By Ali Abare
The lingering show of shame by supporters of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nasarawa State, who display nudity unbrazenly, as they supposedly protest the outcome of the 2023 gubernatorial election, should ideally be a source of concern to every well meaning citizen of the state.
Agreed, there is never a perfect election anywhere in the world, not even in the United States of America, the oldest and largest democracy in the world. Former president Donald Trump, after he lost the presidential election to incumbent President Joe Biden, alleged that the election was compromised and it was fraudulent. This is in the US where they have entrenched structures that have been tested for over 200 years.
The 2023 general elections have come and gone. Winners have already been declared awaiting swearing in. Taking to the streets in protest, with women displaying nudity is not only condemnable but an attempt to disrupt the country’s growing democracy.
In fact, the prolonged protest by supporters of the PDP in Nasarawa State is not so much geared towards redressing the outcome of the guber election but a brazen attempt to distract and subsequently derail the administration of His Excellency, Engineer Abdullahi Sule.
With the serial loses suffered by the PDP in 2011, 2015, 2019 and 2023, it has become glaring to the PDP and its handlers that, the party has completely fallen out of favour as far as the people of Nasarawa State are concerned. Therefore, the only viable option left for the party, is to cause disharmony and lawlessness, through which it can appeal to the baser instincts of a gullible few to make another last dict effort to grap power.
That the protest is persisting even after the police authorities proclaimed a ban on such activities, says a lot about the intention of the PDP to cause mayhem and disruption of peace. Obviously, since the PDP cannot get the governorship seat, then let there be no Nasarawa State for anybody to govern.
The elections have come and gone. For the sake of Nasarawa State, every well meaning citizen of the state, should come together irrespective of political divide, to support the Engineer Sule administration towards delivering dividends of democracy.
This is an election that has been rated as fair and transparent, even though there were avoidable glitches, which are common in every election anywhere in the world. Foreign observers from Europe and America that monitored the exercise, in their reports, variously described the election as peaceful and transparent and that Nigerians were allowed to vote for the candidates of their choice. In fact, the 2023 general election was adjudged as one of the most transparent elections in the history of the country.
Agreed, that the opposition PDP has every right to seek redress over perceived lapses but certainly such should be through lawful and constitutional means. Like the party did after the 2019 general election, it is expected that the party should proceed to the election petition tribunal to ventilate its cause.
However, the manner the PDP gubernatorial candidate, Hon David Ombugadu and his handlers, are resorting to extreme measures unknown to the electoral law, serves only to confirm the desperation of a clique of individuals who are unmindful of the consequences of their prebendalism.
Nasarawa State is a state in a hurry to develop. It’s a state that has tremendous potentials and which requires a proven, tested and experienced leadership. Every patriotic and well meaning citizen of the state will readily appreciate the progress so far recorded by successive administrations under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) administrations from 2011 to date.
The Architect of Modern Nasarawa State and immediate past governor of the state, Senator Umaru Tanko Al-makura, braved the odds and succeeded in redirecting the development strategy of the state. It was indeed herculean endeavour for Senator Al-makura to wean the state away from entrenched excessive government expenditure and to focus more on delivering critical infrastructure.
Previous administrations in the state, though to be fair to them, have all contributed their best towards the development of the state but it was after the coming of Senator Al-makura that genuine efforts were made to move Nasarawa State away from its known status of a backward and underperforming state.
Successive administrations from the creation of the state in 1996, have not been able to perform maximally essentially due to lack of state capacity to deal with contemporary complexities of governance. Senator Al-makura came on a mission to redirect governance and political leadership previously driven by self-interest and other primordial considerations. He made public interest top priority, cutting down on the excessive baggage of political office and in the process recorded tremendous improvements in three major areas: security of lives and properties, promotion of the rule of law, and provision of visionary leadership.
This visionary leadership saw to the emergence of the Engineer Sule administration in 2019.
Since coming onboard on May 29, 2019, Engineer Abdullahi Sule has demonstrated enormous dexterity, constant sagacity and astute leadership in steering the affairs of the state. Under his leadership, Nasarawa State is emerging as the new kid on the block, with the state now a critical player to be reckoned with in the development aspirations of not only North Central geo-political zone but the country at large.
Just recently, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) commenced drilling of crude oil in Nasarawa State, a giant leap forward for a state that hitherto appeared moribund due to shortfalls in federation allocation.
It’s on record that the Engineer Sule administration has evolved verifiable strategy, processes and systems, geared towards exploiting and harnessing the abundant God given potentials of the state in the areas of agriculture, solid minerals, investment, youth and public re-orientation for sustainable development.
Like he did when he held sway at the debt ridden now defunct African Petroleum (AP), turning the former oil giant from a negative balance sheet to a positive balance sheet, Engineer Sule is redirecting Nasarawa State on the path of genuine growth and prosperity. The Governor is laying a solid foundation for a prosperous state that will compete favourably with the top five most economically viable states.
It’s therefore baffling that a citizen of the state, who aspires to govern Nasarawa State, would chose to deliberately ignore the fact that, Nasarawa State under the leadership of Engineer Sule has become a source of pride not only to the citizens of the state but the country at large. All the PDP would succeed in doing, is but to ridicule the good people of Nasarawa State before the world.
With the absurdity of the protest and display of nudity, Hon Ombugadu and the PDP are saying that they care less about the development of Nasarawa State. All they are interested in is to acquire naked power by any means necessary, even if it means desecrating the wholeness and sanctity of womanhood.
If truly, Hon Ombugadu and the PDP are desirous of leading Nasarawa State, then they must hasten to end this show of shame where not only grandmothers and mothers are made to go nude in public but a protest that is against the interest and development aspirations of the state.
The INEC has already declared a winner of the gubernatorial election. The path known to law for the PDP is to go to court. Anything short of that is a call to anarchy. Hon Ombugadu and the PDP are only shooting themselves in the foot by insisting on protesting over an election they already lost.
If indeed Hon Ombugadu and PDP genuinely love Nasarawa State, then it’s time to call off the nudity show as well as the protest. The only option viable to the PDP is to proceed with its petition submitted before the election petition tribunal because no amount of protest will change the outcome of the election. Let Hon Ombugadu and the PDP go to court to challenge the outcome of the election. That is the only recognizable path.
Abare is the Special Assistant on Media to the Governor of Nasarawa State.