The journey of a thousand miles, they say, begins with a single step. A near accurate personification of this wise saying can be seen in how the sponsorship of Alhaji Musa Sarkin Adar for nomination as Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives was conceived and nurtured from a regional call to a dominant national concern.
Those not conversant with the dynamics of the politics of northern Nigeria may be excused if they marvel at the how and why a politician representing Goronyo/Gada constituency of Sokoto state could become so suddenly accepted all over the North-West, become famous across the North and a huge factor in the leadership selection process of the Federal House of Representatives.
Those in the know however, understands the natural criteria the North places before their leaders; outside of actual performance as a leader of his community, for a politician to be sufficiently revered in the North, he has to have a huge stock of integrity, honesty, patriotism, intelligence, compassion, charisma and has to be flexible.
For Sarkin Adar to have been elected for four consecutive times to represent his constituency in the House of Representatives, means he must have performed creditably as a parliamentarian. Undoubtedly, he represented the entire northern interest in such critical areas as rural development, youth and women empowerment, employment and agricultural improvement.
Going beyond his well-documented achievement as a parliamentarian, the North-West Solidarity Forum which marketed him to the present level, simply brought to the fore Sarkin Adar’s rare characteristics that were hitherto largely unknown to the larger public.
In order for the Group to actually get the North-West and the entire North by and large to endorse Sarkin Adar, they proved that he possesses the rare qualities that make a politician tick in the North.
Honesty – since dishonesty is what has become expected of today’s politicians, being honest can sometimes be difficult for some political leaders because it makes them vulnerable. It reveals who they really are and discloses their mistakes. Contrarily Sarkin Adar agrees that honesty develops character and builds credibility and trust which are the foundation to evoke confidence and respect from teammates and constituents.
Integrity – Never trying to ride the waves of public opinion, Sarkin Adar always stands up for what he believes in and does not appease the people by telling them what he thinks they want to hear. He forms his own opinions and sticks to them.
Patriotism – It is so hard to ask for politicians who put the best interests of the community, state or country ahead of their own political careers or legacy. One of the very rare, Sarkin Adar is at all times ready to make decisions that benefit his constituents, even if they ruin his career.
Intelligence – While many other politicians may have the educational pedigree, it seems that only a few have been anything close to applying it in practical terms. Sarkin Adar has not just excelled in his schooling but uses it to help him make his decisions instead of having to rely so heavily on “advisers”, “advocates” and “lobbyists”.
Reason – Since in practical terms nobody can change the society overnight, Sarkin Adar reasons that in the long run, there’s very little that a leader can accomplish in an eight-year term, let alone only four years. He believes in having high goals, but being realistic about what can be accomplished in the time he has, and being open with the people about how his plans are coming. Even if some changes may not be seen until long after his terms, he at least gets the ball rolling.
Charisma – Most politicians appear to make people want to follow them by delivering the speeches they think many of them yearn for. But this is at the bottom of Sarkin Adar’s list because he believes the people must not sacrifice their fate for someone who is simply a good speaker.
Compassion – This is another Sarkin Adar’s humane quality of understanding the suffering of others and wanting to do something to alleviate that suffering. He believes compassion is a characteristic that converts knowledge to wisdom which he uses to see the needs of his people and to determine the course of action that would be of greatest benefit to all of them.
Flexibility- For Sarkin Adar, this is about understanding the give-and-take aspects of politics, and the ability to find the common ground. This according to him, is why he always listens carefully to all sides, not only to hear their arguments but to learn what it will take on behalf of all parties involved to reach a consensus. This characteristic allows him to recognize setbacks and criticism, to learn from them and move forward.
In the end, the Solidarity Forum was able to expose Sarkin Adar as one northern politician who aspires to respect different views, analyze problems, and identify the best solutions – not based on loyalty to political party alone, but based on what is good and right and in the best interest of the people as a whole.
Abubakar Ainu is the Chairman of North West Democratic Front.
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