Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Re: Intellectual Mischief in Zamfara Politics

This is a response on my article on Zamfara State, Nigeria.


I read with great interest an article published in the Leadership Newspaper of July 9, 2009 titled Intellectual Mischief in Zamfara Politics, which is a response to my earlier article The Stakes in Zamfara State published in Daily Trust of July 1, 2009. The article by one Adamu Bungudu was much anticipated. Ordinarily I would have dismissed it because it plays the same music that write ups like mine attract. But the writer who to my expectation is a ghost has raised some fundamental issues that I need to respond to in order to put records straight. I will not respond to all he raised because he does not seem to have a good grasp of what my article is all about. He is blindly defending the governor of Zamfara State with such vigour of an intellectual mercenary and a seasoned sycophant.

In the beginning of his article he said “It is perplexing to hear people saying things that cannot stand the test of truth or simple logic and yet laying pompous claim to being an ‘intellectual’” he went ahead to question my academic position and argue that as a geographer I am ignorant of Zamfara Political Science and history. What I want to tell Bungudu is simply that the issues I raised are clear, every right honest person knows that there are enormous political problems in Zamfara State and they have distracted its leadership from performing its duties. It is as simple as this.

He argued that I am “hardly known in the rank of popular or prominent citizens of Zamfara State.” Mr. Bungudu I don’t have to be popular or prominent in Zamfara State to express my views on what is happening there. I am an indigene of the State but not a local champion. Go to http://www.google.com/ and type my name you will see what you will see. Your arguments that only those academics that are concerned with the socio-political affairs of the State are known and recognised by the masses and the elite are familiar with and accorded recognition is understood very well and that’s fine.

The fact that you don’t seem to know me and no one is obliged to accord me any recognition being him an elite or the man on the street did not change the fact that I hailed from Zamfara State. But it may interest you to know that I have probably contributed more for the development of Zamfara State than you have done.

I may not be humble to tell all I have done, but it is good to tell you a few things I have done and allow you to do some investigations and find for your self. Before I give you some insights, it should interest you to know that Zamfara State did not spend a kobo in my education. Kano State funded my primary education. Sokoto State funded my Secondary education, my Bachelors and Masters degree. When I registered for PhD Zamfara State was created and I applied for support and not a single kobo was given to me despite several visits and reminders to the scholarship board. Go and look at the records.

After Yerima came to power in 1999, I sent him several proposals that may advance the State, what I can’t say is whether he got the proposals or not, but I did. By doing that I have done what I am supposed to do. In 2001 while in the US on a Fulbright fellowship at the heat of the Shariáh debates a colleague (Salisu Danyaro) and I opened a website for the State free of charge and we used it to improve the image of the State, http://www.zamfaraonline.com/ is still running even though we have not updated it for a while. We received many inquiries which we responded to and many other things which we forwarded to the State Government that has no time to respond. We have done enormous public relations work for the State and its people that would have costs the State millions of naira for free.

Go and ask people who have passed through Bayero University Kano and students who are still there, in fact go and ask ZAMSA what role I have been playing for the development of education in the State. Take some time and visit http://www.hausa.aminus3.com/ and see something promoting Zamfara State. Ask the director press of the governor about an offer I made to the State. Ask the DGs and commissioners of the Ministries of Agriculture, Lands, Environment about the offer for training Zamfara civil servants on Environmental Management and Land Resources I made to them, and ask them if they have utilised the opportunities. Ask them what they told me. I mentioned these to show you that I do care about Zamfara State even though I stay elsewhere.

There is much more, I shouldn’t be the one telling you. If you are really the serious type do your homework well and please ask Professor Saídu Gusau and Dr Bawa Gusau about me. You would probably hang yourself out of shame.

The guy that is not prominent, not recognised (that’s me) is “recently been sounding his friends out about his new found interest not just in politics but even in becoming governor in 2011” what an absurd and narrow-minded reasoning. Your effort to impress Governor Mahmuda Aliyu Shinkafi will end up making him angry because you are talking like a street political thug. In any case if I want to contest for any position in 2011 in Zamfara State can anyone stop me?

Mr. Bungudu questioned why I focused on Zamfara intellectuals and even among them I addressed those teaching in the Universities. But it is a very simple thing. I am a University teacher and that’s my constituency and there is nothing wrong if I start with them. It is as simple as this. But most importantly, you don’t seem to know your history lessons well and if you’re a Political Scientist, may be you just got a degree and left the knowledge in the classroom. Otherwise how can be so naive not to know that change is usually initiated by a few and implemented by many. If you have read your history lessons well you must have learnt about the few intellectuals that have initiated the Sokoto Jihad and the role Zamfara masses have played.

Mr. Bungudu went on to blindly defend governor Shinkafi as if my article is about Shinkafi. I know what Shinkafi has done and I admire him for what he started. If Mr. Bungudu understood my article well, he would not have wasted his energy but it is understandable. My thesis in my article is that while Shinkafi has started on a good footing, political problems have distracted him and that has affected the State, he need to come back on tract. QED.

I did not spare any segment of the society in Zamfara State; I blamed the political class, the Ulama, the bureaucrats and the intellectuals. If you are honest enough, I did not spare Yarima or Mahmuda as governors because they must take responsibility for whatever happens in the State under their stewardship. If you like Mahmuda ten times, I like him a hundred times more, if you don’t know this, he knows it. . I want you to please visit http://tagarduniya.blogspot.com/2007/12/commending-zamfara-state-government-on.html (also published in Sunday Trust) and see what my views were on Shinkafi’s government in 2007. I cannot remember Mr. Bungudu sending a commendation response to hail me for supporting Shinkafi’s educational policies.

Therefore it is not about liking or hating anyone, it is about helping them to come back on track. If any other person is not aware that Shinkafi is distracted by the political problems of the State, you truly do and why can’t you tell a simple truth Mr. Bungudu? What’s wrong with you?

In the end Mr. Bungudu accused me of ‘undue radicalism’ which I am so happy about because he is busy being a tested toady. Before I conclude I want to tell Mr. Bungudu that in this rejoinder I have tried so hard to be considerate because I clearly understood his dilemma. Man must survive.

I wish to reproduce a few of the responses I received on my article in question so that you understand what we are talking about. All the comments are anonymously published to protect the confidentiality of their authors. But I want to assure you that these responses are from across all segments of Zamfara Society. They are reproduced unedited.

”We must salute you,for your patriotic contribution on today’s daily trust all the honest patriotic citizen of Zamfara are proud of your courage... we are solidly behind you we will participate in Any way you need us. Good luck”

“The feud between Mamuda and his former boss will not come to light Zamfara with good news. It is recorded that history gives a devil his due. Our young and raising state suppose to be a child dreading from the fire that engulfed other states: Adamawa, Sokoto and other states. I believe that now I am not along that Mamuda started well but, now some projectss still assume no beginning, while others are running stagnantly. The call from Dr Adamu, for an umbrella of Zamfara state intellectual indigenes teaching in universities is a giant effort, which need a broader perspective of all intellectuals in the academia not only universities.”

“…. On the other hand the 1year of GOV,Mamuda is better than 8years of SEN. Yarima. Because of the 1st year of GOV. Mamuda he faced the challenges of infrastructure and developmental projects towards the transformation of the state.But the problem of GOV. Mamuda administration are, his 2nd term ambition to retain his power. As up now nothing is going on all the developmentals projects has been stoped. The only things remain is political thugry crisis and tensions.At this juncture let me use this golden opportuanity to advise GOV.Mamuda you should continue with the projects that you ignore. Because is the kind of administration people of Zamfara are yearning for now, not 2nd term.Further more DR YUSUF ADAMU, sir its my honor and previllaged to notified you that on behalf of myself and entire members of grassrot , soliderity movement [ G S M ] We are together with you sir.”
“Good morning. You made an interesting write-ups about Zamfara State political imbroglio and its docile people. The issue is, the paper has drawn the attention of concerned zamfarawas. It seems the intellectual community carry the most blame, forgetting that this communty is few and insignificant in proportion compared with the larger society.”

Prof. we have done our best towards sanizing political rascality existing in the state. Remember our words are not counted because we are not involve in messy politics that has no room for vision, mission, rationality or sense of direction.

As you rightly observed, Dallatu has started his political tenure well, but along the way the political gladiators in the state hijacked the political structure to serve their own ends.”

“I read your article on Daily Trust of Wednesday 1st July 2009. The article is very interested and I support your views 100%. Please go ahead with contact of people of cited minds. I assure you of my support for anything that will move our state forward.”
By way of conclusion I wish to call on people like Mr. Bungudu to be reasonable when they react to criticisms. We are partners not enemies and we are always willing to dialogue with people who share different opinions from us. I look forward to meeting you in person one day so that we can debate one on one.

Finally, I wish to use this medium to inform Zamfarawa that it is the responsibility of every Bazamfare worth his salt to be concerned with what is happening in the State, Shinkafi cannot work under this atmosphere and so there shall be no progress. Lets all join hands together and pull our State out of the political mud it is in now. So help us Allah.
July 10, 2009. 1:20 am
Published in LEADERSHIP newspaper of July 15, 2009 (But edited version)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Stakes in Zamfara State



From 1999, Zamfara became a household name in the world because the State government has re-introduced the Shari’ah legal system, an act with caused a lot of uproar within and outside the country. Zamfara did not go off the news eyes, because it became the only State where a deputy governor succeeds his governor, it did not stop there, soon it dawn that the new governor Alhaji Mamuda Aliyu Shinkafi is soon to be in conflict with his former boss Yariman Bakura.

That conflict became too complex that it nearly ground the State, instead of that to be the end of the conflict, the governor, to the disappointment of many decamped to PDP. Now, the internal conflict within Zamfara PDP and pressure of the opposition ANPP has grounded the State. Zamfara is now grounded, and we as citizens of the State must face the challenge of taking the State out of this doldrums. We can’t afford to sit down and watch our State wasted in the hands of reckless politicians who have no focus and no conscience. In this article, I am ready to bare my mind and I know many people will not be happy or like what I have to say, but I have to say it.

When Yarima was in power, there are many things I did not like in his style of governance because I feel they will not help the State rather stagnate it. Yarima had the chance of history, he had the blind support of his people, he had the goodwill of politics and he had a lot of money from the federation account to ensure that the infant State got the right infrastructure and capacity for economic development, but Yarima misused his chance. He is a great politician in the Nigerian sense, because he knows how to use the resources of the State to buy his way, he bought everybody.

During his time the assembly was muted and almost useless, his executive council was a puppet, religious leaders were bought and elders became toothless bulldogs. Yarima was principally the only man standing in Zamfara State and he misused his opportunity by spending all his time and resources politicking instead of building solid infrastructural foundation for the young State. Supporters of Yarima will tell you that he is generous and is a giver. What else has Yarima got to show in Zamfara after eight years in office? Politics, and that’s all.

I had no hope when Mahmuda Aliyu Shinkafi became governor that he will have the capacity to inject the much needed substance in governance to move the State forward. His first six months almost proved me wrong. I was surprised to see how he faced the challenges of infrastructure and Zamfara seem to be transforming.

But from the beginning, I sense a danger. The first danger was his inescapable confrontation with Yarima. Despite Yarima’s failure, he cannot be under estimated, because he commands a lot of respect among politicians (whose concern is only about money), and Yarima can harm Mahmuda politically if the confrontation continues.

The second danger I sensed was the madness of second term fuelled by opportunistic politicians. How can a government that is less than a year in office start thinking and investing on a second term? That ultimately lead to a serious conflict and distraction and Shinkafi hurriedly decamped to PDP, an act that bought him unpopularity among the masses (even though politicians all decamped to PDP; that’s where the money is). It was shameful how things turned out, but it happened in Zamfara.

Since Shinkafi decamped to PDP there is so much conflict between the aboriginal Pidipeans and the migrants Pidipeans, on power sharing and resource control. Nothing is going on in the State the only thing that is going on in the State is politics, just like in the Yarima days.

What's happening Shinkafi? Your vision is now blurred, all your will and desire to build a solid foundation for the State is unstable. It is dramatic how Zamfara was turned from a project State to a State where politics is the only business of the day. The State is broke and all the great and giant projects started are there hanging and no body knows what is going to happen, what a tragedy.

Every citizen of Zamfara (those in the State and those in the Diaspora) now live with the fear of uncertainty. The State is now high jacked by some visionless politicians who have no concern for the State or its people but their pockets and political career and no one seem to be doing anything. We have no elders in Zamfara State; we have no bureaucrats who have the guts to confront the excesses of the political class. Our intellectuals don’t seem to pay attention or be interested on what is happening in the State and this is a great disservice on their part.

We have now reached a state that we must remember what Frantz Fanon once said “Every generation must out of relative obscurity discover its mission, fulfil it or betray it” and that “Every onlooker is either a coward or a traitor” and my challenge to Zamfara intellectuals is this: we have a stake in what happens in Zamfara, and we have the responsibility of taking Zamfara out of this mess, we must rescue Zamfara State from the hands of political kidnappers who have hijacked the affairs of our State. Closely, we should refer to the Malam Abdullahi Fodio’s, commentary on Lubab which he said is a summary of Al-Madkhal of Muhammad b. Muhammad al-Abdari of Fezz in order to realise our duty to our community as intellectuals. By this I wish to extend invitation to Zamfara State indigenes teaching in Nigerian Universities to form the nucleus of a body of intellectuals that will start the rebirth of Zamfara State. The revolution must begin now.

This article is published today in DAILY TRUST (July 1, 2009)



Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
Kano, Kano, Nigeria
Dr. Yusuf M. Adamu is a Professor of Medical Geography at the Bayero University Kano. He is a bilingual novelist, a poet, and writes for children. He is interested in photography and run a photo blog (www.hausa.aminus3.com) All the blogs he run are largely for his hobbies and not his academic interests. Hope you enjoy the blogs.