By Nasiru Kado (Lamidon Gusau)
January 12, 2024: A Landmark Day in Zamfara’s Democratic Journey
On January 12, 2024, a significant milestone was etched in the annals of Zamfara State and indeed Nigeria’s democratic history.
On this day, the Supreme Court of Nigeria delivered a landmark judgement, reaffirming Governor Dauda Lawal’s victory in the March 2023 gubernatorial election.
This ruling not only validated a popular choice but also marked a turning point in the state’s political history, symbolising a victorious struggle against entrenched political forces and setting a new precedence for democratic processes in Nigeria.
Governor Lawal`s victory is being celebrated in the state because it has broken the monopoly of power and successfully challenged the long-standing monopoly of certain political groups and individuals in Zamfara State.
It opened the door to a more competitive political arena where merit and public support can challenge entrenched interests. The election result itself reflects a public demand for change.
It signified the people’s growing awareness and engagement in the political process, seeking solutions beyond the established political narratives.
Governor Dauda Lawal’s victory as a candidate from an opposition party marked a watershed moment, wrestling power from the grip of political lineage for the first time.
However, the ascent of Dr Dauda Lawal to the governorship throne of Zamfara State is a narrative rich in adversity, legal wrangling, and an unwavering commitment to democratic principles.
A series of formidable challenges marked His Excellency Dr Dauda Lawal’s journey to the helm of leadership in Zamfara, testing the very foundations of his political aspirations and the democratic ethos of the state.
Navigating Unprecedented Campaign Challenges
The gubernatorial campaign of Dauda Lawal in Zamfara State was characterised by a series of unique challenges, compelling him to adopt unconventional methods to reach out to electorates.
Faced with restrictive measures by his predecessor to even unveil his manifesto to the electorates, Lawal had to devise creative strategies to connect with voters and disseminate his message. His campaign for the gubernatorial seat in Zamfara State was a masterclass in overcoming adversity.
Denied the right to use traditional campaign avenues for his political rallies, Governor Lawal turned to the streets and roadsides, bringing his campaign directly to the people in their communities.
This grassroots approach not only circumvented the barriers set against him but also fostered a closer connection with the electorate.
The BAZZAMFARA: A Mobile Beacon of Hope
At the heart of Lawal’s campaign was the ‘Bazzamfara’, an open van that became synonymous with his electoral journey. This vehicle, more than just a means of transport, was a mobile symbol of Dr DaudaLawal’s grassroot campaign. It facilitated his travel across Zamfara State, bringing his message of change and hope to thousands, even in the most remote areas. The Bazzamfara embodied Lawal’s commitment to accessibility and grassroots engagement.
Freedom Square: From a Roundabout to a Symbol of Change
The Bello Barau Roundabout, now known as Freedom Square, played a pivotal role in Lawal’s campaign. More than just a physical location for gathering, it evolved into a symbol of the fight against the longstanding political order in Zamfara State. Therefore, this renaming was a tribute to the struggles and aspirations of the Zamfara people.
The square, once a site of constraint under the previous administrations, had transformed into a symbol of democratic freedom and resistance in the political history of the state, the renaming of the round about to Freedom Square was also not just about altering a nameplate but was a profound act of reclaiming and redefining political and civic space in the state.
It is also a testament to the resilience and determination that marked Dr Dauda Lawal’s campaign, representing a site where people united for political change.
January 12: Celebrating a Milestone in Democracy
In the light of the Supreme Court’s ruling on January 12, affirming Governor Dauda Lawal’s victory, the proposal to name or rename a public space—be it a road, square, street, or a centre—after January 12 is a fitting tribute to this historic day.
The significance of January 12 in Zamfara finds parallels in other historic dates like June 12 in Nigeria and 6th of October in Egypt. Just as June 12 became a symbol of Nigeria’s democratic aspirations following the annulled 1993 elections of M.K.O. Abiola and 6th of October turned into a day of national pride in Egypt, January 12 in Zamfara has become emblematic of the triumph of people’s power over political adversity.
Therefore, naming a significant location in Zamfara State after January 12 would serve as a constant reminder of the power of democratic values and the resilience of the people.
This gesture would also commemorate and celebrate the perseverance and victory of Dr Dauda Lawal’s campaign against a dominant political dynasty.
In summary, it is against this backdrop that the Zamfara masses celebrate the victory of Dauda Lawal in the March 2023 Zamfara governorship election, a historical epoch in their history that stands out as a significant moment of change.
Zamfarawa see Governor Lawal’s victory as not just about a shift in political leadership but something that represents a broader shift in the state’s political narrative. His success symbolises a break away from the status quo.
Governor Lawal’s win represents a triumph for the forces of change, demonstrating the electorate in Zamfara’s desire for new approaches and solutions to the state’s challenges. The people’s desire for a governance style that transcends traditional political boundaries and practices, which have long dominated the state’s politics, is suggested by his election.
It is, therefore, right to conclude that the significance of January 12, 2024, in the history of Zamfara State is undeniable. Memorialising this date through the naming of a public space would not only honour the events and individuals who played pivotal roles in this democratic victory but also serve as a lasting emblem of the power of the people’s will.
It would remind current and future generations of a moment when democracy and the will of Allah Subhana HU Wa Ta’ala triumphed, encouraging them to continue nurturing and protecting their hard-won freedom.
To most of us, the act is all about inspiring future generations, fostering a sense of unity and pride, and continually reminding everyone of the power of their democratic rights. Naming a public space in honour of this day would serve as a constant reminder of the strength of democracy, the rule of law and the resilience of the people in the face of political challenges.
It would stand as a beacon of hope and a symbol of the enduring spirit of democratic values in Zamfara State.
May Allah Subhana HU Wa Ta’ala continue to deliver Zamfara State from all challenges.