Between Abdulkadir Kure and the Nupe
Ma’aji Alhassan Tswako
Forwarded by Mohammed Haruna
Niger state is about 30 years old (1976 – 2006). The state is believed to be about 50% populated by the Nupe speaking group. Since its creation, it has been ruled by tribes, mostly from outside the state as a result of military officers posted as Governors and administrators during the military stranglehold on the nation. Even during the break-off of military dictatorships, when we were allowed civilian government during the second and third republic; the Nupes struggled as they could to rule the state, but in vain.
Those of us who witnessed the 2nd term of Governor Awal Ibrahim will recall how much the Nupe group tried to unseat Awwal Ibrahim of Gwari extraction from Suleija to replace him with a Nupe man, Alhaji Badakoshi (remember Badakoshi was recently declared the winner of that election after his death). Then, came the 3rd republic, when Dr. Musa Inuwa became the Governor of Niger state. He is from Kanbari extraction of Kontogora zone. Dr. Musa Inuwa joined the party (NRC) just two weeks before the party nomination and won against the numerous Nupe strongest contenders.
Thanks to the zoning formula being applied in party politics of Nigeria, at the onset of present dispensation, a Nupe man took the Governorship candidature of the almighty People Democratic Party with ease, contesting just among themselves.
During that contest, some of us who believed that decent personalities should be put in to highly prestigious positions, such as Chief Executive of a state, thought that the choices were not good enough between Abdulkadiri Kure, who was rumored to have been dismissed from FCT Ministry by Abacha’s strong man, General Jerremiah Hussani; the then FCT Minister, on corruption charges, and Alhaji Idiris Kpaki (now late -RIP) who was an Abacha errand boy whose assignment was to consult with the’Muslim’ occults for the perpetuation of Abacha in office. But the PDP state convention thought that probably Abdulkadiri Kure was a better devil.
Let us now examine the performance of this alternative devil, looking at the way he has handled the state administration since he assumed office. Abdulkadiri Kure administration started on what most people believe was a sound footing. His initial projects, and obviously now the last, was the rehabilitation of township roads such, as Bida, Kontagora and Suleja, the cost of which were severely paid for by the State civil servants who had their promotions, annual salary increments and some allowances stopped. Few members of his cabinet that were opposed to his open day robbery of the civil servants were shown the way out of the cabinet. We can still remember the untimely exit of people like Dr. Idiris Kutigi from the cabinet for his opposition to the thievery. But these are now history. What follows next was the make believe that it was the State resource that was being used for the extensions of rural electrification by connecting communities to national grid, but we later leant that even that rural electrification was actually financed by the Federal PDP Government. Whichever was the case, we gave the glory to Abdulkadiri Kure’s administration.
After these activities, which took place within the first two years of Kure’s first tenure, the people of Niger state until today do not know what Kure’s administration is doing with their money. In fact what followed these so called initial achievements was massive sell out of State properties such as houses usually used by the poorly paid and civil servants, state companies such as Intercity Bank, Mokwa Ranch and a host of others. Today Niger state is worse than Kure met it.
What Abdulkadiri Kure, the Executive Governor of Niger State there after specialized in doing is to surround himself with party stalwarts whose main and only interest is to milk the state dry. Some of these sycophants are stark illiterates whose only knowledge is to do the master’s bidding. In some cases they had never seen the four walls of a classroom in their life. Some, of course, were ex-convicts who were colluding with car snatchers to sell their ill-gotten property.
Kure, at the beginning of his second term, had and still probably has up to 50 Special Assistants (SA) from each of the 43 Local Government areas; including the smoke-screen Local Governments he created mainly to enable him and his agents to siphon State resources. Each of these SA’s received not less than N50, 000 monthly, in the past, and even up to-date they still receive not less than N20, 000 per month. I wonder how many civil servants in Niger State earn N50, 000 a month, including the permanent secretaries. As if this is not enough drain in the resources of the State, each of them, that is the SA’s and other PDP officials in the Local Governments, and party hangers - on may have been to Government sponsored Haji or Jerusalem, at least once. The Haji (sadaka) also yearly spreads to Local Government councilors, State legislators, who are already being paid fat salaries, not to mention that, from time to time, dish -outs are received by them and others, from the State funds, to build houses for themselves, buy petrol stations, sponsor extravagant and flamboyant naming ceremonies and marriages, etc.
In the Niger state Government, there is an official of the Government holding a post of political adviser. This man is the money sharer of the Government. A retired infantry captain who one will see as a disciplinarian, shares money to the party stalwarts based on requests. He was said to have boasted that he is a descent person and that if he had wanted to enrich himself, he would have been a multi-billionaire by now, but he is a “free giver” and all monies that go through him, he gives out to people.
But these are not the only way Kure squanders our money. Since the beginning of his tenure, the state Local Government Chairmen, members of the State house of assembly and his commissioners might have received upward of 3 official vehicles. In, at least every two years, he buys new vehicles for these officials as if what is a stake in the state is how new the chairman’s vehicles are. Not long ago, it was announced that each district head in Niger state was bought a Mercedes Benz 200 series, and God knows how many they are. In an agrarian State like Niger, where no Local Government can boast of a single functioning tractor, the so - called people’s choice is busy satisfying political office holders that will assist in rigging elections and the traditional title holders, leaving the masses to wallow in poverty and destitution. In a state where probably no single fire-fighting vehicle is functional, you give legislators and commissioners new vehicles on annual basis!
Recently too, it was rumored that the least judicial officer in the State received a million naira, and you ask for what? It is also Abdulkadir Kure’s administration that paid all ex-Local Government councilors and their chairmen N500, 000 and one million naira, respectively, almost two years after they have left office. Sometimes you wonder if this man is running a philanthropic organization or a government. Sometimes I wonder whether Kure has conscience at all to be using state resources with complete disregard to financial regulations, complete disregard to budgetary allocations, and complete disregard to the moral or ethical teachings of the Islamic religion he claims to espouse and champion. When Kure came to power, he was portrayed as an Izala sect believer, he introduced sharia hypocritically but, of recent, he paid a visit to the graves of sheiks in Kaula, somewhere in Senegal with a troop of ‘Malams’ and party loyalists
Kure’s financial irresponsibility goes beyond what we have enumerated above. He mortgaged the local government finances through a joint account to only five or less infidels. Infidels, because I do not think any body that have an iota of faith will have the guts to steal that much from public purse. For more than two years, a Local Government Council that was allocated about 70-80 million naira a month received just about 10 million (if the Governor did not split it into his mushroom Local Governments) and 20 million (if it was split into two). What happens to the remaining 60-70 and 50-60 million naira for these two years nobody knows except probably the Magajis, the Katukas, a chieftain of Katcha or kure himself. When Kure discovered that the so -called joint account was no more ‘joined’, he was alleged to have said ‘Allah ya isa’; that means “ God will judge”, as if we do not have a judicial system in the State here on earth that will bring the people to book.
What do all these culminate into? At present, no single project is going on in the state and nothing has been done except those we said he did initially and there is no hope that this Kure’s administration will leave any developmental legacy behind. Of course, it is speculated that the Governor called his governing machinery together and told them that the only ‘project’ he has for the State now is to use the State resources to make sure Babangida becomes the president come 2007!
How/Where do the Nupes come into this?
Well, tribal diehards like me should know by now that this man Kure is a shame to all of us. We have been made a laughing stock for a long time to come. History will not take it kindly with all of us. After several years of struggling to rule the State, we, the Nupe speaking group that are at least a simple majority and the most educated, when the opportunity came, did not only demonstrate our scandalous attitude towards public funds but also the Nupe leadership has demonstrated a high level of financial indiscipline, displaying absolute moral depravity in enjoying the public property.
I still believe that most of the beneficiaries are the Nupes and history will not forgive them. In 2003 elections, after having seen the way Kure’s administration was going, as a repentant tribal diehard, I decided not to vote for Abdulkadiri Kure. I can now remember telling a friend who asked whom I was going to vote for, that certainly not Kure. This writer has now been more properly and better educated by the Kure scandal that is rocking the state never to practice tribalism in politics again. As far as I am concerned, if given another opportunity to choose between the two ex-Governors of the State and the present one, I can assure anybody that Kure will not even be the last choice. In fact I will rather throw away my vote if he happened to be the only candidate. Kure’s reign is a disaster to the State in general! And all the Nupes must share in the shame brought by his administration.
Where do we go from here?
That’s the historic question staring the Nupe in the face; because, for sure, and despite the retrogression and the penury Kure’s years of the locust have wrought on us, we are certain to face collective punishment and humiliation in the hands of some of the tribal champions from the other ethnic groups if and when they assume leadership. Dr. Musa Inuwa’s painful reign might just be a dress rehearsal of the type of things to come.
At least even when Kure could not improve our lot, he did not attack the only industry he inherited in Niger state; the CIVIL SERVICE. Its dominance, even if well deserved, is the envy of the others and, for sure, they will stop at nothing to ‘right’ the perceived historical ‘wrongs’ of that situation.
Worse still, rather than attempt to redeem his failures by supporting credible candidates/successors, the Governor is reported to have settled for the worst among his lackeys as his annointed! But that should not surprise anyone, for it is said that one can not give what he doesn’t have. As quality begets even higher products, thus mediocrity can only beget worse than itself.
For starters; could Nupes be proud of even Gov. Kure as their Senator in the next dispensation, much less someone whose only passport to fame is having his ignoble prefix to her name? Haba, Nupencizhi! We are too much to settle for such humiliation!
The way forward:
Nupes and all concerned Nigerlites must rise up to the occasion and seize the political space from these charlatans and nurse it back on the path of progress and development. This calls for Vision, Unity, Commitment and Sacrifice. History beckons on all of us! And the time is NOW; tomorrow may be too late!!
Arise o Nupes! Arise patriotic and Progressive Nigerlites!!!
Previously published in Daily Triumph (110705)