in Adamawa state ahead of the ‘Kabila” citing numerical strengths and other issues of non-consequence.
My response has always been “what are our sincerest expectations from our political leaders? Their ethnicity/religious affiliations or their core competence?” I think there’s unanimity in the responses I get, the leader’s core competence.
Why then do people hold unto these sentiments? Let me hazard a guess. Our ruling elites have been able to constantly profit politically not by anything done in favor of the masses but by driving wedges into the masses’ psyche. They dumb down the essence of the requisite competence of the leaders, upholding our polarization as being sacrosanct.
I have asked these questions before. Adamawa state is divided into how many parts exactly? Do we have Adamawa ‘Kabila’ and Adamawa ‘Fulani’? Do we have Adamawa ‘Christian’, on one hand and Adamawa ‘Muslim’ on the other hand? The truth is, we only have citizens of Adamawa State.
Here are key issues worth everybody’s attention. Our expectations of our leaders are mostly the same.
We all want freedom from the excruciating economic debacle we have found ourselves in presently.
We want to be safe from criminals, terrorists, and ‘Shila’ boys’ menace.
We want a state with clean water and steady power supply.
We want a government that will guarantee that anybody willing to work should be able to find a job that pays a living wage.
We want a government that will guarantee a society where every child can have a genuinely decent education.
It is through this quintessentially economic path of upward progress that we need to seize political leaders offering themselves for public office and not if the person is ‘Kabila’ or Fulani.
When we focus on political spin offs, amplification of our differences in ethnicity/religious affiliations, and go on a search for scandals and miscues, looking for who is ‘Kabila’ or Fulani-the cumulative impact of all these has erode the very competency needed to rescue our state from our present socio-economic maladies.
From what I have observed, Dr. Umar Ardo is a politician who has crossed many huddles and yet has kept his integrity. He has worked with many politicians within the PDP and non-PDP , and by his personal account in “Court & Politics: Chronicling my Experience in the Nigerian Theatre” without being corrupted, garnering support of many political bigwigs without being held captive by special interests.
In Dr. Ardo of the SDP, I see a man of courage and not a Fulani man. I see a man who had understanding of the notion that we’re going through a fundamental economic transformation in Nigeria, taking time and expending resources to see how Adamawa can benefit from this transformation, creating his “Coming to the Rescue Mission & Vision”.
I sat with Dr. Ardo to critique his manifesto, asking him where the pool of funds needed to accomplish his projects and programs as captured in his manifesto is coming from and what he shared with me has bias me in favor of his candidature.
Dr. Ardo displayed a deep knowledge of how advances in digital technology, fiber optics, transportation, and globalization can be deployed to effectively level the economic barriers that have held us down. The trillions of Dollars moving across borders, seeking for governments with market-based reforms to partner with.
What Dr. Ardo presents is an idea that represents a radical break from the past, a severing of the psychological shackles that has held us down economically. The thinking that only‘Kabila’ man/women voted as Governor in 2023 can help all our socio-economic maladies to disappear is a farce.
After all, from 1999 till date, we have had 4 Executive Governors, 3 ‘Kabilas’ with only 1 Fulani. Sadly, our socio-economic realities hasn’t fared any better.
We must grow pass this primordial sentiments and trivialities. What we have had between 2007-2022 has been tinkering around the edges and a tolerance for mediocrity as a result of ethnological battles that is as outdated as they are predictable.
Our task, then, come 2023 is to identify leaders that have the highest impact on achievement, mission & vision with SMART goals as well as avenues to fund the said goals adequately. We need leaders with the requisite competence to eliminate the type of governance that doesn’t produce lasting results.
Fortunately, there’s an alternative approach to all these, one that can recasts our present soci-economic maladies to meet the needs of a new Adamawa State. I find that in DR. Ardo’s “Coming to the Rescue” and I am hoping the other aspirants at all levels could articulate their missions and visions too.
Remember what Zedong said “it doesn’t matter whether the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.” It should not matter what the ethnic/religious affiliation of the candidate is as long as they have the requisite competency to deliver.
Adamawa shall be great.
Lawan writes from Yola.