Sir, I bought a new car (tokunbo new of course) towards the end of 2013, ordinarily it was not even the car I desired but I had to go for this particular car because of the numerous review I obtained first hand from users of various cars in Kaduna. The car is rugged and durable for bad roads but completely devoid of any shape that I ever dreamt my car should have. I mean the car is simply ugly.
Socially you denied me the right to drive the luxury car of my dream because our roads are in very bad shape. Even trekking in my neighbourhood subjects our bones to untold hardship. I used to wonder if I should bring an orthopaedic surgeon to advise us whether living in my neighbourhood is healthy for our bones, because it obviously affects our posture significantly; most of us had to learn to walk like a camel with three legs. But I always quickly dismiss the thought for the fear of what the doctor may prescribe, because moving to the very few neighbourhoods with good roads in Kaduna is a luxury only Federal Ministers, Vice Presidents and a few others can afford.
Economically speaking I have spent a fortune repairing my rugged car within one year. Imagine that I have spent an average of N50,000 monthly repairing the suspension system and related faults of my ruggedtokunbo car. That’s like the salary of a graduate under the employment of Kaduna State civil service – just imagine. Kindly be fair sir, would you have liked you if you were me?
Yes, I know the problems did not start from you, I mean the roads in Kaduna have consistently moved from bad to worse uninterruptedly. They actually started from the former boss of your present boss, and as the mantle of leadership in the state moved from one boss to the next, our roads, hospitals and schools have declined down like one of the dangerous slope on the way to my house. And please don’t mention those cosmetics patches you did to some few roads as your achievement. I myself could have done that, but for the wastage of N50,000 that goes to my mechanic monthly. Just calculate what I spent in a year and compare it to the actual cost of the patches, not the one written in government’s payment vouchers. Imagine if 50 car owners put together what they have wasted repairing their cars due to bad roads, I am sure it will amount to about the whole funds genuinely spent on repairing our roads within the last one year. If you also take into account the working hours we waste supervising the mechanics and convert those hours to cash you will arrive at an amazing figure that will be sufficient to start a big factory.
Sir, I tried so hard to give you excuses, but the more I try the more other governors bring you to the spotlight. I would not even compare you with Kano State Governor it will be totally unfair, I cannot put a cat and a tiger in the ring and expect a real fight. I can only compare you to Katsina State Governor a fellow PDP Governor, but even at that I see such a wide performance margin that I keep asking myself is Governor Shehu Shema getting additional grant from the Government of Niger Republic, due to his proximity with the country, or is he also relying solely on the same Federal Government grant that you rely on? Do you know that Kastina State Government own two beautifully furnished modern specialist hospitals that have electricity at least 23 hours in a day? Do you know that in Katsina State there are tarred roads even in places that are yet to be habited by man? When I say tarred roads I mean, a standard double carriage way with three lanes each. The type you see in Abuja when you visit your boss. Do you know that almost 85 – 90 per cent of the Primary schools in Katsina State have structures that the communities of Kaduna State University (but for TETFund intervention) and Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic will salivate when they see? Do you know that Katsina State government is not half as aggressive as Kaduna State government in collecting tax from citizens?
Sir, I prayed very hard for convincing answers to these questions, not because I wanted to like you, but because I wanted to justify our clamour for older people to pave way for younger people to take charge of this country. I kept hoping that by election time genuine excuses will come from you.
In my search for excuses from you I heard one of your ardent supporters and active campaigner, Mal. Yakubu Lere of Kaduna State Media Corporation showering praises on you. So I listened attentively like I always listened to anybody that is saying anything about you, good or bad, so as to make sure my economic pain does not cloud my judgment of you – even though I genuinely believe there is nothing wrong with disliking somebody that is directly or remotely the cause of my financial wastage.
Lo and Behold, Mal. Yakubu Lere changed my perception of you completely; I no longer dislike you I now genuinely like you sir. He gave about three stories that centred on your compassion, empathy and forgiveness. One Particular story moved me; according to him one day he accompanied you to Zaria. Along the road you came across a fatal accident and you instantly ordered your convoy to stop. Thereafter you alighted from your car and joined other citizens to rescue the victims that were trapped in the accident and then you ordered the ambulance in your convoy to drive them to Kaduna for immediate medical attention. According to him one of your aides complained that a man of your position should not have physically participated in the rescue mission, and the reply you gave him moved me; “shouldn’t I do to them what they would have done to me if it were me that had the accident?”. This reply is the most compassionate remark I ever heard from a leader, because it is simply about the responsibility of man to his fellow man, not a leader hypocritically courting for votes. I instantly felt guilty for all the accidents I passed on the road without stopping. And by the grace of God I will never pass by any accident without offering my help, thanks to the wisdom in your rhetoric.
I now really like you sir, genuinely sir. Only a heartless person will not like a compassionate human like you after hearing this story. If you had said to that aide “Don’t you know that it was these people that voted for us?”I would have disliked you more for the hypocrisy in the statement. And then I also thought of how lucky these victims were. Imagine if there was no compassionate governor passing by at the time of the accident, the best they can get is the pick-up utility vehicle (with no first aid facility) of Federal Road Safety Corp to convey them to the nearest hospital. If it were in Katsina State for example, I would have anticipated that one of the ambulance vehicles allocated to every local government in the state would have come to their rescue. But in Kaduna State, victims have to rely on the luck of having a compassionate governor passing by, Federal Road Safety’s pick-up vehicle or a good Samaritan who is not afraid of police interrogation that may follow his rescue mission.
I still like you sir, but by February 2015 I will be making a choice. I will be deciding between reducing/eliminating the money I waste repairing my car on the one hand and on the other hand expecting a compassionate Governor to come to my rescue and settle my mechanic bill if incidentally we meet at one of the occasions that I frequently visit my mechanic. I will be making a choice between reducing my cost of medical care by patronising functional Government Hospitals instead of the exorbitant Private hospitals that I now visit, and on the other hand waiting for that awesome moment that A compassionate Governor will accidentally walk into that private hospital who will then genuinely pity my plight and instantly pay my bills. It is really not a tough choice like you can see sir.
I will make a choice that will make February 2015 my most memorable month. It will be remembered as the month that I decided to significantly cut down my expenses. The month that I decided never to wait again for that compassionate governor to accidentally come to my rescue on the road, at the mechanic or at the hospital. The Month that I decided to stop thinking of inviting an orthopaedic surgeon to evaluate the daily torture of my poor bones, to stop walking like a three legged camel, to stop spending long valuable hours at the mechanic. It will be the month that I will loudly say I still like and admire your compassion sir, but sorry I will vote you out. And please do not take it personal and do not let my vote discourage you from your humane disposition. God will surely reward you for any compassion you showed to any of his creature even if it is a dog. But sorry sir I have just one vote and it is against you.
Al-ameen Abubakar Esq is a Practicing Lawyer based in Kaduna.