Certainly, this is not the best of times for Kano State Governor, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau. The chicken has finally come back home to roost, it seems. The man at the helm of affairs of the most populous state in the country has been enmeshed in clusters of controversies, with devastating negative effects on his political image and popularity.
Indeed, in the history of the home of radicals, there is no governor that has enjoyed such a lengthy honeymoon with the people like Shekarau. Against all odds, the demagogue ex-school teacher has succeeded in demystifying the myth that members of the fourth estate of the realm used to call Kano second term jinx by getting reelected in 2007; a feat never attained by more popular Alhaji Abubakara Rimi and later more hardworking Eng. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.
In the last five years in Kano, Shekarau could do anything wrong and justify it. The people would not raise eyebrow. He could squander billions of naira and even have the effrontery to claim that his reckless government was duped by conmen to the tune of N5 billion ; and his popularity would remain intact. He would squander other billions of naira on his white elephant project - adaidata sahu at the expense of our infrastructural development; but who really cared? He is not only Umar bin Kattab (the second caliph) of our time but he would compare himself with the beloved prophet of Islam and his commissioners with the great companions; only the discerning few would regard that as blasphemy. Shekrau was infallible. Sadly, not even, -until recently- his failure to deliver on his campaign promise on water supply seemed to be an issue.
But the bubble burst recently. Shekarau has over reached himself. Indeed the man has grossly over exaggerated his approval rating. At a time when our hospitals are begging for equipment, drugs 'and personnel, Shekarau decided to spend N 1.6 billion naira on car gifs to traditional rulers and federal legislators from the state. What a way to spend our share of oil windfall revenue!
However, this is a leap too high. The radical Kano people did not find it funny. And since then it has become a cat and mouse relationship between them and their once darling governor. Even his die hard supporters have done a surprising about-face.
Less than twenty four hours after he came back from his annual lesser hajj trip to Saudi Arabia, the madawakin tamburawa, as the people fondly call him now, was greeted by the rage of teaming poverty-stricken subjects who converged at the emir palace to vent their anger on him. They rained boos. They sang a mischievous song (Mamar).They hurled missiles. In fact, Shekarau was not only pelted with stones, like the symbol Satan he just left in Saudia Arabia, but the protesters were said to have sent sachets of "pure water", bath room slippers, rotten fruits and any throwable objects at his direction. With his both hands holding his falling cap, his security men had swiftly pushed him into his car. But before the convoy could move the windscreen of the car was smashed a marksman among the angry protersters.
Ironically, this incident took place at the emir's palace, the place that he was supposed to be more immune to possible embarrassment since the beneficiaries of his car gifts were the host.
In their usual brazen defeatist antics, however, the state government's officials vehemently denied that the incident ever occurred. This is, despite a vivid capturing of the ugly scene by a national daily reporter, which apparently didn't go down with a governor that is always afraid of his own shadow. But nobody took them seriously. More so, the denial card they played was rubbished by a condemnation of the incident by the leadership of Qadriyya sect, organizers of the event that gave the opportunity to a teaming to vent their spleen against the governor who is fast loosing grip like international capitalist system. So there is smoke without fire? Only Shekarau's boys have the audacity to tell us so.
Since, the incident occurred at the eve of the Muslim Ed Fitr, it was obvious that the state government had another potential crisis to contend with as shame-faced Shekarau and his acolytes must attend Eid ground at Kofar Mata to observe their prayer. Doing so, however, would expose them to further humiliation, as they would come face to face with hundreds of thousands of stone-throwing youth, who can no longer contain their frustrations. Lilly-livered Shekarau could not face that. Therefore, the venue had to be quickly changed; the prayer had to be observed now at the state central mosque to shield him against the fury of talakwas, the masses he has deceived over the last five years.
Even the state government owned tricycles, popular known in the local parlance as " yan adai da ta sahu" were not allowed to ply the roads of the ancient city on the Sallah day. Shekarau's government is under siege.
At the height of this, a popular Hausa film comedian, Dan Ibro, had to innocently to pay for a sin that he never committed. In a jungle justice style, the actor was arrested by the agents of the state government and arraigned before a kangaroo mobile court, which summarily tried and convicted him over one of the films that he appeared as an actor.
Ironically, Dan Ibro was not even the producer of the film; he was just the leading actor. The producer of the film, who brandished the certificate of its clearance by the state censorship board, was surprisingly not even in the court. Hence Dan Ibro's principal sin was that he popularized the mischievous Mamar song in the movie without knowing that those protesters would later sing it to make jest of Shekarau and that his 'turbaned' defector deputy governor- (you don't have to guess who I am referring to). This injustice was perpetrated by the same people who claim to have been in the vanguard of implementing sharia in northern part of the country.
My advice to Shakarau, however, is that, his overnight transformation from a leizes fair leader to a tyrant would not make any difference now, as his miscalculated blunder has come in the nick of time; it has helped the people to remove the wool he cast in the eyes. They have now discovered that he is one of those visionless leaders who are too docile to differentiate between their right hands and their lefts. It's unfortunate that at a time that the whole world is facing a serious financial crisis that a governor would spend the wind fall fortune of his state on expensive exotic car gifts to traditional rulers and legislators.
At a time when our hospitals are begging for qualified personnel, equipment and drugs, the money that should have been used to buy ambulances were squandered in purchase of jeeps for the already stupendously rich elites. Or why couldn't the government purchase equipment to battle the mountains of refuse that took over Kano during his reign? Why is Shekarau not thinking in the direction of reviving our ailing and dead manufacturing industries ? He is certainly bereft of ideas. No doubt, Shekarua is a monumental failure, a tragedy that would never be forgotten in the political history of progressive Kano state.
A friend of mine based in Egypt told me that the money that the state government spends in the north African country is more than enough to revamp our ailing health sector. According, exporting patients from Kano to Egypt is now a big business and a conduit of siphoning our funds.
Besides, Shekarau has been spending over N5 billion of fertilizer, but only politicians and not the farmers are the beneficiaries of this gesture. Shekarau is only after a quick-fix and short term glory, that is why when he leaves office at the end of his tenure, he would find that there would be no legacy that he bequeaths to us apart from misfortune of having his shambolic governance for eight consecutive years. And now that he has planted his clowns to start working on his presidential ambition only God will save us from the locust that would plunder our meager resources.