Thursday, 12 December 2013
Politics in Kaduna State, People Of Zaria And Governor Mukhtar Yero By Ibraheem A. Waziri
In a news item published by SaharaReporters on the 20th December, 2012 titled, Factions in Southern Kaduna Feud over Deputy Governor, a letter is reproduced written by a certain Coalition of Southern Kaduna Youth Fora. The letter addressed to the newly sworn in governor of Kaduna State, Mal. Mukhtar Ramalan Yero is also said to have been copied to the President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
The letter among other things, insubstantially, accused the new governor and the Vice President Namadi Sambo of being insensitive to the feelings of southern Kaduna people regarding the process of selecting the deputy governor which the present political configuration suggests will come from them. The letter presented three candidates for the post as it issued a threat of non-cooperation in the name of all Southern Kaduna people if none of the three is considered for the post. Earlier, on the 19th December, 2012, Daily Trust Newspaper carried a report which quoted another group by the name Southern Kaduna Professionals that also insubstantially pointed an accusing finger on the vice president, regarding the same selection process which they said is being shrouded in secrecy.
It is in an attempt to reset the tone of politics in Kaduna State and away from that of blackmail and negative insinuations evidenced by the kind of reporting above that this review is needed and at the dawn of a new administration. The choice by some groups, in spite of the excess privileges awarded to them, to see themselves always as victims and targets of an imagined attack from an unsuspecting population in the social stream has always kept leadership in Kaduna in a perpetual distraction, and the State, in a sustainable condition of coma to the extent that in recent times the only challenge and achievement of the its governors has always been that of only maintaining peace and order at the expense of any other developmental project. I hope the new governor has not fallen in, as another recent report on naij.com website quoted him saying he would protect the Christian community in the state from attack. Attack from whom? Or is there a filled assumption that since he is a Muslim and succeeding a Christian governor the Christians are in need of reassurance of protection from his “crazy” Muslims brothers who he is being pre-empted to side with and for no any precedential attribute?
It is pertinent here to remember that the old North Central State was changed to Kaduna State in 1976 and the history of its politics began with two power centres, one in Katsina and another in Zaria. The carving out of Katsina state in 1987 reconfigured the political equation as the violent activities of some people of Southern Kaduna extraction in the 1992 famous Zangon Kataf crisis led to the creation of another power centre in Southern Kaduna that will later compete with Zaria in a highly confrontational manner. With the return of democratic rule in 1999, Kaduna State became constitutionally composed of three senatorial zones which are Northern Kaduna, Central Kaduna and Southern Kaduna. Ordinarily the power centres should now become three, fashioned after the three senatorial zones. But the political activities and personal ambitions of the then governor Ahmed Makarfi who led the state between 1999 to 2007, though kept the three power centres, but fashioned them out differently. They became Zaria or Birni (Cities) in Northern Kaduna, Karkara (surrounding towns) still in Northern and Central Kaduna, and Southern Kaduna power centres. With this new configuration Makarfi divided Kaduna State into two in isolation of Zaria power centre. Political offices and patronages were shared only between Southern Kaduna which is mainly Christian and Karkara which is mainly Muslim. The four top executive positions of the governor, deputy governor, secretary to the states government and the head of civil Service were always shared between these two power centres along religious divides. If the governor is a Muslim from Northern or Central Kaduna then the deputy governor will be a Christian from Southern Kaduna while the head of service will be a Muslim from Northern or Central Kaduna as the secretary to the state government will be a Christian from Southern Kaduna. Regardless to the fact that the Southern Kaduna people, constitute, only one third or less (8 out of 23 local governments in the state), the total demographic spread of Kaduna State.
It’s upon this kind of skewed distribution of political offices and privileges that the administration of late governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa built. It is also upon this that some anti peace promoters of chaos feeding on propaganda and spreading same are now pointing accusing fingers on the newly sworn in governor and the vice president while issuing threat of non cooperation, if their wish is not done. We must not forget that this kind of threat was the type that preceded the violence that helped Southern Kaduna earned a place of a power centre in the state in 1992.
Since the ill fated plane crash of 15th December, 2012 that took away the late governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, we are constantly inundated by threats and insinuations from our friends and brothers from Southern Kaduna. They make postings on the online social networking space implying that we hate them and some even sold out on their faith in God and against genuine tenet of Christianity by suggesting that the plane crash might have been premeditated in order to make way for a Muslim governor in Kaduna State.
No doubt, the task before the Governor Mal. Mukhtar Ramalan Yero is enormous, but it is to the credit of his own conscience if he understands that he must not allow himself get cowered by unpatriotic elements who sound the drum of tension and conflict in the state. His choice of a deputy must not be in symphony with their unhealthy yearnings. I have the privilege of knowing Mal. Mukhtar Ramalam Yero since my childhood, he being a family friend and having attended same college with most of my decade older brothers. I learnt that he was even in our main family house at Kakaki, Zaria City, just few hours before the ill fated plane crash that consumed his principal. If my testimony is of any value I will say his, by all estimations, represents the perfect gentleman in the mould and the spirit of the people of Zaria, since it is on record that he is from an extended family that is known for its extraordinary sense of discipline and high regard for elders and family hierarchy. He must live by the good images of his forebears and the sense of fairness they have always dispensed justice; late King Yero Dan Hammada, King Lawal Kwasau Dan Yero, King Dalhatu Dan Yero and King Ibrahim Dan Kwasau Dan Yero, may the mercy of Allah envelop them all. He has to remain focused and with deep wisdom exert a reasonable amount of energy on the difficult task of uniting the people of Zaria and its environs, the power centre he now represents, which has been in disarray for a long time and always playing opposition politics to the ruling party. Failure to do this in good time will be the first thing that will spell his doom. He must also get inspiration from the fact that Zaria has always been a cosmopolitan city with many educational institutions housing people of diverse ethnic affiliation and religious leaning. He must constantly remember that he is not a governor of one section of the state at the expense of the other. Justice and fairness according to the standard rules of the game must inform all his calculations for it’s with justice or lack of it that community survives or fall.
Ibraheem A. Waziri
Software Development unit
Iya Abubakar Computer Centre
Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria