Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Bago: A quintessential representative, by Awaal Gata

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Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or www.facebook.com/ibrahim.ramalana, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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Last month, the Face of Democracy in Nigeria, FDN, rolled out the seventh edition of its annual Democracy Heroes Awards. Among the people awarded was Umar Mohammed Bago, the member representing Chanchaga Federal Constituency of Niger State at the House of Representatives.

They were of many categories, but Bago carted home the Representative of the Year. That was well-deserved. Dozens of people were nominated in the category, but he was the last man standing.

No (political) representative in Nigeria deserves it more than him this year, considering the injustice and iniquity he, as a loner, fought on behalf of about 25 million people of the North-central region during the National Assembly leadership elections in June.

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In our heterogeneity, to enhance equity and justice, there has perennially been a formula with which power is shared among us or our respective regions.

After APC’s triumph, once again, in the General Elections, the President and his Vice were produced by the North-west and South-west respectively. The SGF was picked from the North-east where the Senate President was also correctly zoned to.

With these, one would commonsensically think that the North-central would automatically get the Speakership seat but lo and behold, it was zoned to the South-west which already produced the Veepee. Then the North-central was left with nothing save for the paltry Deputy Speakership seat.

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The people were left bewildered by the daylight and on-your-face robbery and expected their leaders to rise to the occasion and fight for them. None did, except Bago.

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With almost every political force in the country starkly or clandestinely working against him, about a week to the election, I said to a friend that there was no way for him to triumph, without the manifestation of a political miracle. Miracles, they say, don’t happen no more.

In the last minutes before the election, words were rife on air that he was being rallied to step down and he might heed. He did not. He kept fighting to the very end. When the ballots were counted and Femi Gbajabiamila was the victor, I was still proud. If he did not fight it to the end, history would have recorded it that Nigeria was at a time iniquitous to the North-central, yet nobody left his comfort zone to correct it, in order not to be purged. But Bago damned whatever (personal) purge that could eventuate.

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Such courage is what someone collectively delegated or elected to represents the people needs in every clime. We don’t have many of them in ours.

Mr Gata wrote from Abuja

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