By Ikwomta Isuma, Abuja
Professor Rufai Ahmed Alkali is not a man that is not known politically but has endured torrid political times in the country to ensure his kind of political leadership gain currency.
A man of his word and character, Alkali has held several political offices yet remained unblemished by his commitment to personal philosophy of leadership.
To him, this philosophy is service. This axiomatic predisposition recently played itself out when he wasted no time to congratulate the All Progressive Congress (APC) for successfully holding its convention.
Not a few political analysts, including APC members, were shocked. Extending such hands of friendship, engendered by progressive political thinking aimed at ridding the country of political jejune, is most desirous in a country like ours.
Indeed, Alkali must have striven to obey the ancient Greece practice of friendship with all including their foes so as to create a good political space. Or it was a diplomatic move as they say no permanent friends or enemies but permanent interests.
Fortunately, this move bolsters the faith of Alkali’s supporters and admirers that he is a man who pours water on a burning fire no matter whose house – enemy or friend – is on fire.
A gentleman of high repute often at odd with political experience in a country like ours, Alkali is a man who, from a very humble background, rose through a divine pathway to the destined greatness of becoming the National Publicity Secretary of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Yet, he does not allow the success he singlehandedly achieved to becloud his sense of responsibility.
A man that is naturally loved and admired by people, he is a respected democrat and pivot of mass mobilization, who achieves greatness through assiduousness, self-will and sheer determination without compromise. Speaking to him assures the speaker of a man who observes the noble adage of listening more than speaking.
Alkali is one man who sees Nigeria as an industrious, entrepreneurial nation, robust in growth, rich in culture, vibrant in labour and attractive for investment. That is why many people, especially PDP loyalists, see him as a man that is fully equipped with the pedigree, integrity and capacity to drive Africa’s largest political party, PDP, through the pathway of phenomenal positive changes to a destination of greatness.
Perhaps, President Goodluck Jonathan saw into this unmatchable political wisdom and unquenchable thirst for nationalist struggle when he appointed him his political adviser.
During Alkali’s inauguration, the president advised: “We are supposed to be nation builders. Even though it is extremely difficult to agree that a politician could be a statesman because we tend to be partisan, but at least in our utterances we should give Nigerians hope that this country will be together and that we must unite and we must collectively forge ahead to develop our country.”
The president, despite being overly optimistic, expressed faith in Alkali’s character that he will portray a good conduct, utterances, actions and inactions. He further said Alkali would portray a good character, a character that politicians and young people would use as role models.
Alkali, not a man of too many words or a politician with a mantra of prevarication and equivocation, replaced Ahmed Gulak, who was embroiled in a political wit with one of the president’s ardent supporters, Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio.
Akpabio had accused Gulak of ignoble and contemptuous role as he went to the state “to inaugurate a sectional and unknown Support Group in favour of the President without bothering to pay any courtesies to the state leadership of the party.
He must have watched his predecessor’s downfall knowing full well that politics in Nigeria is like banana peels that fall anyone who steps on it without precaution. Alkali is a political scientist from Gombe State and is the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council of the Federal University of Technology, Minna.
Alkali must be commended for an all inclusive political style. Acting swiftly to congratulate an opposition party is not known in this country. As he advised the party to use their position to strengthen democracy and douse tension associated with electoral contest especially at this period of Nigeria’s political history as well as security challenge, he opened the way for new political thinking and practice.
He also advised the actors in the political process in Ekiti State to play by the rules. “President Goodluck Jonathan has laid solid foundation for conduct of free, fair and credible polls in the country and all hands must be on deck to ensure the people of Ekiti state are allowed to exercise their right to elect their leaders without let or hindrance,” he said.
Other politicians would learn from this.
The years of forcing themselves on the electorate without service while allowing the country to burn should be done away with. Alkali has shown a leadership quality that is uncommon.