Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
AIDS Kills Another Son Of Kano:
The Story of Sani Babankowa
April 27, 2006
Age inflation is novel phenomenon in Nigerian politics. Before the advent of this democracy, it was only heard of age deflation by our fathers who have preferred to die in the files than to give chance for the fresh blood. Ibrahim Salisu Buhari (Imam), the disgraced former speaker of the House of Representatives broke the jinx. He got on our nerves, brought shame to Kano and the nation in general by his age-inflating and Torontoic stunts. And it dealt a serious blow on Kano people who had to bear the pain of owning up this ambitious son whose inordinate ambition cast blight on and precipitated the untimely demise of his otherwise bright political career. That’s the effect of “AIDS” (Ambitious Infancy Deficiency Syndrome). He was once quoted as saying, with aristocratic arrogance, that his “integrity is intact.” But few days after defending his “integrity,” he shamefacedly but tearfully recanted, and apologised to his colleagues for all he did.
I may have bored you stiff with this heart-rending Buhari issue. I brought the issue because it’s a reflection of what happens today in the bumpy terrains of Kano politics, Nassarawa Local Government (where the disgraced forgers hailed) in particular, and also to forewarn my fellow Kanawa (mostly those ambitious) not to bring more shame to our politically sane State. Do not prematurely hand-brake your political carrier before you reach the terminus: The subject of today’s piece is Muhammad Sani Ibrahim Ahmed Babankowa, popularly known as Sani Boss.
I had the idea of writing this story in gestation for quite a long time. But then the issue was subjudice, so I took respite till the expectant verdict came out after about three tortuous years of legal fireworks expertly prolonged by the defence lawyers of Sani Babankowa. He is the son of a retired commissioner of police and former gubernatorial aspirant in Kano during the duplicitous days of IBB. However, the verdict contradicts the famous dictum that justice delayed, justice denied. In this case, the justice is however delayed, but not denied.
The protracted legal tussle was really dramatic. In fact if it will be shown at Marhaba or Plaza Cinemas in Kano, it would make a box office success. Exhibit, exhibit, yet more exhibits. The petition was presented at the tribunal jointly by People’s Democratic Party, PDP and its candidate, Salisu Sidi Abba against Sani Ibrahim Ahmed and five other Respondents on the 19th day of May 2003 with petition no: EPT/KN/SA/07/2003. The grounds for the petition were that the 1st Respondent (Sani Boss) was at the time of the election not qualified to contest the election into Kano House of Assembly, because he was, at the time of the election, below the age of 30 years. This contradicts a provision under section 106 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The petitioner was not rich, nonetheless, three things enriched his dogged quest for justice: a wealth of evidence available, the eloquence and erudition of his lawyer, AB Mahmud, SAN and the proven integrity of the chairman of the election petition tribunal, Hon. Justice S.D. Bage.
Boss, who was born on the 15th day of January 1975 in Jos, claimed that he was born in Kano at FaggeA, then Nassarawa Local Government in 1973. Unknown to him that the petitioners were already armed with a copy of his original birth certificate, not declaration of age he was only able to produce. Many witnesses were subpoenaed to testify before the tribunal. Among whom were his father, St Thomas Secondary school vice principal, Assistant Registrar of Bayero University, Kano, BUK; and one Garba Miko, a politician. On the 22/7/2003, Boss’ father, Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmed Babankowa testified after the usual ritual of swearing to Holy book, the former police boss testified that his son was born at no. 333 FaggeA (a storied mason house partly overlooking Kantin Kwari), then Nassarawa Local Government, not Fagge Local Government where he was living. That he was born on the 15th /01/1973 in Kano. He testified that at the time he (Boss) was born, the father (Babankowa) was in Makurdi, Benue State. The former CPO (old Gongola State) added that a signal was sent to him that his wife delivered a baby boy and he came for the naming ceremony and obtained a Birth Certificate from the registry two days after. He maintained that due to nomadic or frequent nature of posting in police job, his late cousin, Alhaji Abdulrahman Ringim (the famed A.A. Ringim) took charge of the educational processes of his children (even though A.A. Ringim was known to have a great passion for travelling around the world. May Allah grant him peace, Amin). Therefore he rarely or never asked Boss about his schooling and insisted that his age-inflating son was born in Kano. I can’t say this respected father, former cop and elder statesman lied. In deference to his age and status, I can pertinently say that the one-time DPO of Jos Mine Field got it wrong. His claims were incorrect.
On 6th August, 2003 due to heap of evidence available before the respected chairman of the tribunal, and pursuant, therefore to section 136 of the Electoral Act 2002, nullified the election and ordered for a bye-election. No sooner had he delivered the epochal judgement than the boy in question, Sani Boss, gathered his legal paraphernalia and headed for the appeal court in Kaduna State, with the hope that the appeal proceedings might gulp the whole time before the judgement is delivered. But not with the hope that it will declare him the winner! The court upheld the earlier ruling of the tribunal and ordered for a bye-election. But this judgement really angered Kano State Governor, His Excellency Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, fondly called Iro Biu by friends (but not from the mouth of his bloody subject like Jaafar, I beg don’t get me wrong) whose government is a queer sandwich of clerics, bootlickers, thugs, good men, squandrels, and advisers on everything a child (not adult) could imagine. Its rare irony that a man of Shekarau’s principled posture holds this brand of people so dear! No thanks to Hurricane SAK. Mallam tried his possible best to ensure his Man Friday, Sani Boss (who appropriated our funds that are supposed to go to hospitals to Hisbah and other executive propligacies) re-contested. However, given the wide-spread condemnation the idea received, Shekarau unwillingly swallowed the idea. If one were to believe a source (who has always been reliable), Shekarau even promised to console him. “Is it not contracts or appointment…?” Mallam rhetorically inquired. “I will do you one.” He allegedly boasted with an air of finality. This is Kano, Shariah State, as they say, a liar, forger, who is supposed to face prosecution, is the one being harboured and promised this and that. I laughed them to scorn.
It’s now obvious that Shekarau’s fixation with brinkmanship and duplicity could only be compared with that of Tony Anenih. His double speak that of Jerry Gana and his integrity that of Adolphus Wabara who also did not win primary election (apology to civil servants, the only beneficiaries of Mallam’s “human development project”).
I was really mesmerised by the way some good candidates like Ahmed Sa’idu Adhama were denied nomination for obvious reasons – his (Shekarau) deep-rooted dislike for the famous Adhama family that he displays with so much venom – the recent onslaught was an eloquent testimony. The election was disgusting echoes of how electoral process degenerated into – extremely abysmal. Every party rigs, but if you are outrigged, you complain this party has rigged and you head to court and complain that you are rigged. Or, if you lack facts to substantiate your claims, you say: although I am rigged, but I will make sacrifice. Both “Marked” ANPP (Mai Kwale, not SAK) and “Crossed” PDP (Mai Kuros not Ta Jamaa) employed political mercenaries from surrounding Local Governments to man the election. PDP Mai Kuros was outrigged and they conceded to ANPP Mai Kwale (got me?).
And here we had better end the digression. For those who did not know Boss and those who may like to know him better, he was born on 15th January 1975 at Our lady of Apostle RCM Hospital, one cold Wednesday afternoon in Jos, Plateau State. His birth certificate was obtained 5 days after, thus 20th January 1975 by his father at the registry of Govt. Health Office, Jos, with registration No: 05/75 and signed by one Dr G.G. Bhure, the then Registrar. On the same day the first Gulf War broke after Iraq failed the deadline. On the same afternoon, Americans were traditionally observing Martin Luther King Day while the diamond-rich Angolans were rolling out the drums to celebrate their liberation from the shackles of colonialism as Portugal signed accord for their independence. The same January 15 (two years earlier) was the day his grand father, Alhaji Amadu Ringim, a fine philanthropist died. For Ringim people the day was dark, they cried their eyes out. For Nigerians also, January 15 will forever remain a mourning day. It was the day (January 15, 1966) the revered Sardauna, Balewa, Akintola, Maimalari, etc. were killed by a small group of army mutineers. But this year (2006) as he was celebrating his expensive birthday party with friends, alas, poor Kuwaitis were in deep sorrow, mourning the death of Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait. What a sorrowful day!
Sani Boss started his early education at Victoria Primary School before he was transferred to Kano Capital Primary School in 1984, and later Aliyu Bn Abi Talib Primary School in Kano. At the primary school, the young Boss had always stood out. A scamp as he was, almost every student and teacher of the school knew him because of uneven one-upmanship, delinquency, playing tricks and truancy. After Common Entrance, he moved to School for Higher Islamic Studies, Shahuci in 1988 before he was later moved to St Thomas Secondary School, Kano in 1990. At St Thomas, he was a prefect and a kind of bully who all the juniour students feared. Holding his toy 090 analogue phone as usual, and his shirt tucked carelessly in his trousers, any juniour student who dared to step on the tail of the wild boar faced his wrath. That was a situation that made Mrs Hannelore Olufeyemi (Oluf), the late German-born principal, to query him umpteen time.
When he scaled the then easy huddle of admission into university (94/95 session) and matriculated by Prof. Bello Bako Dambatta (the then VC of BUK) with Registration No: SMS/94/41810, to study Bsc Accounting at BUK. The youthful and exuberant Boss had a great passion for highlife. But what he detested was associating with the “lower class.” You could always see him throwing parties, organising shows and cruising around Ramat Hall, Nana in his “leftover” car, Tico Daewoo or Honda 86 (SB 09), and later VW Golf 3. His love for politics started during his university days, unfortunately luck was never by his side, hence did not win any election he had contested. One humiliating defeat the former passive member of NUASA had was when he contested the President Kano Students Association, KSA. “Vote for those who have connections,” he chanted his slogan with aristocratic vanity. In terms of academic performance, his records were what any dilettante could perform. Although he hates those calculations and bookkeeping in Accounting, yet he handled them fairly and managed to scale through. Boss’ political career may have received a serious boost, had he remained content with the councillorship post he had initially bought form to aspire before the whirlwind of SAK blows “Kanoward.” At House of Assembly when he was elected in 2003, he sets the record of first chairman of Appropriation Committee ever to appropriate more than $1 billion USD (black market rate) in less than 3 years – no visible capital project apart from the celebrated N5.5bn water project, yet to be completed.
But inordinate ambition and the usual bigboysm of those “accidentally” born in a rich family might have contaminated the political blood these two sons of Kano with “AIDS.” Few years ago Buhari was a lawmaker, made laws, hosted diplomats, interacted with presidents, endless junkets, wielded great power but today he could but only take solace in local politics, chain wraps of hemp and other unprintable tranquilisers, Rumbu Sacks (few kilometres outside the town where his tiny office is located and close to Babankowa house). He is now the self-styled Papa Adedibu of Kawaji ward, decides who becomes a councillor, who becomes chairman of PDP at the ward level. Pity, though it may sound, but I didn’t feel for him. Although President Obasanjo has tried to relive the carcass by appointing him Board Chairman of the National Education Research and Development Council of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, yet he maintains low-keyed affairs. Moreover, who knows? What power does he wield? No more. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. These two dishonourable sons of our land (Buhari and Sani Boss) are nobody’s heroes, no one emulates them. Buried in a political cemetery, they are now subject of scorn and derision. They will never be exhumed for any political autopsy and their “death” is unlamented. They are all buried at Kawaji political cemetery. The etched epitaph on their gravestones was an indelible inscription: The former died after a brief illness, while the later died after a protracted illness known as Ambitious Infancy Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Rest In Parish-pump politics, RIP.
Jaafar is an unsolicited biographer of Sani Boss and lives in Kano.
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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.