Re-Jigawa: Keeping Faith With The Electorate - Nigerian Politics

18 February 2010

By Saka Raji Audu

I read an interesting article titled, "Jigawa: Keeping faith with the electorate" by one Sanusi Abubakar, a columnist with the Daily trust. Sanusi's piece was published at the back page of the Tuesday Column of February 9, 2010. The synopsis of the piece was the result of the writer's invitation by the Jigawa State Government to see what Governor Sule Lamido has done and is still doing for his state, which the writer describes as "keeping faith with the electorate."  

Incidentally, both the State Governor and his Media person, Mr. Adagbo Onoja are friends of the writer, as revealed in the article. So, it is not a surprise to any one the imaginative image-laundering result of the writer's visit to Jigawa State. Sanusi Abubakar tries unimpressively to sell to the reading public his own version of keeping faith with the electorate just to create impression of 'good work' for his dear friends in Jigawa State. What do you expect of a friend visiting friend on the invitation of the friend, knowing full well what friend can do to favour friend. 

This is not even the matter that informs this response. Sanusi's attempt to thumb up his friends 'good work' in Jigawa State, one believes, is a mere smokescreen to launch  attack against some of the states that had not bothered to invite the writer for the type of 1990s Jerry Gana media tours of the states in Nigeria. One of the states that perhaps, were targeted for undue criticism in just a sentence is the Pyramid State of Kano which Sanusi claims to love "with all its refuse, lack of water, dare-devil achaba riders, as well as arrogant and incompetent leaders who have little or no idea where they are taking us (sic)."I really cherish the writer for expressing his opinion at any point in time, no matter how biased and unsubstantiated, using his most valued tool that is dear to him. Still, it is also my valid opinion that every opinion expressed can only be plausible if supported with factual evidence.  

It is however a fact and I stand to be corrected, that no state in Nigeria that is not without refuse. This explains the establishment of refuse disposal agency by some states to tackle the menace, which Kano is not an exception. Consequently, in order to combat the reckless refuse disposal in a highly populated but cosmopolitan city as Kano, caring and purposeful state government like that of the present one we have in state would embark on environmental cleansing. The activities of the refuse disposal management Board in the state cannot be far from being commended in this direction. If this is the case and which every one that is sincere with one's conscience is in the good picture of it, then what is Sanusi Abubakar trying to portray of Kano, which perhaps, he has not been invited by the Governor and his Media person to see how the governor is also keeping faith with the electorate?  

The little knowledge I have teaches me that "lack of any thing" implies a "total absence of that thing." If this is also the case, what does Sanusi mean by referring to Kano as "lacking Water" knowing full well that water is very crucial to people's life and an absence of it or lack of it will definitely spell doom for every leaving creature in the state? If in Sanusi's opinion, there is no water in Kano, how the Kano people have been surviving in the state without water? At least, Sanusi has not confirmed to have seen Kanawas migrating to Jigawa State in search of water. Haba Sanusi Abubakar! 

Again, in Kano, there are many leaders that hold sway in the state. In short, every registered political party in the state has its own leaders. There are one thousand and one leaders in Kano State just as in any other state of the federation. Who then are the "arrogant and incompetent leaders who have little or no idea where they are taking us (sic)?"What makes them arrogant and incompetent? Methinks an unbiased writer that mean well for himself and his people should always avoid making such type of sweeping but generalized statement that is highly ambiguous. These are where Sanusi's choice of words in his deliberate negative description of Kano, should be seen, thrown to the dogs and regarded as mere ranting of the ants. 

 It is true that Kano has dare-devil achaba riders. This is the price the state government pays for accommodating the achaba riders that were driven away from her neighbouring states including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja but find their way to Kano. I have heard some time ago that the Kano State Government was taking the census of achaba riders in the state. I urge the government to ensure that the exercise is carried to its logical conclusion and far reaching decision on how to avoid the menace cause by Achaba riders in the state is taken. This would avoid the type of Sanusi Abubakar from using it as a way of making some outrageous but insidious comments on Kano in favour of Jigawa State that is just a drop in the Ocean of Kano in terms of developments.  

Sincerely speaking, I support the stance of Sanusi Abubakar on the issue of defaming public building and structure with posters, political or otherwise. But it is not only Lamido government that has made law against such practices. I am sure that in Kano, Shekarau government is also doing something to checkmate the practice. Perhaps Sanusi would dispute it because he has not been invited to Kano to see the good thing that is also happening to the state just as her Jigawa counterpart extended visit to him. However, I have seen how the Kano State government painted some public buildings that were carelessly littered with political posters, especially before the presence of the large visitors that witnessed the turban of the first ever Sardaunan Kano. In this case, I want to personally invite the writer, Sanusi Abubakar, to Kano to see how the Kano has also kept and is still keeping faith with the electorate, if he thinks that he really love Kano from the bottom of his heart. 

Most importantly, I would like to draw the attention of the writer, Sanusi Abubakar to an article I read in recent past which stands the chance to debunk all his beautiful claims about Jigawa's keeping faith with the electorate. In its edition of 5th May- 12th May 2009, the popular Desert Herald Weekly Newspaper carried a three page paid advert on what it described as "transforming of Jigawa through a visionary leadership of people's governor." The message of this advert was later diluted by the same Desert Herald on page 41 of its edition of 2nd June 9th June 2009 through a well positioned article titled, "Re: the political brouhaha in Jigawa State" in which the author claims on paragraph 12 that "Lamido deceived the entire Talakawa of Jigawa State by giving more than N400 million to his Press Director to do Talakawa summit, which up till today the Talaka in Jigawa is not aware of what is happening to his life." Perhaps, I do not know if the government or her spokesperson has refuted this claim. If none of the two has refuted this unverified claim, the issue of keeping faith with the electorate in Jigawa as espoused by Sanusi Abubakar is a farce.  

Above all, I do not see any comparative achievements of any governor in the northwest political region that outshine that of Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau. For instance, his Adaidaita Sahu (societal reorientation) project is second to none in the country. Little wonder therefore, why the Information and National Orientation Minister, Professor (Mrs.) Dora Akunyili had to adopt it to the Federal Government in her "rebranding the nation". Some few governors in the northwest geo-political zone that tried to copy this project failed because they did not know what their people needed most. For instance, JIGAWA's VISION is not viable in the State and therefore not people oriented project, thus forcing the project out of Jigawa state to Kano State where it works effectively. Contrarily, you cannot find Adaidaita Sahu vehicles operating in other state as is the case with the JIGAWA's Vision. All these do not suggest that Sanusi Abubakar should not tell us what his friends in Jigawa State have invited him to see and disseminate to the people. 

 However, in the course of Sanusi carrying out such 'benevolent assignment' for Jigawa State government, he should have spared his deliberate and negative comments on Kaduna, Kano, Kogi, Kwara, and Nassarawa until he also pays some visits to them. This is what responsive journalism entails. As for Kano, one thing is very clear. This is to say that the state government under the headship of Sardaunan Kano has really achieved success. As every one knows pretty well, success attracts envy and jealousy. Whatsoever is great will continue to be great, no matter how loud the clamour of denial. After all, Shekarau broke the Kano political jinx and he is now the Sardaunan Kano after 43 years of searching the man of integrity to hold the title.  

On 16th February 2010, the author of "Keeping faith with the electorate in Jigawa State came up with another subterfuge, which he termed as "the Jigawa example and the dangers of cynicism." Here, Sanusi Abubakar tries desperately to borrow leaf from some other persons who had also spoken well in favour of Jigawa. This is mainly meant to show to some un-identified cynics that would have debunked his write up on "Jigawa: Keeping faith the electorate." These are Sanusi Abubakar words: "We have all become very cynical and not without some reason. We don't believe in anyone anymore. Indeed, so desensitized have we become that any reported theft or misappropriation of mere hundreds of millions hardly merits the front page. God protects anyone that dares to say a particular governor or minister has done well. It is usually assumed the person has been "settled", to use the local slang for "bribed.' So, when I decided to write about my favourable impression of what I saw in my recent trip to Jigawa State, I knew what I was getting myself into." Sanusi Abubakar went ahead to say "but I was not the only one impressed with what Governor Sule Lamido's Jigawa has been able to achieve in such a short time." 

The issue involved in Sanusi Abubakar's sojourn to Jigawa State has nothing to do with "cynicism" as he would like to put it. To the humble mind of the readers, it is the issue of robbing Peter to pay Paul. As earlier observed here, Sanusi has the right to inform his readers of his impression about Jigawa where he went on special visit to see things. But he has no right to castigate and mischievously talk ills of states like Kaduna, Kano, Kogi, Nassarawa, Kwara without evidential proof of what he talks about. For example, what is Sanusi's proof that "Kano lacks water" and her leaders are "arrogant and incompetent?" Why Sanusi must choose to praise Jigawa at the detriment of Kano and other states? It is in view of these observations that on 12th February 2010, I sent my humble response to the columnist to, in the spirit of "right to reply", feature it in his Tuesday column. On 16th February 2010 when his column, now dedicated to his friends in Jigawa State, came out I expected to read my response in his column. This was not so. Instead, Sanusi Abubakar rededicated his pen to pour encomium on Governor Lamido by marshalling positive observations of some people whose mindsets are not pragmatically different from the writer. He then suppressed the exposition of his perfidy in his "Jigawa: Keeping faith in the electorate." What sort of a columnist that replies one's observation of his comments without first allowing others to read such observation, dearly beats one's imagination? This journalistic terrorism is in abeyance with the spirit of democratic milieu where every one is free to express one's view no matter how badly expressed. 

Sanusi should therefore note that no one is cynical about his decision to tell us what he wants us to know of Jigawa State. But as a columnist in a well respected medium as Daily Trust, he should have also tried to avoid cynical and sadistic comments on states that have not invited him for a visit to see the level at which such states equally keep faith in the electorate. This, however, is the crux of the matter. If this has led to cynicism, Sanusi Abubakar should have known that he was the first cynic that cast the stone.  

Saka Raji Audu contributed this piece from Kano and can be reached on his email:





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