Sen Adamu Aliero
…How Avoidable Gaffes Cost Him Dearly
By: Aliyu Mamman
His political journey started on a plus. His path was clean, all encompassing and eventful. When the 1999 dispensation began, he and other likeminds who had Kebbi at heart came together to chart a future for the state and, as Allah will have it, the leadership of the state fell on his laps.
He was able to knit the Kebbi political family together and even when he took decisions that were glaringly self serving and not in tandem with the collective interest, every of this family of likeminded elements towed the line.
So, it is right to say, without any fear of contradiction, that Adamu Aliero had the best entry into politics and in a nigh. The only snag, as it is manifesting now, the man that began on a high is, as every indication is showing, using his own hands to destroy all that he has, through dint of hand, ever worked for. Sadly, he is, if he allows megalomania and selfishness to be his watchword, on a self destruct journey to a political abyss.
His first gaffe was not knowing when to apply the break when he is on top speed. He served as Governor for eight solid years and all through, he has established a reputation for not condoning nonsense from any quarter. He took no prisoners at all.
Those who dared him, no matter how flimsiest, lived to tell a story of the tribulations they had suffered when the lion roared. One of them – Sani Dododo is alive to revisit the days he spent in detention on account of expressing a view that was not sweet music to the Captain of the ship then. Aliero had rightly sent the message across the political turf, between 1999 and 2007, that, take it or leave it, he was in charge. People took notice, and also took heed.
His other problem, which to me, underlines his desperation for power and inability to accept the fact that man is fallible and mortal, was his refusal to accept the reality of transience of power. That you were Governor yesterday does not equate to you calling shots all the time and even after you have left power. The nonsense you rightly refused to take from any quarter when you were the Governor should not be visited on a sitting Governor from whatever quarter.
As Governor, Aliero was correctly the leader of Kebbi politics. Today that it’s another person that is on the seat, he still wants to decide who gets what in the state, and even expecting the reigning Governor to kowtow to him and swallow the trash hook, line and sinker.
It is this inability to accept this reality that had caused him all the troubles he is currently facing. It also explains why his politics is on a nosedive. If he fails to retrace his steps and follow the current, he will surely lose it all; and instead of finishing the race as beautiful as he started, he will end up pathetically irrelevant in the scheme of Nigerian politics. It was the same self centeredness that caused the rift between Kwankwaso and Ganduje or even between Bukola Saraki and his father the late older Saraki, for those who who knew their saga then. You can see that even between a father and a son, power can easily sow a seed of serious feud.
Those who are wise and are quick to see the danger, like the way Senator Kashim Shettima surrendered all powers to his successor – Babagana Zulum, are today in very good terms by everyone keeping his distance and lane.
It is because there is no rancor between immediate past Governor Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe state and his successor Mai Mala Buni that the need did not arose for Gaidam to rush out of the party. Each of this two Yobe leaders knew his boundaries and they both kept to it. In the case of Adamu Aliero, he wanted to eat his cake and still have it.
Now, to the mother of all gaffes. The recent spat between the duo of Senators Aliero and Yahaya on one hand and the Kebbi state government on the other, over the latter’s attempt to get a refund of N7 billion from the federal government was as needless as it was avoidable. It was needless because it only ended up exposing the pettiness and desperation of Aliero, and avoidable because it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.
We are all aware that the Senate of the federal republic had, last week announced stepping down on approving the refund of the said amount to Kebbi state over two federal roads the state government had constructed since 2006. Before assuming office, there was a policy in place by which the federal government refunds to states that have undertaken federal projects in their domain. As a result, Kebbi and over twenty other states were being owed hundreds of billions of Naira. When Buhari came, he promptly embargoed this policy, but promised to pay the backlog. Over twenty states have already been refunded with Rivers state collecting as much as N70 billion.
Kebbi, Yobe and Taraba were to be repaid N7b, Yobe N18b and Taraba N2.4b respectively. The House of Representatives had done its oversight and okayed the payment. In the Senate, both Yobe and Taraba sailed through, but in the case of Kebbi, it developed a K-leg owing to the complaint raised by Senators Aliero and Yahaya on the grounds that the Kebbi state government has failed to appear to prove that the project had indeed been done. Ironically, the road in question, the Dabai-Koko road was constructed by Adamu Aliero in 2006. Many people in Kebbi were taken aback because everyone reasoned that Aliero himself was enough a proof of that.
As it turned out, Aliero was only being clever by half. To begin with, Kebbi state had never defaulted in appearing before the Senate Committee on Aids, Loans and Debt each time it was called. The only explanation was that Aliero was trying to get back at Governor Atiku Bagudu who, Aliero see as the architect of his political misfortunes lately. This gaffe by Aliero seemed to be the proverbial last straw that broke the Camel’s back. Whatever is left of his tottering credibility has, literally gone up in smoke. Now, he is seen for what he is: an overrated political desperado who see himself as more important than the state.
The only man that shouldn’t have been there while Adamu Aliero fell from grace to grass is Senator Yahaya Abdullahi. A very good man with a very good heart has allowed himself to be dragged by the nose like a Camel into a mess of monumental proportion. He refused to be his own man and judged things for himself. He blindly followed a man that was heading for the rocks. He should not have fallen into this wide deep hole which Aliero dug and in which the two of them will finally be buried politically.
After the forthcoming elections, the two men will bite the dust, never to raise their heads again. When a man refuses to see the blessings Allah has given him and become unappreciative to the point of perfidious arrogance, he will obviously come down hard, never to lift a limb again.