BY RAYYANU BALA
A few weeks ago, Senator Umaru Tanko AL-makura as is characteristic of him, came out amiably before the people of his ward (Gayam ward) in Lafia local government area of Nasarawa state to declare formally his intention to vie for the national chairmanship of the All Progressive Change (APC). Before this formal declaration, Senator Al-makura was quoted severally and at various forums to have made his intention to contest for the office of the national chairmanship of the APC known to all and sundry. Many groups and associations had since then trooped out to drum their support for his noble aspiration.
Some political pundits in Nasarawa state viewed this Lafia formal declaration by Senator Al-makura as not only a right step in the right direction but also, a masterstroke considering the fact that grassroots support is very crucial and important in the quest for realization of any aspiration in life, not least political aspiration.
Of course, Senator Al-makura’s formal declaration in Lafia has all the hallmark of a great politician who has all the savoir-faire of advanced politics as what played out there at the occasion of his declaration was reminiscent of George Washington’s October 3, 1789, Thanksgiving proclamation for the people of United States.
Against this backdrop, it is not only incongruous but very preposterous for one to assume or believe that Senator Al-makura’s coming down to his local government to declare for the exalted position of national chairman of APC is ‘silly and unwise’. It is also ridiculous for anyone to believe that by declaring in Lafia, Senator Al-makura has reduced the office of national chairman of a ruling party to nihility which, in the words of the peddlers is an “emblem of a local champion”.
Even though all politics are local, Senator Al-makura by his antecedent is not a local champion. He is one politician who knows all about Nigerian politics right from the second republic. He participated actively in running the affairs of NPN when he served as a youth leader. Since then, Senator Al-makura, except for his short sojourn in the business circle, has been in partisan politics and at the very top level all his life. He was overwhelmingly elected into the Constituent Assembly representing Lafia- Obi federal constituency in 1988-1989. Senator Al-makura served as state secretary of the National Republican Convention (NRC) Plateau state from 1990-1992. He is also a founding member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Nasarawa state.
In his eight years as governor of Nasarawa state, Senator Al-makura has proved to all, that he is one politician who put both the interest of his party and his people over and above all primitiveness. How he managed the PDP-dominated House of Assembly and their onslaught climaxing in the impeachment saga left even his ardent enemies in awe to date. His eight years also demonstrated to all, that Senator Al-makura is a crisis manager. Nothing perhaps, brought out Al-makura’s doggedness in managing crisis than during the Ombatse onslaught when dozens of security personnel were gruesomely massacred in cold blood at Alakyo. How Senator Al-makura was able to quench the calamity which was about to consume the entire state as a result of that massacre left many spellbound considering what happened in Odi, Bayelsa state, and in Zaki- Biam,Benue state.
Senator Al-makura’s tenacity in managing crisis did not only stop in Nasarawa state but extended to the national scene. He proved this when he was assigned to head peace and reconciliation committee for North East following a crisis arising from the APC governorship primaries. In all the six geo-political zones, North- East has the largest governorship aspirants but within a bleak of an eye, Senator Al-makura was able to reconcile and bring peace to North- East APC, to the satisfaction and admiration of all. Even the then APC national chairman Adams Oshiomhole acknowledged Al-makura’s prowess when he commended members of the committee for being the first to submit their report.
To further elucidate the volumes of work his committee was able to carry out within the shortest possible time, Senator Al-makura, while submitting his report to Adams Oshiomhole at APC National Secretariat on Monday, December 10, 2018, said his committee received presentations from more than 350 aggrieved persons. “We are happy to say that members made presentations and we were blunt, honest, and open. We gave everyone the opportunity to air their own views and grievances with a view to making necessary recommendations to the national headquarters of the party”, Senator Al-makura further added. For Senator Al-makura to achieve this feat to the extent of even getting accolade from Adams Oshiomhole showed the level of commitment and loyalty he (Al-makura) possesses towards the APC.
Of course, Senator Al-makura achieved another feat in Ekiti similar to the feat he achieved for the APC in North-East. At the heat of bitter rivalry among dozens of governorship aspirants in Ekiti APC, Senator Al-makura was summoned by the national secretariat of the APC to go to Ekiti and exhibit the skillfulness he is known for. Dutifully Senator Al-makura headed to Ekiti, at the risk of his personal life, to conduct APC primary. On arrival at Ekiti, Senator Al-makura was faced with two options- to retreat or to surrender. He vowed never to surrender; he retreated and later stormed Ekiti again and like an army general, Senator Al-makura conquered Ekiti against all odds, he conducted the freest primary election that saw the emergence of the present governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
Many people thought that conducting a primary election in Ekiti APC would not be possible but Senator Al-makura made what seemed impossible to be possible. What Senator Al-makura did in North East and in Ekiti for the APC is his stuff.
What you think is impossible to achieve, if it is in the interest of the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari, please call Senator Al-makura, he will make that thing possible, by the special grace of God.
Senator Al-makura is truly, the only person that delivered his state to President Buhari’s CPC; he is the first governor that hosted all the governors on the merger train to a meeting in Lafia. His state, Nasarawa was the only state CPC presented on the merger table during negotiations. In fact, Senator Al-makura is about the only governor who traversed the length and breadth of this country trying to ensure that the merger train arrives at the desired destination; and this came to fruition in 2015.
A man that has all the political exposures since 1999, and achieves virtually all for the APC cannot be branded as a local champion. Truly there is nothing APC can do to compensate Senator Al-makura for his entire efforts than to allow him occupy the office of the national chairman; anything short of this, is but an injustice to a man who offers all his best for the advancement of a political party he believes in.