Kano in northern Nigeria is a great state with rich cultural heritage. And rich history, positive and negative. Positively, it is the ancestral home of the richest African, Aliko Dangote. It is the second richest state in Nigeria and the second most populated after Lagos. Kano boasts of great politicians like the late Aminu Kano, the late Abubakar Rimi and the former Governors, Rabiu Kwankwaso and Ibrahim Shekarau. Kano remains for centuries an economic melting pot (much like Lagos) where many ‘infidels’ from the southern part of the country flood to for local greener pastures. A visit to Sabon Gari would testify to Kano’s hospitality and cosmopolitanism.
And now the negative aspect of the city-state. Kano is the state that produced the late loathed dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha, who killed thousands of Nigerians and murdered democracy over the June 12 presidential poll won convincingly by the late billionaire businessman cum politician, Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola and annulled by another dictator preceding Abacha, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida. Kano boasts of imaginary two million votes for President Muhammadu Buhari!
And worst of all, citizen Gideon Akaluka was butchered and decapitated by a Kano mob decades ago for allegedly desecrating the Koran! He was not the only victim of mob actions aimed at the so-called ‘infidels’, christians from other parts of the country.
Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has been the Chief Executive of Kano State for more than five years now. He won a controversial re-election few years ago, a gubernatorial poll widely believed to have been rigged massively by Ganduje and his electoral gang in the APC. Since coming to power he had betrayed his former boss and Governor, Kwankwaso, under whom he had worked as Deputy Governor for eight years. Ganduje has ‘achieved’ three things that history would remember him for long after his exit from the Kano Government House.
Legacy one: He was caught some years ago on a viral video uploaded online stuffing millions of Dollars of kickback inside his flowing ‘agbada’ from a contractor in the city! After a manipulated ‘investigation’ Ganduje survived the national storm that trailed the exposed executive graft. Nothing was done to him. He was even ‘rewarded’ with a rigged re-election!
Legacy two: Governor Ganduje relieved the former Emir of Kano, the ex-CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi of his royal throne citing Sanusi’s lack of decorum and respect for constituted authority. Beyond the official line, however, Sanusi was said to have deen deposed and disgraced because he failed to endorse Ganduje for a second term; he was said to have actively campaigned against his re-election.
The Governor justified the controversial deposition by saying that Sanusi’s appointment as Emir in the first place during the Goodluck Jonathan presidency was done with little or no regard to traditional royal exigencies. What that meant was that Sanusi was all along an impostor! Or a royal fraud if you like. Besides, he accused him of not knowing the responsibility of a highly-reverred kingdom like Kano by mixing his exalted role with local politics and criticisms.
Legacy three: Governor Ganduje recently sacked his Special Adviser on Media, Salihu Tanko-Yakasai, also known as Dawusi, over his comments that President Muhammadu Buhari should resign due to increasing insecurity in the country. Dawusi had taken to his Twitter account with handle @Peacock last weekend and posted thus: “Clearly, we as APC government, at all levels, have failed Nigerians in the number 1 duty we were elected to do which is to secure lives and properties. Not a single day goes by without some sort of insecurity in this land.”
And continuing he had said: “This is a shame! Deal with terrorists decisively or resign…..Hypocrisy is in our DNA. Imagine what’s happening in the North now was under GEJ or OBJ, sai dai ka ji ana makiyin arewa ne, makiyin musulmi ne (what you would hear constantly is that they are the enemy of the north, the enemy of the Muslims), but here we are, being ravaged by all sorts of insecurity but no collective rage, sai useless lamentations.”
Mallam Tanko-Yakasai was reacting to the abduction of hundreds of students at Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe in Talata Mafara Local Government Area of Zamfara State. Hours after his sack some operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) effected his arrest and took him to Abuja where he is currently being detained.
Dawisu had gotten into trouble with his principal last year when he was suspended before he was reinstated into office. Then he had taken to the social media platform to lambast the incompetence of Buhari and his security chiefs. He had tweeted: “I have never seen a government with zero empathy like that of President Muhammadu Buhari….So many times, when his people are going through a difficult time and expect some sort of tap on shoulder to reassure them that he is in charge, but he failed to do so”
And not done yet he had fired away: “The ‘I don’t care attitude’ is on another level…..To speak to your own people over issues that are bedeviling them has become something like a favour you are doing to them….Over and over again, you cannot spare five minutes to address the nation to calm them down, the same people you went to the 36 states to beg for their votes, it is heartbreaking.”
When he was first fired briefly the Kano state government condemned the tweeting aide for his “unguarded utterances”. But the fired and rehired and fired SA on Media to the Governor had claimed that what he wrote was his personal opinion and did not therefore represent or reflect the government official view on the issue.
Dawisu the peacock appeared to be a radical with critical views on issues of our time. It could ordinarily amount to an incongruity for a political appointee to slam a goverment he was working for. Speaking truth to power even though one was part of the larger political establishment could be construed as disloyalty to the system.
Nigeria is not like America, for example, where a lady working a Governor or Mayor could wake up one morning and accuse the man of power of sexual harassment. In Nigeria corruption is rewarded and criticism of the powers-that-be highly punished. That is why we are where we are unfortunately: arrested development, echoes of war, mounting security challenges and other criminalities.
However, there was nothing extra-ordinary or criminal for someone working under a Governor to express his opinion no matter how unpalatable whatever he had to say. Salihu deliberately decided to call a spade a spade refusing to suffer from the hypocrisy syndrome afflicting a whole lot of our corrupt elite. What he did was in resonance with patriotism nonetheless.
Yet, all things considered firing the Special Assistant and having him arrested and detained for condemning the condemnable was against his freedom of speech and fundamental human rights guaranteed by our abused constitution. If terrorists and bandits could be cajoled or paid to abandon their criminal enterprises then the ordeal of the fallen aide could not be justifiable.
‘Peacock’ took the ‘bullet’ because he was naive. When you believe in whatever you do a time shall come when your conscience could no longer accommodate certain abnormality or irresponsibility emanating from government. Then the best honourable thing to do is resign. Resign before you are fired or forced to resign. Strike before you are struck!
After Sanusi’s controversial fall from the royal grace in Kano Dawisu is yet another glorified victim of the Ganduje gubernatorial madness in Abachaland.
Now that the DSS had released Salihu Tanko-Yakasai without taking him to court since he had committed no punishable offense we must warn against arbitrariness in our security apparatus. Holding him incommunicado in solitary confinement for days represented an abuse of power.