There were the campaign strategy to be designed and the operative team to be set up. I was mentally enmeshed in the confluence of INEC rules and the party manifesto, trying to tread one without ruffling the other. My days and nights both knew neither repose nor respite, each respectively attendant on and attentive to day rallies of the electorate and nocturnal reflections on prospects.Throughout that race, I was relentlessly torn between painful sorties of darts from political opponents and that trial faced in hopes, questions and demands from a fervent electorate. The glints of hope in their rapt stares, the tone of zeal in their jubilation, and the sizes of their gatherings, all converged to both strengthen and humble my resolve to serve them. The combinations of determination and doubt, responsibility and humility, proved oscillating mixtures on the mental plane of my campaign race. For it is universal truth that altruism breeds in an ideal leader two particular correlatives: proof and improvement. Thus, every attainment of a public goal is not just an end, but a good step towards better steps. The fear of shortcomings or failure is the fiercest fuel to excellence for a principled public servant. Hence, I resolved not to allow sycophancy (intrinsic or extrinsic, true or false) to chart the progress of my administrative responsibilities.Then Elections Day came and, with it, a second and more tortuous phase of my introspection. The simplest and easiest chore of the day for me was casting my lone vote. That could probably take only a few minutes and moves. But my weightiest vote would be cast by the multitude of my electorate across the country. That vote could undergo hours of harsh climates, hunger, thirst, fatigue and other frustrating factors. That vote could be cast by the strong, healthy youth or by the aged, burdened by one ailment or other. It could be cast by the women-folk, some of them sharing the hours between attendant maternal cares and the vote; by the disabled, defiant of their corporeal constraints, in such belief in a vote; by spouses who were sanctioned by their marital partners with waivers to cast a sacred vote.On that day, though there were other categories of political posts contested for, only that presidency seemed to be the focus of national attention and discussions. In variable degrees and perspectives, excitements, expectations and tensions were high. All attempts by that polling day and its regulations to minimize the travails of my introspection (by restricting me to my home state, ward and house) proved futile, as my spirit went out to the wider, national scope of my vote. Thus, from my house and among my family, I found myself at the polling units, near and far, throughout the gruelling day.Eventually, all became calm but tense as a waning elections day slowly elapsed into a vote counting and collation day (or days). Vote counts became parallel with the collective pulse of the nation. Any significant disruption in the smooth tally could plunge an entire nation into a “cardiac arrest” or collapse. Finally, the electoral officials came out to declare the operation as successful. They then ... named ME as the WINNER! Up to the point of vote count, I had tried to lull myself into some comfort by looking at the “sportsmanship” side of the entire race. Even that declaration of me as the “winner” could have kept on lulling me with that tune of “sportsmanship” but, suddenly then, a close friend phoned me to say “Congratulations, Mr President-elect”. That was when my introspection got a name, a face, an image, from an outer voice.Now that I’ve become the President, what’s next? How do I frame my zeal to promptly and precisely serve my people within the confines of political protocol and arms or tiers of government? Now that I’ve become the President, how do I make much of the little in fiscal projections to really reach the grassroots? How do I translate, say, fiscal figures allocated to agriculture, into good corns garnered into a granary by a happy village farmer or into a rural housewife’s multiplying chickens or goats? How do I balance educational allocations between concrete infrastructure/equipment and availability of competent and contented teachers? How do I arrest those educated but idle young hands and feet across the country with viable vocational opportunities? How do I generally tackle industrial hiccups via their attendant grievances? Does my new title ‘president’ mean I should ‘preside’ over all public services and servants in the country to ensure things are done right? How should I so preside over them? Is it by self-exemplification or law enforcement or both? If the Legislature is to propose laws, the Judiciary is to translate laws, and the Executive is to execute laws, do these three roles not revolve around the same legal pivot? So, why should there be any disagreement among them?Now that I’ve become the President, dear fellow citizens, if I do wrong, teach me to do right; if I do right, tell me to do more. Just as my mandate of presidency rests on the power of your collective votes, let the decisions and duties of that presidency be continually complemented by your collective feedback. That feedback will be recognized by me, God willing, be it in the form of genuine individual or collective complaint; be it via any one of the mass media; be it in face-to-face interaction with me during the numerous ‘personal verification tours’ that will characterize my presidency; be it in the physical improvement or otherwise in any affected sector of your lives.Now that I’ve become the President, may I call on all of us to pray then plan then proceed to tackle the major national problems that require our immediate attentions. We cannot afford to prolong our celebrations, lest we celebrate the elongation of problems. However, my own inquisitive stimulus will for long remain: Now that I’ve become the President, how far could I go in fulfilling the promises of my candidacy, campaigns and presidency? How much could I accomplish? How well, how soon?
Dr Umar wrote from Dutse<email@example.com>;
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