Niger State Governorship Candidates Abu Lolo, Umar Nasko Compared

Niger State Governorship Candidates Abu Lolo, Umar Nasko Compared

How are the highly-anticipated governorship elections affecting views and sympathies of Nigerians across the country? This time, we're focusing on the reports coming from Niger state. Writing exclusively for, our guest author Dr. Ibraheem Dooba compares two Niger state governorship candidates, Abu Lolo and Umar Nasko.

It’s not a secret that both Niger state governorship candidates, Abu Lolo (the APC) and Umar Nasko (the PDP) are “barrack boys” on account of their parents being generals. What else unites or separates them? This is a definitive guide on the candidates.

Abu Lolo vs Umar Nasko: Age

Abu Lolo of the APC turned 47 recently. Umar Nasko of the PDP turned 40 last week.  Both are young men. Many Niger state residents, however, hold Umar Nasko’s relatively younger age against him. This is wrong. Take Murtala Mohammed, who was assassinated at the age of 38: Nigerians and Africans still remember his leadership.

The same goes for the civilians of the past – a past that we now refer to as “the good old days.” Aminu Kano was a young teacher in Bauchi when he teamed up with Sa’adu Zungur (the irrepressible poet) to deepen the “talakawa” movement and become “a spot of bother” for the establishment.

Thus, young age is actually good; sometimes, we need the recklessness of youth to dare. Besides, in Nigeria, the old and the used, and the nice and the new have failed us in recent memory. Thus, this isn’t a criterion of serious concern. I’m giving both the candidates zeroes on this one.

Abu Lolo vs Umar Nasko: Personality

Ali Baba of the CBN told me that Umar Nasko is “a nice friendly guy”. I meet with Abu Lolo frequently, and I can say he’s also nice.  You can say the same thing about most Nigerian leaders. Probably that’s why most of our leaders are ineffective. Examining the personalities of our past leaders, you’d discover that many of them have never been accused of being “nice”.

Indeed, a leader needs to be not-nice to make decisions. In one of his lectures, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, former Prime Minister of Malaysia, said, tongue-in-cheek, “You know they called us bullies.” Abdallah Badawi, who took over, was “a nice guy” – a darling of the media. But whereas Dr. Mahathir was interesting and colourful, Badawi was boring. Where Mahathir was decisive and effective, Badawi equivocated. His own party soon got rid of him.

President Park of South Korea wasn’t nice. Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore wasn’t nice. Churchill wasn’t nice. Even our own Mandela wasn’t nice. They all were able to empathize, but don’t confuse that with being nice.

Back home, I’ve met Governor Kwankwaso. And I can tell you that man is not a nice person. After I left Kano, I wrote a nasty column expressing my discontents. He wasted my time, I wrote. But everyone bears witness today that Kwankwaso is a good governor. Indeed, I’ve written many columns to appreciate this fact and to thank him for giving us at least one decent state in the North.

So, we don’t need a nice governor in Niger state. We need someone who would not only step on toes, but someone who would also crush feet with a sledgehammer – someone who’d run after the bad guys with a koboko. For you’re either toothless or ruthless. I therefore give both candidates another zero mark for being nice.

Abu Lolo vs Umar Nasko: Credibility

This is where things get interesting. Both the APC and PDP candidates worked for the Chief Servant’s government as commissioners. Abu Lolo left on his own volition when he discovered the government wasn’t a serious one. Nasko had to be sacked on suspicion of corruption.

Although the Governor ate his own vomit by bringing him back, this is a clear difference between the two. And on this scale, I score Abu Lolo 10 and Umar Nasko three. To his credit, he wasn’t convicted, so we can’t call him corrupt. Can he be called a thief? No. But then, only President Jonathan has the legal expertise to make that call.

Abu Lolo vs Umar Nasko: Party

Here, too, the difference is clear. One is from a party that’s peopled with suspected rapists, thieves, election riggers, yam-and-goat parable composers and idiots. The other is from a party that, although not perfect, inspires confidence; is populated by smart people and has enacted a change movement in Nigeria.

I’ve seen Buhari on Abu Lolo’s posters. I’ve not seen President Jonathan on Umar Nasko’s posters. For choosing the wrong party, Umar Nasko gets zero. For choosing the right one, Abu Lolo gets 10.

For those not keeping count, Abu Lolo has, so far, scored 20, while Umar Nasko of the PDP has scored three points. Next time, I'll evaluate the education of these two Niger state governorship candidates, their ideas for transforming the state, their choice of running mates and their leadership capabilities.

Dr. Dooba is a data scientist, a teacher and a columnist.

This article expresses the author’s opinion only. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent those of or its editors.


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Khadijah Thabit (Copyeditor) Khadijah Thabit is an editor with over 3 years of experience editing and managing contents such as articles, blogs, newsletters and social leads. She has a BA in English and Literary Studies from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Khadijah joined in September 2020 as a copyeditor and proofreader for the Human Interest, Current Affairs, Business, Sports and PR desks. As a grammar police, she develops her skills by reading novels and dictionaries. Email:

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