IN KADUNA, ACCUSERS STAND ACCUSED
The providential ascension of Mr Patrick Yakowa to the governorship of Kaduna State is of great political significance to his compatriots in the Southern part of the state. If there is any aspiration that has agitated the minds of the people of southern Kaduna with unyielding anxiety it is the governorship of the state. The SOKAPU and CAN now have cause to celebrate.
Indeed, the people of southern Kaduna have been reveling in their unexpected attainment of the coveted governorship of the state so much so that their priority these days is not about a new Kaduna State but the elongation of their tenancy of Kashim Ibrahim House beyond the completion of Namadi Sambo's first term to 2015 in the first instance. In this regard, it is instructive that the flag-bearer of southern Kaduna, Yakowa, who is better known for keeping his head while others went totally berserk in their quest for political pre-eminence in the state.
At his swearing in on May 20, 2010, he candidly cautioned that he is not a governor for Christians or for southern Kaduna, but for all citizens of the state. Yakowa knows better about the dynamics of political power in the state and benefited most from that unique understanding by emerging as a federal minister and a two-time, perhaps longest serving, deputy governor prior to his divine elevation to the top job.
The key issues in the politics of the state which Yakowa grasped are population leverage and diplomacy. Interestingly, most of his people who now adopt him as their own God-sent and push for his 2011 candidature hitherto regarded him as a sell-out in their mistaken belief that stubborn intransigence and the threat of violence were more potent. In the end, the quest for a new state held more hope for them!
What is happening to the state under the Yakowa Administration indicates that while Yakowa was not really as politically sagacious as his track record suggests, the SOKAPU/CAN clique does not have to stoop to conquer 'everybody's governor'. Another infamous chapter in the political history of the state is now unfolding in which Yakowa reveals his inner instincts of ethnic and religious chauvinism, after years of sinister hibernation as a broad-minded, level-headed and peace-loving senior citizen of the state. The evidence of such a disappointing decline from statesmanship to kinsmanship is not circumstantial but directly linked to Yakowa's exercise of political power and discretion.
Yakowa's chief detail, CSO except the ADC are all Christians from Southern Kaduna. His Media Adviser was a product of CAN struggle to install one of theirs who hitherto had assisted them in accomplishing assignments against both the Hausa/Fulani and the previous administrations. It is also strongly believed that he is a relation to his wife both hailing from Jaba.
The interim committee members saddled with the responsibility to collate briefs from the immediate past commissioners were all from Southern Kaduna . While Yakowa lauded Sambo for giving him a sense of belonging by assigning him substantial important duties as a deputy governor, Muktari Yero is today an unavoidable and unwanted attachment to Yakowa, recognized only at public functions but bereft of any official responsibility.
Yakowa deliberately reserved seven key ministries in his cabinet-finance, works, local government, environment, health, poverty alleviation and water resources— for his kinsmen. Furthermore, what was glaringly a consequential order devoid of any democratic spread was the appointments and postings of the three commissioners of special duties which ordinarily should have been spread between the three senatorial zones but were heaped in both Northern and Central zones with the Central Zone having two slots.
Sani Sidi who was retained for his closeness to Sambo was unceremoniously announced without a portfolio until Yakowa was reminded, which earned him the inconsequential culture slot. Ordinarly, no muslim was intended to come out as commissioner from the Southern Zone. Yakowa summarily sacked all special advisers to provide an avenue for more ethnically-skewed appointments as can be seen from analysis of his appointments so far, noted for diminishing the Muslim profile. When Dame Goodluck Jonathan came visiting the entire welcome committee comprised Southern Kaduna Christians, except for one or two non-indigenes.
Presenting these sickening details of Yakowa's brazen nepotism is a very uncomfortable task for any true citizen of Kaduna State because of the ominous implications for the future peace and unity of this potentially volatile state. But if the fear of crises lingers in my mind, it is the last thing in the thoughts of Yakowa and his loquacious kinsmen who go about Government House with provocative bravado about their 'conquest'.
The saddest aspect of all this is that Yakowa now cares less about the grave lessons of the state's recent history and consciously tearing down the legacy of peace-and-consensus-building strategies which encouraged the people of Kaduna State to begin to see themselves as one people with different cultures and religions. The underlying realities of the state politics however remain entrenched. The victims of today's situation seem prepared to look on for the few months remaining before they get another opportunity to exercise their political leverage to remedy their predicament. It is now just a matter of time before Yakowa, SOKAPU and CAN in Kaduna State revisit their best option in a new enclave where they can dominate each other till the kingdom come. Indeed, those who don't learn from the mistakes of the past are bound to encounter its repercussions repeated, as it is now the accusers stand accused.
•Shehu Ahmad Kudan, Kaduna State.