Worrisome Signals from Kano
Idris I M
National hospital Abuja
I am disturbed by recent happenings in my state, Kano . In fact my heart bleeds. Please do not mistake my sadness on the burning issues concerning perennial lack of portable water or dilapidated infrastructure, neither on the astronomical increase in illiteracy level occasioned by the poorly articulated state government educational policy, nor on the comatose healthcare system in my state. Are my people not bothered by the refuse sited in every nook and cranny of the state? No, but they could not dare say it in public. Why?
The answer is simple: Today nobody has the right to say anything against the state government, because almost all the streets urchins (known in local parlance as yandaba) are allegedly in the government payroll, or at least as their conducts suggest. They maim and kill at the slightest provocation.
This scare tactics has made Kano people to suffer in silence for the past five years of Shekarau's misrule. Correspondents of the nationally dailies , -majority of whom incidentally happened to be from the southern part of the country, are allegedly being constantly threatened to either keep their mouth shut or face the wrath of government sponsored yandaba. One should not be surprised if members of the fourth estate of the realm submitted themselves to blackmail so easily because I may do the same if I were in their shoes. It is obvious that intimidation and blackmail are invariably part of the tools employed. The scenario of state ignited yalwan-shendam reprisal where the governor Ibrahim Shekarau himself addressed the crowd of idle youths, and thus the consequence, will leave nobody in doubt to what limit he can go to whip up sentiment for his personal vendetta.
Thisday newspaper is the latest victim of such blackmail by the Kano state government. It has sinned by scoring His Excellency below average in its recent first year assessment of his second term in office. The next thing that happened was that officials of the self acclaimed caliph Umar declared a holy war on Thisday. Some of the half educated officials of the state Government went on air to whip up religious sentiment in the most irresponsible manner. Things like that are quite irreligious, undemocratic, unhealthy, and unethical. They have displayed total lack of respect to the yearnings and aspirations of Kano citizens. It is a clear show of dictatorial tendencies and rural aristocracy. It is a brazen betrayal of the system that strives to protect the common man. This is negative in all sense of human discipline unless if we are barbarians. Anybody ready to join the democratic fray should be tolerant to criticisms; otherwise he has no business in the game.
History is always the final judge. I sensed this is going to happen when it came to the fore that Kano was burning sequel to the result of well orchestrated rigging of the local government election. The government watched the many citizens die and properties worth billions lost, in order just to snatch the right of the commoner.
The beauty of democracy is freedom of speech and association. Even the mighty ones like President Yar'adua receive, on constant basis, heavy dose of criticism but he never orders his troops to invade or detain anyone for that matter. That alone is the kind of maturity expected from a descent leader. However, this is what vagabonds will find difficult to accommodate.
Sigmund Freud is actually right in his theory of psychoanalysis. When something is wrong with the anal stage of development, one will be seen manifesting bizarre symptoms. While serious governors were busy working out plans to improve the lot of their people, ours was networking matrimonial relationships in flagrant display of acute affluence. What tangible achievement do you expect from a man suffering acute re-feeding syndrome which only breeds reptiles of the mind.
The power drunk governor was so blinded that he was said to have recently sent Shehu Yusif Kura to USA to source for the opinion of international community on his 2011 presidential ambition. Imagine it was the state that foots the bill of the trip which runs in to millions. I can not figure out how he intends to deal with intricacies of national politics since his fanaticism is fast becoming an obsession. May be if he were the president all the national dailies would be closed down for daring to report government's wrongs. Who will even trust a megalomaniac (that could not handle an average state with discretion and dexterity) with a national assignment, as being canvassed by the demented ANPP leadership? While he was busy dreaming of an empire, Kano people were having a terrible nightmare of poor security of lives and properties.
In the past few years Kano was the pivot of the North. Industries were functioning and business was flourishing. Alas! That was then. What now replaces the glory is massive closure of factories and shops as evidenced by the growing number of jobless citizens that are joining the caravan of Almajirai across the streets of the state. There is no sentiment in this, the Federal Government gives every state its own share of the federation account and visionary ones use their resources to provide sound atmosphere for industrial growth. They face the same problem of epileptic power supply but they never rely on federal government to spoon- feed them with ideas and resources all the time. Their think- tank is working round the clock to meet the demands of the citizenry and none of these states blame federal government for their failure except Kano . When the news filtered that excess crude reserve would be shared and Kano will get over 20 billion extra money, any average intelligent man could predict the type of wasteful projects we are going to witness in the next couple of months.
It is high time now a word of caution should pass across to Shekarau. I call on all media houses, civil society organizations and Nigerian union of journalist to beam their searchlight on the Kano state government. They should condemn in serious terms, the act of deliberate smear campaign to stir up religious crisis in the state by the government. Because today, it may be only Thisday newspaper that is affected by this state brigandage but who can guarantee what might happen in the future if these excesses are left unchecked. I believe taking this stand would send forth a tiny ripple of hope that could sweep up the mighty walls of oppression and injustice.