The flood of interests that gushes into politics constitutes the firm pillars on which democracy is built. Ambrose Bierce enthused that “Politics is a strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles.” For Henry Ford, “The only motive that keeps politics pure is the interest of doing good for one’s people.” Therefore, the critical question is: What good would politics be if it doesn’t give everyone the opportunity to hold-out personal interest and foster the good of society? The ultimate underwriter for peoples’ involvement in the political process is what they stand to benefit. That is inevitable, and it constitutes the heart and soul of politics.
The connotation that forms the concept of politics has evolved with the passage of time. Today, the fundamental tool that guides or precedes the principle of action in the political arena is the interest of an individual or a group. However, the definition of that interest varies differently from individual to individual and from group to group. Nevertheless, it is the interest that attracts and consolidates a conscious commitment to the growth of any political organization.
For the ruling All Progressives Congress, a party with such bourgeoning followership and enormous spread to the nooks and crannies of the country and beyond, the question of vested interest cannot be overemphasized. Actions in the party are invariably dictated by the interplay of this game of interest. Therefore, at this auspicious time in its history, the APC must be managed by a leadership that understands how to galvanize and mobilize the various interests and unify them to achieve the ultimate goal of sustainable electoral victory and the delivery of its manifesto to the people.
It is against the foregoing that the nub of this piece, His Excellency, distinguished Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, is seen as the indispensable and unavoidable choice to lead the party as the national chairman at this time. He is a rare combination of several competencies firmly rooted in his childhood formation, business management, political experience, and the physical challenge of an impairment that he has surmounted so admirably.
Among the array of contestants jostling to take a shot at the party’s chairmanship, distinguished Senator Tanko Al-Makura is the only aspirant with such an uncommon affiliation to the inherent critical interest groups that undergirds the party. These laudable affiliations by the Senator can be seen from the perspectives as follows:
His birth was a miraculous manifestation. He came as the 8th offspring of his parents after his mother had lost hope of a male child following her consistent delivery of 7 female children. On that strength, his parents named him Tanko, a unique derivative of a male child after many female children in a family in a typical Hausa tradition.
The distinguished Senator had a peculiar upbringing in his formative years. He grew up doing all the domestic chores society considers exclusive to the female folks. That gave him the ease with which he relates with women and the dispassionate consideration of their welfare. He demonstrated this as the governor of his home state of Nassarawa when he appointed five women out of 17 commissioners into his cabinet. That was a rare feat in a highly dominated patriarchal society. It goes without saying that Senator Al-Makura understands the strength of the women and their prime position in political party administration.
For him, the women are an integral part of his constituency. His management of the party as the national chairman will enhance affirmative action and the extant National Gender Policy in the country. He will inspire them to contribute more to the political process and foster their vital role in societal development.
Senator Tanko Al-Makura’s forayed into partisan politics in his youthful days, dating back to the second republic when he joined the National Party of Nigeria (NPN). The young Al-Makura, who was never known for docility or lethargy in any of his engagements, was a profoundly committed party member. He contested and won the election as Youth Leader of the party in the old Plateau State.
Having been involved in politics at the early years of his life, distinguished Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura considers the youths and rightly so as his primary constituency. He appreciates the challenges of the youths in our clime and would open up more avenues for their participation and give them a voice in the political decision-making process in the APC. He comes with the facility for sensitization and mobilization to promote youth involvement in politics and change the narrative that youths are mere agents of violence. Al-Makura is relatively young at heart and keeps tabs on trendy issues but maintains timeless values in all his dealings.
Having served as a two-term governor for eight unbroken years in Nassarawa State, distinguished Senator Tanko Al-Makura understands and appreciates the prime place of the Progressive Governors in the APC. For him, the governors won’t only be his core constituency as the national chairman, but they will equally be considered his dependable allies in the party’s administration.
For someone who has worn the shoes before, he knows exactly where it pinches. Senator Al-Makura is fully abreast of the feelings and sentiments of the governors in the party. He will build a strong synergy with them in the management of the party’s affairs.
Al-Makura is currently sitting atop as a member of the hallowed precinct of the Nigerian 9th Senate and Chairman, Senate Committee on Solid Minerals. Serving at the highest law-making organ in the country has broadened his horizon and understanding of the legislative arm of government. Therefore, the legislature would form one of his cherished constituencies as the party’s national chairman. Senator Al-Makura would bring his legislative experience to bear in leading the party. Combining his executive and legislative experiences puts him in good stead to sustain and improve the existing harmonious working relationship between the Presidency and the National Assembly.
*Political Party Administration*
In the short-lived third republic, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura was an active member of the National Republican Convention (NRC). As one with leadership instincts, he contested and won election as State Secretary of the party in the old Plateau State. He contributed immensely to the party’s growth and left an indelible mark of diligence. By that token, Al-Makura clearly has a firm foundation in the intricacies of political party administration.
As governor, he was a member of the National Executive Council (NEC) in the defunct CPC, and after the merger, which he played a critical role in achieving, he served at the same level in the APC. As a Senator, he is also a member of the party’s NEC. It follows, therefore, that the administration of a political party for him is familiar terrain. He is well-equipped with the requisite knowledge to build and climb the slippery stairs of internal party politics and achieve the desired result.
His Excellency, distinguished Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, is a man of prodigious business acumen. He built a sprawling business empire spanning different concerns from the cradle, including real estate, construction, hospitality, import, export, agro-allied, etc. Al-Makura has stamped his feet and cut his teeth in Nigeria’s business climate. As a result, his name resonates with good clout in different sectors of the Nigerian economy.
His successful business experience will be invaluable in the administration of the APC. In addition, he comes with the dedication, commitment, and diplomatic disposition of a businessman to drive the process in the party.
*The Disable Community*
At a young age, Tanko Al-Makura suffered hearing impairment. However, he refused to be guzzled in the vortex of that seemingly insurmountable physical challenge. Somewhat, by dint of hard work, tenacity, and determination, he has become a shining example of the proverbial “Ability in disability” in our society. The distinguished Senator is an active member of the disabled community in Nigeria, and his impact in their midst has been quite monumental.
That community has been relegated in the scheme of things in our politics. Senator Al-Makura comes across as a bright light at the end of the dark tunnel for those living with disabilities in the APC. They will be a part of his constituency as national chairman, their voices will be heard, and they will be given a sense of belonging in the management of the party’s affairs.
From the aforesaid disposition of His Excellency, distinguished Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, he is a man with all the trappings of inclusivity that the party seriously needs as the 2023 general elections beckons. Evidently, the APC can safely take a chance on him to lead the pack as its helmsman. Seldom do we find a man with such varying capability and capacity angling to chair a major political party in our society. Umaru Tanko Al-Makura has a resume that cannot be discountenanced. He represents the best and brightest chance of the APC getting it right at its highest echelon of leadership. He is indeed a true representation of the diversity of interests in the party.
Oyama is a social commentator. He writes from Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory. firstname.lastname@example.org.