Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State, even without meeting him personally, one can reasonably say, is an interesting personality. A well exposed and very confident man who, based on what we have seen so far, could be a good contender for the ‘Best Performing Governor’ after one year; and that’s if such award makes any sense anyway. That aside, he is a man that has a clear insight of the destination he wants to take Nasarawa State to, an El Dorado of sorts. The beauty of it all is that, with his knowledge, experience and exposure, he seems to be quite certain about the route to that vision: hard work, dedication, commitment and persistency, in spite of any odds. A man who can dedicate over 30 per cent of the budget to education understands that the epicentre of societal development is human capital.
Recently, I was hit by a viral report of what he said about “second tenure,” “returning to US or Saudi Arabia to enjoy himself” and based on that report, he specifically said “he doesn’t care about second tenure,” and all the other things that followed that story. Reading that piece, I knew that Sule, by just observing him, shows signs of a very confident personality, the only problem is being confident is a quality that could be misread as being egoistical – an emotion, which can be a good weapon sometimes in human relations, since people can use you as a carpet if you don’t hold your ground well. Anyway, I am seriously doubting that he made that statement as reported. Well, I’m waiting to be proved right or wrong. But if you ask me, I want to believe he never made that statement or maybe it was reported out of context. The reason is that his comment does not sit well, even with his vociferous supporters; and of course, just imagine how good his opponents would be feeling. If in truth he did make that comment, it means that something must have gone wrong, and the first culprit is provocation. We shall come back to this anyway.
Governor Sule appears to me a man who is just innocent of the level of subterfuge, skirmishes, betrayals, etc, that are the hallmarks of political play, and this is obtainable anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, he has come with genuine intentions to change the condition of living of his people, taking up things from where his predecessor stopped, and that is quite instructive. I don’t know how much he knows and has mastered political power play before he entered politics, but I should think he is too fine a gentleman for the brand of power play obtainable in this clime. If he doesn’t know too much of Nigerian politics, I suggest he must learn the ropes fast.
Politicians want power by all means, and you can imagine the extent they can go to achieve that. He should also understand – in the first place – that a lot of people are not happy he is the governor: even some who profess to be his supporters and sometimes from some quarters least expected. For those people, their right was ceded to Sule. So, because of the megalomaniac tendency of some politicians, they will not rest in their effort to discredit a performing governor. The reason is that they want to take over, and there is nothing wrong about that. In achieving this, they deliberately and illicitly stoke up the fire from behind, while their paid agents appear at the forefront to unleash the machinations of their godfathers.
They do that in many ways, including planting of moles and espionage in the existing structure. In essence, as a leader, you need to be psychologically and spiritually fortified to fight the ever-raging battle. Doing this does not stop at merely doing well as a governor; though that is the sine qua non of good leadership. One of the most effective, yet simple ways you can fortify yourself as a leader is never to get into frenzy and react angrily, just like the story seemed to have painted. Yes, when you do and take wrong steps or make wrong comments, they pop Champaign: “Good – our plans are paying off – we will hold him on that. He said he is not interested in second tenure.”
That’s the only thing he has ever said, they would want to hinge on. They are preparing their arsenals!
You see, as someone who follows him, I would like Gov. Sule to understand one thing, maybe he has never thought about it. Politicians are more idealist than realist. An idealist politician is averse to reality. He is infused with the mentality of the “end justifies the means” – for him, anything goes, gaskiya ne. A realist, just like our friend Sule, believes in the Will of Allah, no matter what his ambition is. While this is a revered quality, in life, too much to the left or vice versa is a poor political quality. In this sense, a good politician is both an idealist and a realist. With these two dispositions, you can better see political play with two sets of binoculars, and in reality do better analysis of developments.
Now, back to the issue of whether he made that comment or not, and if he did, from the tone of the report – which I cannot say who wrote it, if it is from his team, any other journalist or even from opposition – one thing is clear, he could have said that out of anger. “Anger” is like a bull. It goes on demolishing without control, and maybe by the time the stock is taken, it would have been too late. Comparatively, “calmness” in the face of provocation is the mark of a lion. A lion does not act in anger, it thinks: puts so many other things into consideration before it acts. That’s why the first thing the lion does in the face of opposition is to retreat back a little, before it pounces at such enemy. It is during that strategic retreat that it considers how to launch an attack; or better still leave the foolish enemy, who mayn’t have known the power of who it was provoking.
Again, from my own understanding and based on what I know about congenial Sule, it is possible he may never have made that statement as reported, especially in this era of insipid fake news. But if he did, and I will like to say, a statement made out of provocation, it should be discountenanced. That was like a dream act, and in the world of dreams, everything is possible.
But a word for the opposition here. The game is already won and lost. A good fighter waits for another day. Instead of chasing shadows, he goes back to the drawing table and re-strategizes on how to approach the battle next time around. Let them allow him to play his wing in the game he has just been selected as a member of the team. Watch him play, if he doesn’t play well at the end of the game, the coach can field another person to replace him.
I would finally like to let my friend Sule know that, in an ideal sense, the masses (electorate) who voted him into power will decide if anyone could go for a second term or not; because it is based on quality performance (which he is not far from) and not by oral platitudes. If the people want any politician back, they know what to do. Yet, before then, let him pay full concentration as the driver at the wheel of Nasarawa State, and never mind rattling passengers who want to confuse the driver into having an accident. Who knows, some of them could be witches and wizards: who may not even sustain injury if an accident happens, or might even disappear.
•Jon, a public affairs analyst, lives in Abuja