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More Catholic than the Pope: Demystifying Nasiru El-Rufa’i’s obsession with power

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Nasir El Rufai

Murtala Uba Mohammed

The famous nineteenth century German Philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche was quoted to have said: “arrogance on the part of meritorious is even more offensive to us than the arrogance of those without merit: for merit itself is offensive”.

This statement is very relevant to a giant-voiced, small physique governor of Kaduna State Malam Nasiru El-Rufa’i.

No doubt, the Katsina born graduate of the famous Ahmadu Bello University and later University of Harvard and Georgetown University, has achieved much in his life.

In his memoir, The Accidental Public Servant, El-Rufa’i stated that he was very lucky to be among few Nigerians to become millionaires in their twenties.

Indeed, this is a rare blessing in a country where the economy is in the hand of a few, largely aged fellows. Nasiru’s achievement is not only in material sense as he was fortunate to hold some big political offices in the country.

A rare achiever, Governor El-Rufa’i governed some of the most important capitals of the country, Abuja the present administrative capital of  Nigeria and Kaduna the capital of the defunct Northern Region.

No license for contempt

However achievement is not a licence to treat people with contempt and disrespect the sensibilities of the general public.

After all, El-Rufa’i should thank Nigeria (of course Nigerians) for the chances he is given continuously.

It is important for him to remember that a country of over two hundred million people is very much blessed with many seasoned administrators and technocrats.

I want him to put at the back of his mind that he is not the only and will never be the most intelligent person ever produced in this country.

Let him be humble and not as arrogant as he presents himself.

El-Rufa’i needs to be reminded that if it was physical strength or might, he would not in any way get closer to the power he is too proud of.

In fact it is very unlikely for a person of his stand to inhale its fragrance or odour as the case may be.

If it is hard-work, many work harder but are not destined to attain for one reason or another.

For someone who grew in a centre of learning like Zaria City, it is easy to be reminded that intelligence is no one’s monopoly.

He should equally be reminded that power is transient and should be treated as such.

Mai Rusau

Although, this is not the first time El-Rufa’i displayed his extremism and to some extent conceited attitude to the service he was entrusted to render, it is only now that it becomes glaring how overzealous he is and how arrogant and indifferent he is to the people of Kaduna.

As the Minister of Abuja, he was nicknamed Mai-Rusau (the demolisher).

 In his attempt to restore the Master Plan of Abuja, he demolished many structures worth billions of naira.

Many casual and superficial observers applauded him and perceived the wanton destruction of property as a laudable achievement.

But the ever overzealous governor had done more than what planners of the city expected him to do.

Planning is not, by any stretch of the imagination, as rigid as he thought, because it is always people’s oriented, it allows for restructuring, amendment and accommodation.

A liveable city should have place for the poor and working class, but not for only capitalist-oriented minds.

Dealing with COVID-19

Anyone following the news today can easily understand how passionate the Kaduna State Governor had become in his fight against the Covid-19 pandemic that found its way into Nigeria since early February.

Governor Rufa’i cannot be matched by any governor in his zeal to do all that can be regarded as proactive measure in containing the pandemic.

He is one of the first governors to impose and enforce lockdown as a means of mitigating the transmission of the virus to the barest level.

This is certainly a good measure especially when one considers the strategic location of Kaduna State as the main entry to core northern states via the most important capitals of the country—Lagos, the commercial capital and Abuja the administrative capital—and indeed the two major entries for the spread of pandemic.

This is sound and proactive tactic, and El-Rufa’i should be commended for that.

However, what one may find strange about the governor is the way he cares not about the fate and plight of the poor and the common people.

A good shepherd should be more concerned about his herd. In a state where most of the residents are poor and live through daily earning, it is very insensitive and unwise to lock people for more than one month as he did.

I do not want to talk about whether the palliatives given were sufficient enough to keep the poor or not because no sensible Nigerian will believe our leaders in this kind of situation—glaringly confidence has been eroded.

One will continue to wonder and ask rhetorically:  who are his advisers?

It seems he has too much confidence in himself and this has given him a proclivity of the 21st century dictators.

He feels that his view is the only view and his way is the only right path.

It is apparent that the governor remains insensitive and adamant to many calls and advice given by good and concerned citizen of Kaduna State.

Dangerous utterances

Some of the governor’s utterances were dangerous and quietly implied his general feeling towards people’s cause. The governor always wants to say things that are controversial and that will make him perpetually the point of discussion in the public arena.

El-Rufa’i’s attitude to his principals is very undemocratic as he continues to remain adamant to the people’s fate.

It is crystal clear how draconian he sounds especially when it comes to religion.

There is nothing wrong in banning religious gathering to safeguard the life of people and to ensure that the spread of lethal Covid 19 is within government’s control, but that should be done with decorum and respect to religious authority.

When he was canvassing for their support and votes, he treated them with all the respect they deserved.

Among his most annoying action was his press release of May 19th laced with statements that are quite unfortunate for a public office holder of his status.

It is very unprofessional for a governor of one state to engage in direct attack on other state’s decision especially in a matter of national question and jurisdiction.

In his press release, governor El-Rufa’i unnecessarily dedicated three of points to Kano State.

He also appointed himself as a prosecutor and a judge by concluding that the strange deaths of people in Kano State during the height of the pandemic were caused by the Coronavirus and nothing more.

Intellectual arrogance

This statement revealed how intellectually arrogant and naive he is to report what a medical team and the Presidential Task Force on the Coronavirus Pandemic were investigating and yet to compile their reports at the time. Not only that the governor accused his counterpart (the governor of Kano State) of complacency and being economical with truth by concluding that the cause was known by the Kano state government and the medical team but they were manipulating the truth.

The new self-styled Pax-Nigeriana extended his jurisdiction beyond the assigned territory by saying that he would stay at the border to prevent people from Kano and other states from entering the ‘Holy’ Kaduna State.

These and his other utterances, including that of saying the evacuated Almajirai from Kano constitute a larger portion of cases recorded in his state had generated mixed reactions on social media.

The Kano State government also responded to that and youth from the two states engaged in bitter and offensive exchanges.

The divisive and controversial utterances of El-Rufa’i were the causes of the heated exchanges which polarized the youth of the two states at a time they needed to work together in harmony.

In attempt to settle the exchange between the two giant governors, the Daily-Trust newspaper dedicated its editorial of 1st June to this issue.

In the editorial, the newspaper reminded the two executives about their duties which exclude not engaging in unnecessary dispute and altercations over what is considered of critical importance to people’s life.

Health is one of the primary needs of human and it should not be handled with onionskin.

Still pointing fingers

However, it is obvious that El-Rufa’i has not refrained from his usual way of portraying himself as the holiest of the holy.

In a response to a tweet made by one @jibrilibrahim17 on 5th June, El-Rufa’i through his twitter handle, @elrufai opined that some states are deliberately under reporting their Covid-19 positive cases by submitting few sample to test laboratories.

However, he exonerated his state by saying: “FCT, Kaduna and Lagos at least are actively tracing contacts because we want RIGHT numbers of those infected – to test, trace contact and treat them. We want to save lives not have unexplained death.”

Although the governor was not so specific as to what state he was referring in his statement, it is as clear that he was referring to Kano and no more.

Of all states in the country none had the case of unexplained death as Kano. Also, the state (Kano) is reporting few cases since last week which the statement was pointing at.

The foregoing had clearly shown that the El-Rufa’i has neither physical nor social boundary in his dealings.

His way is clearly confrontational and dictatorial.

He considers himself too important and arrogates wisdom to himself.

This has to stop for the respect of constitution and other people’s thoughts, rights and opinions.

It is my humble hope that the governor will adjust and concentrate on his duties while allowing others to discharge theirs.

I will end with a popular saying that respect is reciprocal.

Murtala Uba Mohammed, PhD writes from Department of Geography, Bayero University Kano

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Commemorating NEPU’s 70th anniversary – Tanko Yakasai

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Tanko Yakasai

Today the 8th of August, 2020 marks the 70th anniversary of the formation of the Northern Elements Peoples Union (NEPU), the first and only political party in the history of Nigeria, formed solely not only to fight oppression and exploitation of the common man the Talakawa by the ruling class in Northern Nigeria, but also for the unity, freedom and independence of our motherland, Nigeria.

It is in the cause of championing that commitment to liberate the oppressed and promote unity of the people of Nigeria that NEPU entered into alliance with National Council of Nigeria and Camerouns (NCNC), led by the doyen of Nigerian nationalism and first president of Nigeria, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe GCON during colonial era and the First Republic political activism in the history of our country.

The ultimate objective of the NEPU/NCNC alliance was for the two parties to eventually merge into a formidable party that will belong to all Nigerians regardless of their ethnic, sectional or religious background just as the VISION and MISSION of the founders of the National Party of Nigeria, NPN, during the Second Republic.

It was the fear of that eventuality that made the British colonial rulers of Nigeria at that time to incite traditional institutions and reactionary elements in northern Nigeria to subject NEPU and its members to unprecedented harassment, wide spread intimidation of arrests, imprisonment and persecution with the sole aim of scaring the educated elements in northern Nigeria to distance themselves from coming out to support the struggle of the party during colonial era and the politics of the First Republic.

That situation led to the paucity of intellectuals among the leading cadres of the party in large numbers.

The situation also led to the stagnation of progress of the NEPU in its struggle for the emancipation of the downtrodden in the North thereby hampering the efforts of forging national unity and success of progressive politics in our national development efforts.

The outcome was the perpetuation of ignorance and lack of enlightenment in the area which constitutes serious drawback of Nigeria’s march to progress and national development.

Liberation of the Talakawa

But in spite of that, all hopes were not lost as the emergence of NEPU engineered the sprouting of many opposition parties in the north at that time resulting in the emergence of political parties opposed to colonial rule such as Borno Youth Movement (BYM), Ibira Progressive Union (IPU), Middle Belt Peoples Party (MBPP), Ilorin Talaka Parapo (ITP), Katagum People’s Party (KPP) Habe Tribal Union (HTU) and many others during the period under reference  – the formation of which resulted in widening the scope of revolt against colonial and feudal domination in northern Nigeria and enhanced the resilience of the peoples’ resolve to liberate themselves from domination and exploitation.

Another achievement associated with the emergence of NEPU was the political awareness among the downtrodden masses of northern Nigeria otherwise known as the talakawa.

All the subsequent political developments in northern Nigeria such as the emergence of United Middle Belt Congress (UMBC), Great Nigerian People’s Party (GNPP) People’s Redemption Party (PRP) and others, were born out of the sacrifices the militants in the NEPU promoted and endured.

As one of the remaining leaders of the NEPU still alive I salute the uncommon courage and fortitude displayed by the political activists in Northern Nigeria in fighting the combined forces of British colonialism and imperialism in collaboration with   indigenous reactionary forces in the region in particular and the country in general both fallen and those still alive.

All the political progress made in promoting national unity in Nigeria drew inspiration from the example of collaborative efforts of the NEPU/NCNC alliance and other patriots.

May the souls of the departed comrades of the struggle for the emancipation of the talakawas who paved the way for the political awareness and national liberation in the Nigeria’s political development rest in peace.

I also wish those of us who are still alive to rededicate our resolve to safeguard the unity, freedom and wellbeing of the Nigerian nation and its people.

Long live the struggle for the emancipation of the common man in Nigeria and for our National unity, peace and prosperity.

Tanko Yakasai OFR is a former National Publicity Secretary of NEPU.

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OPINION: Professor Abdallah Uba Adamu – The Ibn Khaldun of our time

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Professor Abdalla Adamu

By Hassan Auwalu Muhammad

Every area of ​​knowledge has its specialties, and people will rarely have experience in a variety of fields.

For example, it can be difficult for someone who specialized in the area of health to be involved in the area of communications, or for someone who is studying political science to return to health.

However, there are certain types of people upon whom God has bestowed unique abilities, which made them different from their peers and contemporaries.

There are not many of such people, and even if you find them, it is mostly in countries that are advanced in terms of their education and economic growths.

Their research in different fields often allows them to be unlike other people.

Kano State used to be one of the least considered cities in the world as regards the number of people with high level of Western education.

However, after discovering the benefits of it, there are many gifted individuals with an extensive background in research such as Prof. Abdallah Uba Adamu.

Brilliant Student

Prof. Abdallah Uba Adamu (born 25th April 1956 in Daneji, Kano city), in his story as told by all those who had grown up together with him, friends and relatives, testified that since childhood, he has being passionate about researching different areas of knowledge.

His father, the late KANTOMA of Kano, Dr Muhammadu Uba Adamu, was a renowned scholar through whose guidance and inspiration, Prof. Abdallah began his research, which later earned him the respect of being a full-blown researcher in different areas of knowledge.

After graduating from primary and secondary schools, he decided to study medicine but failed to secure admission to the university of his choice, which later forced him to go for B.Sc. in Education, Biology and Physiology in 1979 at Ahmadu Bello University.

He did his National Service at a high school in Umoarkrika, Imo State, before he proceeded to Chelsea College, the University of London where he earned a Master of Arts in Science Education in 1983.

He earned his doctorate from the University of Sussex in 1988 under the sponsorship of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission.

Youngest Professor

He started teaching as a Graduate Assistant at Bayero University Kano in 1980.

He re-invested himself in the field of research, which led to him becoming a Professor in Science Education in 1997 and also the youngest Professor in Bayero University at the time.

He presented his Professorial Inaugural Lecture in 2004, entitled ‘Sunset at Dawn, and Darkness at Noon: Reconstructing the Mechanisms of Literacy in Indigenous Communities’ in which he explored the use of Arabic alphabet as Hausa language literary devices in Ajami writings.

He proposed what he called ‘Ajamization of Knowledge’ as an alternative educational strategy, for millions of Qur’anic school pupils to acquire contemporary education in a literary script they know, rather than the Latin alphabet.

Professor Adamu was a Fulbright African Senior Research Scholar at the Centre for Studies in Higher Education, the University of California, Berkeley from 1991 to 1992.

While there, he wrote a monograph, Reform and Adaptation in Nigerian University Curricula, published by The Edwin Mellon Press, New York, in 1994, which explores the transfer of educational influence and structures from the United States to Nigeria, and the substitution of the British educational system in Nigeria in the process.

Professor Abdallah Uba Adamu has delivered commissioned lectures at Rutgers State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick (2015); the University of Warsaw, Poland (2012); Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures; Polish Academy of Sciences Warsaw, Poland (2012); University of Florida  (2010), University of Basel, Switzerland (2009); Barnard College, Columbia University, New York (2007); School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London (2006); and Institute of Afrinkanistic, University of Cologne, Germany (2004).

Professor Abdallah Uba Adamu started his study in Media after the emergence of the film industry in Kano State in the 90s.

From that time on, his focus shifted from Education to Communication.

He earned his second professorship in media and cultural communication in 2012, from the Department of Mass Communications Bayero University Kano.

Prof.  Abdallah Uba Adamu is the first Nigerian to hold double professorship in two very different disciplines.

He has over 117 publications, most of which were published outside the country.

He had also attended and presented papers in more than 200 conferences and workshops.

In fact he is scheduled for another workshop in the University of Florida in October 2020. He is one of the few Nigerian academics willing to tell the world about the intellectual output through his own independent website at www.auadamu.com.

Computer Pioneer

In the knowledge of computer, Professor Abdallah Uba Adamu is said to be among the first few people with a vast knowledge of computer in Bayero University, Kano.

He was the first person to bring the computer PC 1512 to Kano State in 1988.

With the introduction of the internet, he was the first person to type Hausa words into computer with a hooked top showing the change of meaning from one word to another.

He served also as Director of Management Information System (MIS) in Bayero University Kano.

Although Professor Abdallah has never studied Hausa as a course, his deep knowledge of Hausa literature has led many to wonder whether Hausa was his area of specialization.

Prof. Adamu’s vast knowledge of Geography and Public Administrations made him stand out among the rest.

In the entertainment industry, Professor Abdallah excelled in the field of Hausa Rap, which led to the formation of a musical concert during the British Council era in Kano State.

NOUN VC

The Government of President Muhammadu Buhari has selected Professor Abdallah Uba Adamu as the Vice-Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria thanks to his expertise and research.

He assumed office in February 2016, and will leave on 10th February 2020, almost six months from now.

Upon his arrival he realized that the university itself was considered more of a regional than a national institution.

His first move was to nationalize it by ensuring that all the six principal officers of the university come from the six Geopolitical zones of the country.

This is the only university with this administrative structure.

He immediately began a plan to ensure that the Headquarters of the university relocated from Lagos to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, despite the threats and challenges he faced.

Without hesitation, he began expanding the new headquarters of the university in Abuja, and in a short period moved from Lagos to Abuja.

He also stopped the outsourcing of students’ portal and facilitation to third party companies and created directorates in the university that handled all these functions, saving the government a huge sum of money.

Successes @ NOUN

Here are a few of the achievements so far made by Professor Abdallah Uba Adamu as the vice-Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN):

From the very beginning, the first step he made was ensuring the relocation of the university headquarters from Lagos State to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

He has built numerous study centres across Nigeria, especially in the northern part of the country.

He encouraged politicians to use their constituency projects to build the centres.

Due to his persuasion, about 18 were built in Kano, 15 by Distinguished Senator Barau Jibril in his Senatorial District, two by Honourable Aminu Suleiman in Fagge and Kwaciri, and the biggest and most impressive of all, the one by Honourable Mustapha Bala Mai Gidan Ruwa at Dawakin Kudu.

This last one is the biggest and most comprehensive in Nigeria.

In fact, it is better than many universities, yet it is only a study centre.

Other places he fought for study centres include Katsina, Jigawa, Delta, Ondo and Edo States.

Prof. Abdallah has worked hard to employ many young people at the university under the Employment Act, and with the permission of the legal organs of the Government, and many young Nigerians have been employed in different capacities at the university, particularly in Computer Science.

This was before IPPIS stopped employment.

He re-built the University’s FM station in Lagos for the university to broadcast programs like any other FM station in the country.

Before becoming the VC, all students’ books and materials were produced from outside the university, which cost a large amount of money.

However, he later built a university printing press that would provide all the basic things that university students need, which saves the government a lot of money.

He has improved the school’s internet system so that students can read and research information on various subjects easily.

During the Pandemic lockdown, NOUN was the only university conducting online Pen-on-Paper examination using Artificial Intelligence software that detects cheating.

The students did the examinations at home without going to any Study Center.

Professor Abdallah found a Mosque at the National University Headquarters in Abuja already built by the Contractors building the University.

To show his liberal attitude, when the Christian community asked for a place of worship, he allocated lands to Protestant and Catholics for them to build their Churches, but informed them that they have to source the money to build their worship places as it is not government policy to build worship places for either Muslims or Christians.

Even the mosque was built privately by a contractor without any government funding.

Thus one of his greatest efforts was to unite the staff of the university by working together without any discrimination based on race, religion or ethnicity.

He has worked tirelessly with other major universities in the world to improve the academic system at the university he leads.

Prof. Abdallah built a Media Centre for the university at its Jabi Headquarters in Abuja.

Monogamist for life

Professor Abdallah Uba Adamu is a philanthropist, a man of the masses, easy-going, man of his words because no matter what, he will not lie to you about something he cannot do just to impress you.

Above all, he is incorruptible.

In the use of language, both Hausa and English, you can say he is an orator.

When he speaks in the Hausa language, you would assume he cannot speak the English language at all, but when he addresses you in the English language, you would think Professor Abdallah is an English man.

He was crowned NZE OKAA OMEE, a traditional title in the Awene Ezema Olo Kingdom of Ezeagu LGA Enugu state.

Professor Abdallah Uba Adamu will complete his term as vice-chancellor on 10th February 2021 and return to Bayero University Kano and resume duties on 1st March 2021.

He has one wife and four children, and says he is not ready to marry another wife as the one he has, whom he married in 1987 as his first and last wife, is more than four wives.

His children are all grown up, except the youngest who is 13 years. One is a married computer programmer, another a barrister who lives outside the country with her family and the only male is a Businessman.

Hassan Auwalu Muhammad  a student  of Mass communication at  Bayero University  Kano can be reached via m.shareef1980@gmail.com

 

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A salute to NEPU at 70 – Mahmud Othman

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Mahmood Othman

Today, 8th AUGUST, 2020 marks the 70th Anniversary since the formation of the defunct Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU) political party.

It was on Tuesday, 8th August, 1950, that a group of eight dynamic, patriotic and restless young Nigerians met at No. 9 Ibadan Road, Sabon Gari, Kano around 4pm where they deliberated and resolved to form the first and only revolutionary political party in Nigeria

Though about 100 people were invited to the meeting, only eight very committed ones among the invitees showed up.

Some of those who could not honour the invitation claimed that it was the usual heavy rain of August that poured on that day that made it impossible for them to attend.

The indomitable and indefatigable eight who attended the inaugural meeting were: Abba Maikwaru, Baballiya Manaja, Musa Kaula, Abdulkadir Danjaji, Abubakar Garba Bida, Mudi Sipikin, Magaji Danbatta and Bello Ijumu.

The political party they formed, NEPU was used as a very strong platform for anti-imperialist, anti-fascists, pan-Africanist and anti-feudal struggle.

Its ideology was tailored towards the total liberation of Nigeria and the African continent from all vestiges of colonialism, imperialism and maladministration by the local bourgeoisie and their apologists.

Nigerians who identified with the party suffered from all forms of indignities from the defunct Native Authority (NA) warlords with the tacit approval of the British colonial agents.

They were imprisoned for no just causes, beaten up in public, sacked from their jobs, taxed arbitrarily, their properties destroyed and all sorts of unimaginable harassment.

What NEPU supporters suffered in Northern Nigeria was something more like what Palestinians and Rohingyas are experiencing from their modern day oppressors.

Despite all attempts of the powers that be to wipe out NEPU member and their just and noble struggles, the party still managed to win seats in both Federal and Northern Nigerian legislative councils.

As mentioned above, NEPU was formed on 8th August, 1950 and it operated for 15years and 161 days.

Or looking at it from another angle, we say that the party lived for 5640 days.

NEPU was among the 81 political parties and cultural associations Major-General Aguiyi Ironsi dissolved when he made his military coup speech on Monday, 17th January, 1966 through the Network Service of Radio Nigeria at 7am.

Some of the other political parties that were dissolved together with NEPU include: Action Group, National Council for Nigerian Citizens, United Middle Belt Congress, Niger Delta Congress, Borno Youths Movement, Republican Party, Dynamic Party, Midwest Democratic Front, Ilorin Talaka Parapo, National Emancipation League, Kano Peoples’ Party, Calabar-Ogoja-Rivers Movement, Communist Party of Nigeria, etc.

Some NEPU national leaders when it was alive include: Alh. Aminu Kano, Dr. Yerima Albatan Balla, Alh. Abubakar Zukogi, Alhaji Sadiq Abubakar Tanko Yakasai, Alhaji Yahaya Sabo, Alhaji Yahaya Abdullahi, Alhaji Lamin Sanusi, etc.

By the will of Allah (SWT) Alh. S. Abubakar Tanko Yakasai, former NEPU National Publicity Secretary, now in his 90s is the last man standing.

May Allah bless the soul of the departed and may Alh. Tanko live long and healthy.

Though NEPU was disbanded by military fiat more than 54 years ago, its spirit is still alive in all those who know what it was all about – love for equality, equity, justice, patriotism, pan Africanism, freedom, progress and development.

Mahmud Othman was Kano state commissioner for rural development during the 2nd Republic administration of late Muhammad Abubakar Rimi.

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