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RE: Shekarau vs the Murder of Ja’afar Adam

Garba said there has not been a debate, even as a joke, as to whether Governor Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano state is the best governor…

Garba said there has not been a debate, even as a joke, as to whether Governor Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano state is the best governor the state ever had, and by extension about who should be his worthy successor. He did not tell us how he came about this opinion, whether or not he based it on reliable sources from the state who he had no cause to doubt. He just said it with a tone of finality.

In the absence of such a premise, one is free to assume that the analyst just wrote what came to his head. It is indeed absurd and pathetic that in a well-enlightened country such as ours, arm-chair analysts sit in a place and write with authority about other people and places that they have not known or visited without any concern for fair-play and decorum whatsoever. They just base their opinions on mere speculations.

However, as a matter of fact right now the common belief in Kano is that as far as achievements and execution of insightful policies are concerned Governor Shekarau is in the league of the first governor of the state, late Police Commissioner Audu Bako. In fact, Kano people are so much concerned about who should be his successor that they have expressed the desire that only a man with his kind of attributes, temperament, concern for the welfare of the people and execution of developmental projects would succeed him. There is so much concern about this that associations with slogans such as “Kano Sai Mai Akidar Malam” have since sprung up across the state.

Contrarily, the governor did not go to Radio Kano purposely to swear oaths that he was not involved in Sheikh Ja’afar’s murder, as Garba averred. Newspaper reporters failed to reflect the fact that the radio interview was part of a programme aired quarterly by the radio station for the governor to talk to the people. And the comment on Ja’afar was in answer to one of several questions asked during the programme.

It is always desirable for people whose duty it is to engage in socio-political analyses for public consumption to strive to master their topics. Garba said Ja’afar’s murder on the eve of the elections, April 13, 2007, occurred “24 hours after vowing to reveal certain secrets about how the elections were to be manipulated by politicians.” How could a Sheikh know anything about that? The truth is that the murder occurred on the day he promised to inform his followers which party they should vote for after being pressurized to do so during his sermon the previous Friday. And thus politicians are also suspected of the murder.

Garba Deen expressed surprise that instead of Kano people to explode with violence after the murder of the Sheikh as expected, “there was silent rage and condemnations.” As a matter of fact, there are those who believe, including yours sincerely, that this was actually as a result of the effective campaigns of “A Daidaita Sahu,” a moral rejuvenation programme of the government that has changed the attitude of the average Kano man today. Allah be praised!

The columnist further said that he had expected the Shekarau administration to launch a convincing investigation into the murder of the late Islamic cleric to avert the likely consequences of not doing so. In the first place, it is not within the purview of a state government to investigate crimes. It can only set up a panel of enquiry which will only complement or pave the way for the police to carry out their constitutional duties.

This was in fact done. The government did not treat Ja’afar’s murder “flippantly” as Garba said. There is a limit to which it could go no matter the extent of its commitment to exposing the murderers. Even though the governor is supposedly the chief security officer of the state, investigating murder cases is the exclusive preserve of the police. Those who expect the government to do more than it has done so far are being mischievous by apportioning blame at the wrong quarters.

Again, Garba Deen claimed in that piece that “a top member of the Shekarau administration promptly told the police that it was not his boss that was responsible (for the murder?), but Ado Mohammed.” Who told him this? It is far from the truth. What the top official did was report to the police that the letter posted by Saharareporters which requests the state ministry of finance to release N100 million purportedly written by him did not emanate from him. That the letter and the signature were forged and the cheque of the amount attached belonging to Bank PHB was also forged as government did not maintain an account with the bank.

The petition by the official set the police to work and ultimately they found out that the cheque belonged to Ado Mohammed, vice chairman of Radio Freedom. That was why they arrested him to help in the investigation. If the police exonerated him later from the murder that should not also be a surprise. He is not being suspected of the murder, but the possibility of it since he apparently has a hand in the allegations by Saharareporters that Governor Shekarau sponsored the murder in view of the recent discovery.

As for the publisher of Desert Herald, anyone who knows his kind of journalism will only be surprised why he has not been a regular visitor to the police all these years. There are a thousand and one reasons why the police should invite the guy for a chat every week, not just his penchant for the allegation that the governor was involved in the Ja’afar case.

“If the police have arrested Tukur Mamu, what about the owner of Saharareporters?” Haba Garba! Do you know who the owner of Saharareporters website is? If you do, you should help the police with the information. Those faceless scammers certainly have a role to play in unravelling this knotty issue of Ja’afar’s murder because of the way they write on the issue, even though they call it “citizen report.”

I cannot comment on other loose assertions by Garba Deen towards the end of his piece because they are based on his misunderstanding of the issue as a whole. Nobody cooked up any evidence against Ado Mohammed. His thoughtlessness in letting his cheque be used by Saharareporters in their bid to smear the reputation of the governor got him where he found himself. That is the price he has to pay for his naivety. In any case, Allah always comes to the rescue of His innocent servants from the machinations of evildoers. Mohammed could as well be the source of the allegations Saharareporters have been dishing out which they claimed to be “citizen reports.”

Finally, my good friend Garba concluded his piece by saying “as someone who fancies himself as a good man,” Shekarau must be conversant with the adage that the only thing needed for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing. Fancies himself as a good man? What is bad in that? It is better to strive to be good than be known as a bad man.

Governor Shekarau, as a good man (and this is testified by all those who ever came across him), has indeed done to Nigerian politics what is expected of a good man. He has ventured into the murky waters of Nigerian politics despite the fact that it is widely acknowledged to be a “dirty game.” Few good men have been able to do that.

And among the legacies Governor Shekarau is leaving behind to Nigerian politics, at least in Kano, is his transformation of its violence-prone nature of yore to the near-clean manner it is being played today. No political thugs accompanying party leaders, wielding dangerous weapons and spoiling for a fight with anyone who shouts a dissenting voice against their master. No clashes at political rallies, a far cry from what was the order of the day before.

The governor has also set the good example of tolerance of the very adverse and sometimes abusive views being expressed by political opponents to the admiration of the people, so much so that today they yearn for anyone with this kind of attributes to succeed him come the year 2011.

Mohammed is Special Adviser to Kano Governor on Private Schools & Vocational Education.