The All Progressives Congress, APC, gubernatorial candidate for Katsina State, Umar Dikko Radda, PhD, not too long ago flagged off his governorship campaign in Faskari, Katsina South Senatorial District, an area seriously plagued by bandits and similar unsavoury elements who continue to torment our fellow countrymen and women of the zone and elsewhere in the state.
At the time, Dr. Radda had been derided by the opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, as merely trying to impress the Katsina electorate, albeit in a manner considered quite ill-advised from the standpoint of his own personal safety, more so considering that Faskari is one of the local government areas in which over one hundred of our fellow citizens were mindlessly butchered sometime back in 2015.
Shrugging off the putrid antics of his detractors, Dr. Radda insisted on being physically present in the various communities, towns and villages across the length and breadth of Katsina, directly engaging the people he wants to lead and is asking to entrust their mandate to him.
This saw him forging ahead with his campaign into places like Batsari, Safana, Jibia, Danmusa and others that have largely remained no go areas for his rivals who cowardly prefer to stay back in the comfort and security of the state capital and other big urban centers, insisting those they should be soliciting votes from should still be the ones to come to them!
Indeed, Dr. Radda’s mien, carriage and general disposition in his campaign engagements have seen him showcasing sterling leadership qualities that are fast becoming a rarity in Nigerian politics.
While stoically taking the quite bellicose and shamefully baseless attacks of the PDP on his person and campaign in his stride, Dr. Radda has studiously remained on message, carrying the good people of Katsina along on exactly what he wants to do for them as their next Governor.
Indeed, his abhorrence of violence, personal discipline and the infusion of a high standard of decorum into his political activities are most exemplary, especially against the backdrop of an opposition that seems hellbent on further deepening division and strife in a state already facing serious security challenges.
Apart from his longstanding grassroots orientation, Dr. Radda’s impeccable public service career, which reveals a trajectory from classroom teacher to the highest levels of public administration, coupled with his truly impressive academic attainments and intellectual acumen, all combine to place him miles ahead of his main rival in all ramifications.
I had found it quite touching to learn from a colleague of mine how Dr. Radda has been a major victim of the horrid violence bandits and other disruptive elements have most diabolically unleashed on the citizens of Katsina.
Not only was his elder brother brutally murdered by bandits, another sibling of his was kidnapped and had to be ransomed from their custody.
Dr. Radda could have succumbed to the trauma of such deep personal loss, given up on his home state, and simply relocated to Abuja or Lagos, or, even abroad, for that matter.
That he has, instead, stubbornly remained on ground and now thrown his hat into the ring to lead his people in this trying period is an unmistakable exemplar of genuine selflessness on his part.
Frankly, there really should be no contest in the Katsina gubernatorial election.
Where Dr. Radda is a towering academician with an authentic and verifiable PhD to his credit, his main opponent, the PDP’s Senator Garba Yakubu Lado is a product of privilege with very little to show by way of personal achievement.
In fact, the PDP flagbearer, who in his Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, documentation, claims he was born in 1961, apparently began his secondary school education at age 24, having completed secondary school in 1990, despite having been born with a silver spoon!
Indeed, where Dr. Radda is a true man of the people, Senator Lado has been riding on the back of his father’s political connections throughout his political career, with very little he can boast of having actually achieved on his own.
In the meantime, his party and supporters have been unleashing violence, menace and mayhem on Katsina in the name of electioneering.
In the last eight years, Governor Aminu Bello Masari has been at his wits end toiling endlessly and accomplishing much for Katsina state despite the scourge of banditry and widespread insecurity ravaging his jurisdiction.
At the very least, what Katsina requires going forward is someone capable of securing and consolidating on what has been achieved, thus far.
In Dr. Umar Dikko Radda, the people of Katsina have a tried and tested man of character and experience, knowledge and imagination, they can be confident will surpass that.
Onokpasa, a lawyer and member, All Progressives Congress, APC, Presidential Campaign Council, writes from Abuja.
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