By ABDUL-AZEEZ SULEIMAN
Every effort in life must have stakes. Stakes (especially high ones) keep the plots of life moving, keep the characters in each plot growing and changing, and keep others engaged.
Without high stakes, most struggles in life may feel flat, the pacing of the plots may lag and eventually falter.
In politics, as in all other fields of endeavour, success depends largely on one’s ability to identify what the stakes are, whether the stakes are high enough, and exactly what one can do to raise them.
To raise the political stakes is to increase the costs, risks, or considerations involved in taking an action or reaching a conclusion.
In practical terms, the efforts to checkmate the unprecedented constriction of space for political opponents in Kaduna state by the All Progressives Congress government of Nasir elrufai, especially with the anticipated Exodus from the party by formidable political networks such as the face of hope represented by Lawal Adamu Usman aka Mr LA, would doubtlessly culminate into raising the stakes up several notches.
This impending mass movement out of the APC a few months to the 2019 round of general elections offer little illusion of any outcome than the party’s certain defeat and imminent loss of elrufai’s bid for reelection to a second term.
At stake in the coming election is not only the suppression and oppression of critical players in the state through manipulating what remains of the state’s APC hierarchy, it is also about the implications of another four years under elrufai’s approach to governance generally. Understanding these implications requires understanding how the once loved APC reached this stage in Kaduna: el-Rufai came with the promise of security, ending poverty, protecting the vulnerable, and improving the economy. But feelers across the state demonstrate the gap between Elrufai’s rhetoric and reality growing wider in the first three years of his first term, which may as well be his last.
As the policies adopted in governing the state most often contradict APC and elrufai’s promises, the trends also indicate that they have led to further deterioration of the state.
Beyond the obvious deterioration of the state, the last three years have also witnessed the erosion of state institutions – traditional, religious – and sociopolitical dynamics as part of the effects of elrufai’s form of governance which stresses the absence of internal democracy in the APC, absence of real representative government, broadening legislation that undermines rule of law, and increasing influence of sychophants.
Everywhere in the state, concerns are mounting about the restriction of freedoms of association, press, and expression, the use of state power with impunity as impediments to democratic due process.
The confinement of the ruling elite to a narrow circle of friends and relatives are not just clear signs of the administration’s bad governance, but are damaging to elrufai’s politics itself and the state’s future stability.
This insular approach will only further the fragility of the APC internally and if eventually, as is very likely, the LAs are forced to shift their formidable support elsewhere, the stakes are bound to raised several more notches beyond the reach of elrufai and his close-knit circle of aides.