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Katsina on YOUR mind!

Father Kukah had stated categorically in his article about Umaru, that; ‘At my last meeting with him… I sensed a man in pain, but determined…

Father Kukah had stated categorically in his article about Umaru, that; ‘At my last meeting with him… I sensed a man in pain, but determined to remain on the saddle not for the power, but to do well for his country…  Tragically, the drama around his health as it deteriorated brought out the best and the worst in us as a people. I marvelled as Nigerians, masking greed, insensitivity and callousness as patriotism, behaved as if ephemeral power and their contracts were more important than the life of a human being. It was easy to see how the waste and loss of human lives in our society meant very little to us, how our consciences had become dulled by power and greed…’

At least, Father Kukah is a Man of God.  I am a mere mortal.  I would have loved if Father Kukah helped my voice as Umaru was being hounded by Dora and the pack though.  Everywhere was eerily silent as the Alsatians went for the jugular…  Even Governor Mu’azu B. Aliyu of Niger State, one of those who added their strong voices to Umaru’s removal, had, during the opening of a hospital named after the former president in his state recently, stated that ‘Yar’adua was one of the most honest leaders in Africa’.  I wonder again, like I wondered then, why we did not find it necessary to preserve and identify with that rare ‘honest, humble, straight-forward and patriotic’ personality in his lifetime, but acceded in our silence, to the wishes of those who wanted him to be disgraced out of office, only to now join the praise-singing choir when it mattered least (after the man is dead).  

I want to clarify though, that there are other honest leaders in Nigeria.  Muhammadu Buhari is widely known to be an honest person.  Buhari, I learnt, stays in rented apartments when he visits Abuja.  Unlike his other colleagues in the Council of State, he didn’t see the need to acquire vast lands and buildings.  Ditto for Murtala Mohammed and Shehu Shagari, to an extent.  Indeed almost every leader goes into office with a view to do right by their people.  But leading a country like Nigeria is no easy business, as one has to contend with terribly powerful local and international forces. Many leaders simply give up somewhere in the middle and just decide to ‘join them’, since they cannot ‘beat them’.  So here are some of the responses I got on my articles;

ALIYU ZAYYAD, KATSINA – Your piece … is superb.  One of the best articles I’ve read in the pages of newspapers… Umaru showed us that worldly acquisitions are a waste of time… Northerners and Southerners should stop castigating each other. Instead, we should join hands to build our country because it’s the only one we have…

ANONYMOUS – I would like to sincerely extend my appreciation for the final part of your insightful and thoughtful piece on Northern Nigeria.  Honestly, you are my hero of the year.

MUKHTAR – I don’t know if Usman thought you how to say ‘Sannu’.  Anyone who spends lesser time on acquisition of material things will surely understand the world better.  Stay blessed.

ANONYMOUS – Sir, after reading your two part articles in Sunday Trust, I came to believe that Yar’adua meant well for our country but was a misunderstood leader and (was) painted black by our so-called “progressives” and the press.  May his gentle soul rest in peace. Amin.

MA’ARUF IBRAHIM, ABUJA – I suspect Usman made a big oversight.   He should have taken you to the grave site of Umaru at Dan Marna cemetery.  Truly, this life is ephemeral… The likes of Warren Buffet and Bill/Melinda Gates have realised this hence giving away their stupendous wealth for beneficiaries.  God Almighty bless the soul of Umaru Yaradua.  

BASHIR BABA – Good piece Tope… I was happy you had a life-revealing experience of Katsina which is akin to the general way of doing things in other core northern states.  Tradition and values are still held in high esteem by ordinary people in the north.  However, the elites of the north who stumbled unto ill-gotten wealth, have forgotten their humble beginning and now portray the north negatively.  You saw the family home of the Yar’adua patriarch, a family synonymous with wealth, yet very modest.

ABDULLAHI, ABUJA – Just read the Global Connection.  It’s well articulated.  People like you should continue to educate Nigerians on what USA and their likes are.  Nigerians should ask where is the Petroleum Bill now after Yar’adua?  Ironically, it’s with multinational oil firms for them to make their inputs.  Bye bye development in Nigeria.

UMARU MAMU, ABUJA – I came across two of your articles on your trip to Katsina.  You are a true son of your mother.  If all Nigerians will learn from you by saying the truth, believe me, this country will move forward.  May Allah bless you and continue to give you the courage, good health to say the truth.  You (are) my mentor no doubt, keep it up sir.

ANONYMOUS – Honestly, you are disappointing me.  Your visit to Turai does not make you a better Nigerian than some of us who have not been to Katsina but have been praying for Yaradua and Turai.  Like I have told you in one of my submissions to you, please stop insulting Nigerians with your ‘newspaper readers’ and ‘international conspirators theory.  Obviously, you have not read better than them else you will know that the prophet of Islam and his companions knew when to say no to temptations of power and money.  YARADUA and TURAI turned away their faces and allowed nonentities to leave this nation worse than they met it.  I am not deceived by the sentiments of her simplicity when you met her.  

MY RESPONSE:  You see, I saved the worst for the last.  I can’t let anyone dampen my spirit.  For the rest, I can only say thank you.  More next week.

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