“Nigeria will know no peace until the son of a nobody, can become somebody, without knowing anybody” – Mallam Aminu Kano
My affinity with Kano State the commercial nerve centre of Northern Nigeria is legendary. My journalism journey actually started with the defunct Satellite Newspaper in Enugu but its footing really began in Kano where I did my National Youth Service with the Triumph Newspapers in late 80s. After the service I was retained in the media organisation opening the way for a three decade career long voyage in the noble profession of Journalism in various media establishments across the country. Kano is therefore critical part of my history as a journalist.
It’s perhaps against this backdrop that I always get nervous at any news emanating from Kano especially if the issue is not toothsome.
Since 2015 when Dr Abdullahi Ganduje climbed the throne as the sixth elected governor of this great state it has been more in the news for wrong than right reasons. Before Governor Ganduje were great leaders like Abubakar Rimi, Abdu Dawakin Tofa, Sabo Bakin Zuwo, Kabiru Gaya, Rabiu Kwakwaso, Ibrahim Shekarau and Kwakwaso’s second coming.
Since the arrival of Ganduje in Kano it has been everyday battle either with the godfather or with the Emir. Now having gotten his way in all, the Governor is obviously bewildered on what to do next. Having prepared himself with enough arsenal for fight and there are no longer any perceived enemy standing in his front he appears helpless and forlorn.
The fight that he thought will come on the dethronement of Emir Sanusi never came, a situation that threw him into further confusion. While relishing the hangover of a successful sack of the Emir unknown to him a bigger enemy was lying in wait. He was expecting enemies that would come in physical human form to be led possibly by either Kwakwaso or Sanusi and got blinded when the tiny virus nicknamed COVID-19 sneaked in and started tugging down citizens.
Every government apparatchik was mobilized and channelled into confronting the known enemies so no other system was working from local Government to state level.
While other states were making frantic efforts to curtail the COVID-19 entering their states, the Kano government still focussed their armoury on the direction of perceived enemies who ostensibly must be either Kwasakwaso, Sanusi or their agents.
When news report came out of the state on the abnormal deaths, the Governor and his government dismissed it saying it’s a barefaced rumour being peddled by political enemies.
In his battle mood he quickly moved with his rubber stamp State House of Assembly to promulgate a penalty law for rumour carriers of the ‘fake’ deaths. Weeks after hundreds died including 12 prominent persons, Professors, and an Editor, a dear colleague of mine in Triumph Newspaper, Mallam Musa Tijani, they were still denying.
Even when it stark the government glaringly in the face, they still continued living in denial, rather than acknowledge it for what it is they chose to attribute it to malaria and other ailments not COVID-19.
Editor Tijani a great member of the great class of the Triumph Newspaper in late 80s and early 90s that included great minds, like Dr Rufai Madaki, Hajia Bilikisu Yusuf, Shehu Dauda, Sheriff Ujudud, Muhammad Musa- Booth, Bashir Bello Akko , and Josephine Lohor all of blessed memory May God bless their souls, plus the living, Garba Ahmad, Garba Shehu, Baba Dantiye, Kabiru Mohammad, Musa Illalah, Olu Ojawale, Leke Salau, Muhamoud Adnan Audi, Sale Mari Maina, Nii Ayi Bulley, Emmanuel Yawe, Paul Udenyi, David Ilori, Umoru Ibrahim, the photo men, Nuhu Musa and beloved wife Jamilia, Hadiza Abdullahi, Sheriffat Tanko, Carol Ekeruche Sani Zaria, Sani Zorro, Abba Dabo, Kabiru Yusuf and the Wife Aisha, Jibril Muhammad and off course my beloved brother Comrade John Akpan. And not to forget the younger breeds like Ali Ali, Dominic Kidzu, Dan Okereke, Mohammad Garba who was President of NUJ and current Commissioner of Information in Kano, etc. That class remains the best export from Kano to Journalism profession in this country producing two Presidents of the Guild of Editors, Garba Shehu and Baba Dantiye.
Instead of addressing the matter with the urgency it demands, Ganduje began the cry that federal government has abandoned the state. He possibly was eyeing the N10b FG gave to Lagos forgetting that before federal government came to Lagos rescue Governor Babajide Sanwo -Olu was already 50% into the marathon. But Ganduje was apparently expecting federal Government and other donors to lead the fight for him.
By now it’s becoming very glaring that by removing Sanusi, Ganduje aimed bullet on his own leg. If Sanusi was there as Emir, he would have mobilized the private sector into Kano having been part of them. Today as Governor of the most populous state in the country, Ganduje cannot relate with the public or private sector effectively. Even the political leaders are still indifferent on his matter because of the dethronement of the Emir. Is it the private sector you disgraced one of their own, you expect to come and donate to you or the elders and leaders of the North that you disregarded their pleas to let Sanusi be?
Truth is that Kano has been made a pariah state under Ganduje with innocent citizens’ victim of his maladroit political judgements. A Sanusi as Emir of Kano even in his short comings has far more gains for not just Kano but for the traditional institutions in the North and the entire country as a whole. The class he brought to the throne, the modernity that came with him into the palace have all been ditched overnight because of the political interest of a Governor who has just about three years to leave office.
Fourteen British Prime Ministers starting from Winston Churchill since 1951 worked with the current Queen of England, did they all like her ways, didn’t they tolerate her short comings and used her when they deemed fit?
All the advisories Sanusi gave for which he was severally abused by Ganduje’s aides are today part of the great challenges of the state. When he said that people should not bear children they lack the economic strength to manage, he was abused and accused of being irreligious and anti-culture. When Sanusi warned of the danger of almajiri system where parents abandon their under aged children to the streets and out of school, he was called names.
Today Ganduje is exporting almajiris back to their various states with no clear plan for their future. This is after they were copiously used for under age voting and some of them dangerously armed purposely to chase away opponents and electoral officers for election result doctoring.
During the electoral campaign the promise was never to send the almajiris home but to develop their potentials but today they are hauled into trailers like cows and sheep to where they did not vote without any defined program.
President Goodluck Jonathan who had plans for the almajiri was roundly hated by Northern elites who are yet to come up with superior way out.
Today, Kano is overwhelmed and the leadership whether political, traditional or religious are all lying prostrate blurred of what to do. It is very clear that Ganduje after sowing wind is afraid to reap whirlwind but nature does not work that way. The idea of the saying, as you make your bed so you will lie on it is a realistic axiom underscoring the fact that you actually must reap what you sow.
Ganduje’s case is a clear picture of why Presidential system is being knocked, with parliamentary system the likes of Ganduje and his biddable legislature would have been under severe pressure of survival.
With gullible state lawmakers who are unable to proffer solutions to the challenges, political watchers lament for Kano, the home of real progressive governance in the country founded on the principle of talakwaism by the iconic Mallam Aminu Kano.
The last time such lame and uninspiring regime passed through the state was in second republic when one Bakin Zuwo came in as Governor from fallouts of political crisis then but his comic approach to governance relieved his lowbred and gawkiness.
But here we are with a supposed Ph.D. holder at the helm of affairs clearly unable to provide any intellectual direction to governance in his state.
Since the Dandollar issue which he got cleared by a Kano court, the Governor appears to have lost his bearing as he has not been able to pull any strings that could help wipe it off the minds of the populace, an image that has now gotten compounded by clear absence of good governance in the state.
May God bless and help this beloved city Kano recover herself. Amen.