In Defence of Defence Minister


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In Defence of Defence Minister




Jaafar Jaafar




June 17, 2006



Who will defend the defence Minister? I am sure your mind might have run gun-totting chaps around him. Lest it did, rein in such thoughts. In this case, it is pen-wielding writer whose drive to defend him was borne out of predilection for defending people who are unnecessarily attacked. I got the nudge to wield my pen which, as the saying goes, is mightier than the sword, or, in this case, mightier than the gun, not because of sycophancy or being hired to do so.


Defence Minister, Dr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso was attacked, taunted and called names by his successor, henchmen, and thugs. Seeing that the resilient Defence Minister waxes stronger, they invented another way of tarnishing his image by linking every thing, and especially the Federal actions or inactions in Kano to this hapless minister who has always meant well for his State. Yet, he did not avail himself of the military men around him or hire a galaxy of ghost writers to defend and massage his ego as his successor takes solace in. Rather, he sent them to Coventry facing the epic task of steering the affairs of the Defence Ministry while his unwavering star shines in the midst of the vitriolic character assassination of his detractors.


The war of attrition takes its especial distinction when the good work of the amiable Professor Dora Akunyili to rid Kano off fake and substandard drugs was given a political undertone. The propagandists went further on air to say that it was Defence Minister, given his position as a minister, connived with Professor Akunyili to harass the drug merchants (most of them Igbos, her kinsmen!). How misleading! Assuming Kwankwaso does so (far from being likely), why wouldn’t the government take it in good part that the minister, out of sheer love for his people, wanted to slough off fake and substandard drugs like Potassium Bromide from his state? If they failed to acknowledge the essence of this crusade of the Federal Government and gave it political undertone, then such ingratitude is truly lamentable.


Aside concocting every fatuous tall story against him, linking every political attack and killing with him, they also went further to bludgeon the Minister by changing almost all his good policies and halted the uncompleted projects he has left and told the people that they were bad policies. They scrapped CRC (a body that built many schools), abolished primary school feeding and uniform programme (that inspired our kids), and refused to, as a visitor of Kano State University of Technology, to visit the school because Kwankwaso, who hates education, built the university. What is the essence of spending millions on their children and cronies’ to study abroad with the poor man’s money while refusing to inspire the hungry poor man’s children by feeding them with a few morsels in school?


Another naked lie the doom merchants of the governor are now busy selling is that the Minister is planning to destabilise Kano! How nauseating a lie! It was Mallam Shekarau, and thank God not Kwankwaso, an anarchist, who, in the guise of canvassing the poor man’s vote, invented a sacrilegious politico-religious contraption they unfairly called “Shariah,” and conscripted over 9,000 Kaleri-like gang they cloaked in police attire and uncharitably call Hisbah to destabilise Kano and inflict pain on both Muslims and Christian brethren. Their madness (Hisbah) drew the attention of many other reasonable Muslims like Defence Minister to comment and complain about the violence the Corps resorted to. Kano people, noting that violence is not part of Islam, complained also; and the Federal Government answered our plight and averted the impending doom by banning the Hisbah Corps. Is there any destabilisation that passed wielding machetes, stun guns and other weapons that the proscribed Corps did? The governor, who the henchmen say is full of progressive ideas, having failed to resuscitate the agricultural potentials of Kano, and having the easy and ever-flowing petrodollar (not groundnut-Pyramid-dollar he failed to sow and reap as promised) at his disposal that makes him lethargic, he embarked on unnecessary spending (like purchasing 8,000 Stun guns! Sponsoring a constellation of party loyalists to pilgrimage while the masses die of cholera and malaria!) and improvisation of many contraptions in the guise of working for Islam instead of empowering the masses!


It always baffles me. It so much disturbs me. It also irks me to see a man who henchmen almost called a prophet calling names and spitting invectives at the Minister. The governor, thank God not Kwankwaso who is not a saint, told a crowd that the Minister, to borrow his lexicon, “Ministan tsoro ne, shi yasa ba zai shigo Kano ba.” This means that the Minister, according to our dear governor, is Fearfulness (tsoro) Minister not Defence (tsaro) Minister that is why he is afraid to come to Kano. Strictly speaking, and considering the nuances of the two Hausa words (tsaro and tsoro), one ought to reasonably infer that the governor’s allusive remark means that he (Kwankwaso) will be attacked by the governor’s thugs – among whom one once threatened the hell out of pressmen. This situation almost trammelled the Minister’s visit to Kano.


More dismaying was when Hajiya Saadatu Rimi, the wife of the estranged god-father of Kwankwaso, Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, was murdered, a writer almost pin pointed the Minister as the killer of this respected and bounteous mother. Paradoxically however, when Mallam Saleh Halliru, the husband of Hajiya Naja’atu, the estranged god-mother of Mallam Shekarau, was almost killed, the same writer, who feigns neutrality, did not apply the same hypothesis or pin point Shekarau as the mastermind. How unfair!


Another disturbing falsehood they tritely tell their audience was that the Minister conspired with custom officials to impound contraband wares at Kantin Kwari textile market. Pray, whoever has evidence for this should please come forth and unravel the nexus linking the Minister’s involvement with this well-announced exercise. Very much aware that similar exercises are undertaken throughout the country, they tell their supporters that Minister is man behind all this. I feel for him.


Untiring as they were, they also said that Kwankwaso hated workers and even put embargo on recruitment during his administration. Wonderful. But with all their loudmouthed fairness, they swallowed the fact that it was Kwankwaso who contrived to recruit 1000 graduates to replace the retrenched contracted (not permanent) non-indigenous teachers. If this could earn the Minister the sobriquet of a “worst Governor,” then the revered late General Murtala, who first put the word ‘indigenisation’ into the body-politic, was the worst leader Nigeria ever had.


Poor Kano! It is only in this soil that paying salary and pension (what no one can deny given the ample the State receives) is the major achievement the government can boast of. Okay fine, but answer my simple question: are all the people of Kano civil servants and pensioners? 2% or so. So now, the remaining 98%, mostly masses, are left without basic medicare, environmental hygiene, good education, pipe-borne water, etc. and they call this “human development project.” Do they want to say poor man is not human?


To say that this Minister does not mean well for Kano is understatement. During his tenure as a governor, Kano had many appointments from Federal Government. This was a man who, in protest to the sacking of Kano indigenes from Ashaka Cement, dealt the company a blow for such draconian action. It could also be recalled that the Minister, out of protest for manipulation of the appointment Kano son (UK Ahmed) as Comptroller-General of Immigration, almost affronted Madam Nwizu, the late Comptroller-General of Immigration, when she paid him a courtesy call in the Government House. It is surprising that the same person who the Minister complained about the injustice made against, was the one, out of sheer treachery, conspired unsuccessfully with the self-styled pious governor of Kano to put a spanner into the Minister’s screening in the senate.


To completely damage the Minister, they set forth, armed with a tarbrush, to tarnish his image. Hear them: It was Kwankwaso who used his connection to paralyse the activities of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA). How laughable! Do they want to say that he (and the unfairly vilified Obasanjo who has spent unprecedented amount on the Airport) sacked all the airline operators not market forces? How could a person do these to his people? I don’t know – some body should have me enlightened.




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