Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
Rejoinder To Jaafar Jaafar’s “In Defence of Defence Minister”
July 5, 2006
Reading through a piece, written by one faceless but sponsored writer named Jaafar Jaafar and soberly captioned “In Defence of Defence Minister,” pasted on www.gamji.com penultimate week, I couldn’t help but feel obliged to respond to the misguided and terribly fabricated contents of the article. Though he, the hired character assassin, has written similar ones in the national dailies several times, I rarely had time to write in Mallam Shekarau’s defence because I intentionally distanced my self from public discourses because one can easily be labelled as governor’s henchman or publicist. Yet I found the said one quite sour enough to halt my pressing engagements and spit the little my mouth, or rather my pen, can discharge.
The only thing, aside the utterly malicious and hagiographic façade of the piece, which made me to conclude that the writer was hired, was his allusive, or rather direct, remark that Mallam Shekarau was instigating crisis. When? How? But it is still in our memories, lest Jaafar suffers from acute forgetfulness, the incessant but politically-motivated crises that occurred during the uneventful tenure of “Dr” Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso who ruled Kano with an iron fist (what earned him the appellation of CIVILIAN DICTATOR OF KANO. Jaafar went further to the Mallam’s jugular and said that he was the one who invented Shariah! Isn’t Shariah a divine law? The statements, in all nature, were obviously profane. Hear him: “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.” He added that, “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 (emphasis mine).” He further queried that “Is there any destabilisation that passed wielding machetes, stun guns and other weapons that the proscribed Corps did?” Hisbah did not do what he claimed, and Hisbah is still active. Also Kano people displayed their burning indignation in a formal way. Perhaps, his anarchist boss at the Defence Ministry wanted the now-re-orientated people of Kano to take to the street and start looting and arson. Gone are the days!
Shekarau’s fault, according Jaafar, was his ability to fully implement Shariah in Kano. This feat to him was a mistake and so deserving of the salvo his blunt pen has doodled. Or is it because “reasonable Muslims like Defence Minister” had wilfully failed to implement Shariah? I also do not understand what he means by describing Hisbah as Kalere-like gang. Hisbah and Kalere are diametrically and thematically opposed to each other, for Hisbah was created in line with Shariah principles that many verses in the Holy Quran and Sunnah convey. Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an: “Let there arise from you a group calling to all that is good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong. It is these who are successful (3:104).” What is wrong in forbidding what is wrong and enjoining what is right the Hisbah Corps is doing? For him know, what comes as glaring as this verse cannot be an invention of Mallam Shekarau but divinity. Therefore, he is, as it is binding on all Muslims, only discharging his duties as a Muslim.
The PDP apologist further said that the Mallam Shekarau has changed all the “good policies” of the lootocractic, dubious and chronically un-Islamic government of Kwankwaso. What are the “good policies”? He wrote that Shekarau did a bad thing by changing and scrapping some unnecessary bodies. Hear him again: “…they also went further to bludgeon the Minister,” Jaafar continues, “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)…” How could a person who, according to Jaafar hates education, be giving a whooping N5 million to the Kano State University of Technology (KUT) bearing in mind that it is in sharp contrast to the meagre allocated to Federal universities monthly? Even Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, one of the largest universities in the south of the Sahara, receives a paltry N7 million monthly.
The jumbled assortment of falsehood further tried in vain to face-lift a badly battered image of Ministan tsoro (that’s his name in Kano!) by giving him credit to dubious programmes meant to pillage our lean exchequer. The school feeding programme of Kwankwaso, for his own information, was arbitrarily financed with Local Governments’ funds (what the transparent administration of Mallam Shekarau never interfered with).
In his lamentable naivety, he set out to defend the sacking of 1000 teachers, who mostly taught science subjects. The obvious dearth of science teachers at that time was alarming enough for a sensible leader to recruit even more. Kano students, at that time, really borne, and still bearing, the brunt this gargantuan blunder – massive failures were recorded in the school certificate examination in the last four years despite the tireless efforts of this administration to correct the anomaly.
Where did a government, that the writer said was cash-strapped and did not have the financial muscles to pay pension and employ workers, source the stupendous N790, 000,000.00 it used to roll some paint (farar kasa for that mater) Kano State Investment House (now Ado Bayero House)? The Minister, who according to his publicist, was as transparent glass, committed an astonishing N719, 384,533.10 to Governor’s Lodge, Abuja. Also, a breathtaking N560, 615,467.00 public funds were also squandered to REHABILITATE Government House in anticipation to have a re-election as “ordained” by his soothsayers and sorcerers! The moral question here, every reasonable person should ask, is to what effect were all these? What need have all these (rehabilitations) to common man?
In conclusion, I will like to draw public attention to know that Mallam Shekarau means well to Kano and has done enough in many neglected areas. From the time he to took the oath of office to date, about 4000 youth were trained and empowered to be self-reliant; built about 37 Juma’at mosques and 25 modern five daily prayer mosques. In the area of education, he employed 4729 teachers (highest in the country), ultramodern lecture theatres were built in all tertiary institutions of Kano. To tackle the bane of congestion in our public schools, Shekarau built 131 juniour secondary schools. To further supplement that, he built 308 new classrooms and modernised and equipped our hitherto scarcely equipped laboratories with lab-facilities. His achievement in this regard, need less to say, is holistic, for he touched everywhere.
In the area of healthcare delivery, to the chagrin of his detractors (who do not mean well to Kano and want Mallam to fail as they shamefacedly failed), Mallam did not leave any stone unturned. He built 80-bed maternity ward, 52-bed hostel for clinical students at AKTH, and other countless achievements.
The writer has said a lot about his boss, Kwankwaso. He said that Shekarau and “his propagandists” said Kwankwaso sent NAFDAC, Custom officials to Kano. When did he, or they, say that and at which forum? He cannot bring come forth with any iota of evidence. The write-up was baselessly aimed at splashing mud at a clean transparent slate. In a nutshell, the pap was a tissue of lies, a bunch of contradictions and a heap of melodrama – it was an out-and-out trash!
NB: All the facts and figures are extracted from sundry publications meant for the general public perusal.
Nuhu is a public affairs essayist
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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.