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Gov Kefas And Political Sagacity

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Sallah: Gov Kefas Congratulates Muslims, Urges Religious Tolerance

By Emmanuel Bello

Believe it or not, the initial reluctance by some people to accept the candidacy of Dr Agbu Kefas last year was premised on what they view as his lack of experience in politics. They have since been wondering what they were thinking back then. For the soldier turned politician have not only surpassed all expectations of the political class but also carved a niche uniquely his. How the political class arrogantly arrives at the conclusion that someone is not a politician baffles me. But if politics is the art of war by other means and the subtle use of power to mobilize people, then Dr Agbu Kefas has mastered it.

The last election in the Jalingo, Yorro, and Zing federal constituency was perhaps a litmus test of that mastery. The poll itself was tricky with all sorts of prognosis in the airwaves. An off cycle election, the event was also going to test the strength of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the area mostly seen as an opposition battle ground. Dr. Kefas was calm about it, keeping matters close to his chest. The Supreme Court judgment was up ahead, and many were also distracted, praying for a favorable outcome.

As soon as the judgment came, the governor and the party had only a few days to trash out the primaries and work towards victory in the JYZ polls. The opposition was determined to eke a victory by all means, some saying it is even some kind of compensation for losing out at the courts. Eventually, the opposition threw up arguably formidable candidates. All eyes were fixed on the governor to give his party some direction and a war plan to victory.

His next move would shock even the most cynical of Dr. Kefas political acumen. With a primary that went smoothly, the Governor adroitly got the buy-in of party leaders, and a strong contender emerged. The rest has been history. PDP won the election in grand style, cementing the foundation laid down by the governor when he was the party’s state chairman. His style of politics is putting the party first ahead of any primordial sentiments of tribe or religion. He sees politics as a unifying force to help us deal with divisive tendencies.

It’s not his first rodeo. Dr. Kefas has always understood power play. Even in the military, where he spent two decades, it was in the slippery, dreary world of the intelligence corp. A super spook himself, the basis for future interactions with the game was instilled in these arena.

But party politics is, of course, different from the dark and shadowy terrain of the secret service. However the skills Dr Kefas learnt over the years both in the military and in the classroom of life: reticence, calm and cool calculations, peoples skill and, above all, the love for justice and fair-play has enhanced his political credentials.

Today, all that has seen him emerging as a major stakeholder in both state and national politics. He was the one PDP sent to head the campaigns of the Bayelsa elections recently. There, he shone so brilliantly with everyone taking note of the rising star. He is currently working behind the scenes to deal with the Edo state PDP logjam. The respect and authority he commands in the political class is unprecedented. Back home, he has continued to solidify the party, with many even opining that opposition is dead in the state. He does all of these without firing a shot. But his gentle disposition and body language coupled with his sterling achievements have endeared him to even the opposition. So where are those who had said he is not a politician?

Bello is the Special Adviser Media and Digital Communications to the governor

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