First of all, The Nation, a fast-rising publication with a sincere disposition, was deceived by Sadiq into giving him prominence. Over the years, the man has perfected the act of subtly exploiting the Yar’adua family name in many ways whenever he thinks he can get away with it, instead of his own, Saidu. This way, many innocent people would naturally assume that he is either a member of the Yar’adua nucleus family or a distant relative; at the very least, he could be mistaken for a close associate whose claim to the inner workings of the family must be credible.
But Sadiq Saidu Yar’adua has no such credibility as far as Yar’adua as a person, or Yar’adua as a family, is concerned. And this is really the nexus of the matter: his whole claim in that vain-glorifying interview was based on false claims and outrageous fabrications disguised as the revelations of an ‘insider.’ We all know that the man is bitter and frustrated because he recently lost a plum appointment as executive director with the Nigerian Ports Authority.
To begin with, Sadiq lied when he said he knew and associated closely with President Umaru Musa Yar’adua for over 30 years. A certain gentleman (now late) Alhaji Ali Ruwa it was who brought Sadiq to Yar’adua in 1999 and requested that he be incorporated into the Yar’adua political family. Those of us who know Sadiq’s antecedents vehemently opposed. We reminded the President that as former press secretary to ex-Katsina governor, John Madaki, Sadiq had worked openly for the NRC and had contributed to the controversial defeat of Yar’adua who was then the SDP governorship candidate in the state. We also pointed out that in recognition of his efforts, Sadiq was rewarded with a juicy appointment at the Nigerian Maritime Authority (NMA).
But our leader overruled our objections and urged us to think well of our brother in the hope that he might be reformed. This was how, with the active moral and political support of President Yar’adua, Sadiq became a member of the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2003. Less than two years into his tenure, however, our objections were vindicated: he fought with all but two of the 15 members of the House from Katsina; he launched an aggressive, inordinate campaign to become Speaker; not surprisingly, his own people launched a very determined campaign to recall him. Again, it was the same President Yar’adua that Sadiq is shamelessly maligning that intervened to stop the recall process.
But when he came back for re-election in 2003, the people could not be stopped: they stoned him and voted for somebody else. So as far as being close to Yar’adua is concerned, Sadiq is no more than a cheap opportunist.
Sadiq himself is a living testimony to the fact that Yar’adua has in fact displayed a forgiving spirit that is very rare in present-day politics. Ruma, for example, was PRO to the Election Commission that produced Barda as governor (for which Barda rewarded him with the position of special assistant on political matters); and Yar’adua also made him his SSG, and subsequently minister during former President Obasanjo’s regime and finally a very influential minister under his own regime. Perhaps the most striking was the case of Alhaji Bala, the current Chairman of Katsina LGC. After the 1992 elections that produced Barda as Katsina State governor, Bala led a group of hooligans carrying a coffin to the residence of the Yar’aduas. But when he became governor, Yar’adua not only pardoned Bala but appointed him SA, and later supported him to be chairman of Katsina LG. How many modern-day politicians would do that?
I think it is also necessary to highlight the many inconsistencies and contradictions in Sadiq’s ranting. Blinded by multiple failures and frustrations, he is unaware of the way he so pathetically contradicted himself in many places. There he was making authoritative, even slanderous, remarks about somebody that he openly confessed is a mystery to him; he was ranting about too many appointments for Katsina while fighting tooth and nail to be appointed MD of NPA.
Indeed, I am shocked at Sadiq’s audacity. This was somebody who met me in my capacity as a relation and political associate of the President begging me to take him to see the President to lobby for that position. The fact that he failed to get that appointment was really the basis for his frustrations; the man has no concern for anybody but himself. His claim that he cares for his country is a façade.
All this as I said earlier have become necessary because it has become fashionable to criticise the President. Of course, there is no crime in people voicing out their opinions on issues that concern their country; the President himself recognises this and that is largely why he chose to ignore most of those unfair criticisms. But when opportunistic, overambitious, politically-frustrated, self-serving people like Sadiq Saidu join in such criticism, it is necessary to alert the public about their real motive. This is the main reason for my intervention.
Hon. Ali Gafai wrote from Gafai Quarters, Katsina.