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Who’s Afraid of Umar Nasko? By Halima Ibrahim Anaba

In this buildup to the 2015 elections, the polity in Niger State is already tensed with the usual blackmails and propagandas of the losing camps. Typical of such politics of witch-haunts and character assassinations, the subject of hate has always been the personality and aspiration of the the contender who’s shown the potentials of not only emerging as winner but also promotes politics of ideas, instead of personality. Their campaign of calumny, this term, is on Alhaji Umar Mohammed Nasko of the People’s Democratic Party. The question is: why are they losing sleep over the ambition of Nasko?

Their main case against Nasko is the widespread recognition he has earned from not just the political establishment in Niger State but also from the numerous youth and professional groups across the State. This is an understandable reason to be in the spotlight and be so unfairly criticized by those who consider such privileges a sort of a crime.
All over the world, the quests by incumbent leaders to groom successors or facilitate the emergence of candidates they consider loyal to their administration or characteristically competent as successors have been a part of the political culture. While the incumbent promotes the ideals of his preferred candidate, the delegates and even forces outside the party circle also have their rights to move against such decisions. This is the beauty of democracy.
While these bitter agents are condemning Nasko for being “anointed” by the incumbent Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, as though this is an unusual or the first of such endorsements by the establishment, one is made to question such hypocrisy. Was it not in the same Niger State that the then Governor Abdulkhadir Abdullahi Kure abandoned his deputy, Dr. Shem Zagbayi Nuhu, and endorsed the guber ambition of Alhaji Jibrin Bala Guna (now deceased)? The same people now contesting the endorsement of Nasko by Governor Aliyu were not heard crying foul when Governor Kure endorsed the late Guna. The latter would’ve been PDP’s candidate in the main election if it weren’t for the EFCC that waded in and had his aspiration cut short over involvement in declared financial scandals.
The latest of these attacks of the personality of Nasko is a grammatically and logically atrocious piece by a certain Abdullahi S. Marafa, entitled “PDP May Lose 2015 Elections In Niger State” in the Sahara Reporters online media, which sets out to predict the reign of PDP in Niger State and indict Nasko as a bureaucratically incompetent public servant.
In one sentence, Marafa claims that it’s not possible for Governor Aliyu to willingly endorse a person once dismissed from his administration. In another sentence, he wondered why Governor Aliyu wanted to have Nasko as successor. What Marafa didn’t reveal in this attempt to discredit Nasko is that, while it’s true that Nasko left Governor Aliyu’s administration in the heat of a serious scandal, he was called back when the scandal was eventually resolved, having been proven innocent of the allegations of what Marafa considers financial misconduct. I don’t know how Marafa, in his malicious mischief, missed this fact. Or has Marafa not noticed the ongoing phase of the project in question? The proposed 5-star hotel is already a dream in progress, now under construction, and if the hostile critics have bothered to visit the location, they would’ve been sincere in acknowledging that it’s on a budget even higher than the initial five hundred million Naira said to have been misappropriated.
Sadly, the court of Marafa’s public opinion is against the convention of the Nigerian legal system, which says, when charged or accused, one is innocent until proven guilty. Nasko was never proven guilty, let alone convicted of these allegations of financial misconducts. The evidences are there for all to see. And it’s this vindication that resulted in his return to this administration, serving as Commissioner again and then Chief of Staff to Governor Aliyu.
In his declaration speech, Nasko delivered a dazzling and brilliant speech in which he not only pledged to sustain some of Governor Aliyu’s redeeming initiatives, including the intellectual development policy of this administration that recognizes the place of the writers and intellectuals in the society but also promised to run an all-inclusive government, which is a commendable effort in this time of polarising and bitter politics.
What marks Nasko out, and makes him taller than other Guber contenders in Niger State now, is his strict adherence  to the politics of ideas, while others, especially those intimidated by his exemplary strategies and dispositions, are frustrated to go every ridiculous length to discredit him in their mischievous fabrications on his private and public life.
In Marafa’s spurious claims, he wrote that he’s exchanged a letter with the schools Nasko attended in Poland and that there are doubts over Nasko’s schooling at those places. This is not only outrageous, but a pathetically low point of their dirty politics that doesn’t really deserve to be honoured with a response by Nasko’s handlers who’ve been resisting the challenge to play dirty in the fashion of these inconsequential libelists. Let’s even ignore the truth that extracting information on students at an institution in places like Poland, which they ignorantly claimed to have done in a few days, is a slow, difficult and almost impossible mission because of the legal processes involved. But in their hurry to fool the people, they forgot that bit of education on the privacy rights of students at Polish institutions.
The loopholes in their claims to have contacted the schools attended by the subject of their political nightmares are glaring. In one narrative, they wrote that the school answered that it has no details on students who enrolled in the 90’s, in another narrative they misinterpreted this lack of “key information” by the school, even though, again in their tale, the school confirmed that Nasko was in deed at the university, to mean that he wasn’t there at all. This is how low detractors go in bending truths. But they can only bamboozle gullible minds who don’t pause to question obvious fabrications and falsehoods against the person of Nasko.
In a time like this, we all must brace up for the storm of mischief and propagandas coming from enemies both within and outside, known and unknown, and also, awareness of the hacks working for them must be understood. It’s even funnier how the Abdullahi S. Marafa character who’s challenging the educational history of a man of Nasko’s wits and erudition is actually in need of elementary education, considering  his pitiable abuse of basic grammar in all his sentences in that sorry secondary school composition. But it’ll be out of point and a needless distraction to advise the illiterate hack to return to school or pick up an English primer to acquire basic knowledge of grammar and, also importantly, logic.
I must commend the Team Nasko for their refusal to play along the path of disrepute being trodden by detractors. It takes a serious courage, maturity and wisdom to resist dignifying the incoherent rambling of libelous opponents. The Team Nasko has been unwavering in its mobilization and sensitization as it propagates the ideals of their principal who’s very determined to lift Niger State to the higher height. It is, thus, not unusual that those who fail to match the man Nasko’s political machinations are resorting to name-calling and whatnots to draw attention to what are actually their own failures.
By Halima Ibrahim Anaba
Articles on www.omojuwa.com are solely authors opinion

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