Hajiya Najaatu Mohammed, former coordinator of APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), representing civil society organization, has stirred the hornet nest in an interview she granted recently on why she resigned her appointment as a member of PCC. In the interview, Najaatu stated that she travelled to London to meet the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who pleaded with her to join his campaign team. After she met him, Najaatu asked him if he had any “blueprint” for the North. To her surprise, Tinubu told her pointblank that he did not have. Also, in more than two hours in which the meeting lasted, Najaatu stated that Tinubu could not even respond well enough to a conversation. Whether Najaatu Mohammed statement on what transpired between her and Tinubu is true or false, Northern Nigeria with 19 states and a good voting strength wants to know Tinubu’s plan for the region.

  Although leading contenders in all the major political parties have promised to tackle the north multi-faceted challenges, Tinubu is yet to tell us how he will do his. For instance, how does Tinubu intend to address the problem of insecurity, the menace of almajiri, and poverty plaguing the region? While the Buhari administration has been able to technically defeat Boko Haram insurgents in Northeast, the violent activities of bandits in Katsina, Zamfara, Niger, and other parts of Kaduna State have become matter of great concern. Tinubu should tell us his blueprint aimed at nipping in the bud the monster of banditry in the north. It is estimated that over 10 million children in the North are roaming the street without education. They constitute a nuisance in the region and can be used as political thugs by desperate politicians. We are yet to see any blueprint from Tinubu’s campaign organization on how these children will be kept off the street.

  Despite the fact President Buhari came from the North, his nearly eight years in power has not addressed the high rate of poverty in the region. The recent report from the National Bureau for Statistics (NBS) on multi-dimensional poverty which places Zamfara as the most impoverished in the country, says the obvious facts about the region’s growing poverty. When Tinubu’s political campaign train arrived Kano, he ordered for music to be played and he danced. Instead of engaging in issue-based campaign, Tinubu turned himself to a dancer. This is unbecoming of any serious candidate who wants to govern a great country like Nigeria. At the end of his campaign, Tinubu neither told his supporters who trooped in their thousands what he had for them nor the North. The North will not be taken to the gallery any more. The region, like any other parts of the country, is battling with myriad of problems ranging from insecurity, poverty to illiteracy. Najaatu Mohammed and any right thinking northerner needs to know what our front lines candidates, including Tinubu, have for the region.

  Nigerian democracy is evolving so also the political culture. The leadership failure being witnessed in the country since the return of democracy has necessitated the need to interrogate our presidential candidates on their programs for the well-being of Nigerians.

Ibrahim Mustapha, Pambegua, Kaduna State

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