Posted by By Bayo Ohu on
Today in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory(FCT), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential primaries slated for the Eagle Square will definitely be a straight contest between Katsina State Governor, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar'Adua and other aspirants.
Today in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory(FCT), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential primaries slated for the Eagle Square will definitely be a straight contest between Katsina State Governor, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar'Adua and other aspirants. All indications, going by the happenings within the ruling PDP, have pointed to the fact that Governor Yar'Adua is highly favoured to pick the presidential ticket.
Pressures are still being put on other aspirants, especially those from the north to withdraw from the race for Yar'Adua. Already, delegates from across the country who have started converging in Abuja have besieged the Shehu Yar'Adua Centre with a view to identifying with the aspiration of the Katsina Governor.
As at Friday night, Yar'Adua had held series of meetings with some PDP governors and delegates in a continuous last minute horse trading to sway support to his side. Also, yesterday, Yar'Adua stormed the National Assembly where he addressed a joint sitting of the legislature a bid to drum up support for his aspiration.
Presently, more than 23 states of the federation have lined their delegates behind Yar'Adua while others are promising their support at the national convention. Yar'Adua has toured virtually all the states in the country where he met with governors, PDP leaders and other stakeholders to solicit their support. He was well received everywhere he went and assurances for support were given.
No fewer than 30 presidential aspirants are in the race with none of them willing to step down as directed by the PDP leadership and President Olusegun Obasanjo. But the party's screening committee has trimmed and shortlisted the number to six with Yar'Adua leading in all the items used to screen them. He was highly rated in accountability, probity, transparency and good governance.
Giving the backing and support of the northern traditional institution which has mobilised prominent politicians to support Yar'Adua and prevail on other aspirants to step down from the race, Yar'Adua's emmergence as flagbearer at the end of the voting is a forgone conclusion. More aspirants are expected to announce their withdrawal at the venue of the primaries. Members of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), a political association formed and nurtured by his late elder brother, Shehu Musa Yar'Adua are also strongly behind him.
More importantly, the Presidency and the PDP leadership are believed to have a soft spot for Yar'Adua whose achievements as Governor of Katsina State have become a source of pride to the party and a yardstick to measure other aspirants. His style of leadership and administration where transparency, accountability, probity and prudent management of resources have rolled into a legacy of good governance has perfectly fitted into what the presidency wanted in the man that will succeed Obasanjo in 2007.
In Katsina State where Yar'Adua has held sway as chief executive for close to eight years, his policies and programmes of restructuring and reforms have completely transformed the state civil service and other sectors of the state socio-economic life. Yar'Adua's shrewdness and financial discipline have engendered the spirit of accountability, transparency and probity in the management of public funds.
As an apostle and ardent believer in restructuring and reforms, Yar'Adua introduced and implemented stringent measures to put a stop to profligacy and wastefulness of public funds. He believes strongly in and worked very hard to instill the culture of prudent management of resources in the state civil service. He ensured that the process of contract awards was overhauled by putting in place a tender board to which all contracts go for proper scrutiny to ensure due process in the awards of such.
In Katsina, there is no room for unnecessary review of contracts sums once awarded. Contractors are adequately mobilised for the jobs and a thorough periodic appraisal and assessment of the contracts is embarked upon to ensure strict compliance with the terms of contracts. Then, money is made available for the jobs and contractors promptly paid as soon as the work is completed and certified to be properly done by another special committee under the supervision of the governor himself.
Initially, Yar'Adua's policies and style of administration were alien to the elite, especially those in the civil service who hated him at the beginning of his tenure as governor. Rate of government activities was slow due to Yar'Adua's insistence and penchant for thoroughness which called for proper checking of expenditure in all the ministries, parastatals and departments.
Today, Katsina State under Umaru Yar'Adua is not indebted to any individual, group or institution since his administration has no reason to borrow money from anybody either as local or foreign loan. In fact, his administration is keeping a reserve of N6.5billion in the state treasury as at today.
His integrity and prudent management of resources have endeared him to the people of Katsina State who have come out openly to recommend him for the presidency in 2007. "We are very lucky in this state to have Yar'Adua as the governor from 1999 because he is very visionary, honest and transparent in the management of the little resources that are available to us," Alhaji Yakubu Yahaya, a top civil servant said.
PDP delegates to the national convention and presidential primaries have, therefore, been urged to vote wisely today by nominating Yar'Adua as the party's candidate in the 2007 elections so that Nigeria can benefit from the vision and good governance that Umaru Yar'Adua will provide.
Yar'Adua, according to Alhaji Isah Balarabe, a Second Republic Federal legislator is a leader with a great political antecedent required to carry all shades of political figures along. As a democrat, Yar'Adua has the full backing of members of the influential PDM across the country.
He said: "Governor Yar'Adua has the political will to lead this country from 2007 and also provide the required leadership to uplift Nigeria by continuing with the reform programmes of the present administration. In fact, Nigerians stand to benefit tremendously from the presidency and leadership of Umaru Musa Yar'Adua.
While urging politicians to support and rally round Yar'Adua, Alhaji Muazu Abubakar, a PDP leader in Kaduna advised other presidential aspirants from the north to emulate former president Ibrahim Babangida by stepping down for Governor Yar'Adua who he described as the best material for the job.
Born 55 years ago into the influential Yar'Adua family in Katsina, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua had his first degree in Chemistry from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) and a Masters Degree in Analytical Chemistry from the same university. He attended the famous Barewa College where he obtained his School Certificate.
He cut his political teeth as a member of the "Talakawa" populated political party, the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) in the Second Republic during which he built his political career with the people at the grassroots. He was an active member of the Peoples Front (PF), Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) and later PDP.
Yar'Adua contested the governorship election in Katsina state in 1991 under the platform of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) but lost to the National Republican Convention (NRC) candidate, Alhaji Saidu Barda. In 1999, he formed K-34, a political organisation under which he launched his governorship ambition before he contested the gubernatorial seat and won in 1999.
He is married to Hajia Turai Umaru Musa Yar'Adua.
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