By Tina Akannam
There is no doubt the sudden demise of the late Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi, a renowned vocal northern political icon, and a former disciple of late Mallam Aminu Kano has created yetÂ anotherÂ irreplaceable vacuum in Kano politics and the nation at large.
This is because only very few politicians in Nigeria have the gut to speak out boldly on issues bordering theÂ interest of the masses and the nationâ€™s fragile democracy.
Some political analysts describe him as a stubborn, fearless and hothead politician whose political ideologies gave him an identity in the nationâ€™s politics. But one of the striking attribute of the late politician is this ability to respond to issues at any given time and his innate stimulating sense of humour which had made him unique and draw followers to him.
As the first civilian governor of the old Kano state which now comprises Kano/Jigawa States, many said his legacies will continue to be remembered in both States because his tenure as governor of old Kano has remain the best in the history of governance due to the immeasurable developmental projects he executed within the short period he served as a PRP governor in the state.
History had itÂ that as governor of old Kano fundamental changes were witnessed and theÂ laudable achievements recorded during his tenure are still visible 30years after.
According to findings, educational development was one of the priority of his administration.Â As a practical politicians and a disciples of late Mallam Aminu Kano, Rimi strongly believed in the struggle to emancipate the â€˜talakawaâ€™ (the downtrodden), and like his mentor he felt that poor people were being exploited because they were uneducated and ignorant, which is unconnected to why he invested so much in educational development sponsoring indigent students even abroad to study medical and engineering courses so that they can be empowered to face the challenges of life. He also increased the number of educational institutions at all levels.
Being a practical man, Rimi also realized the huge gap between male and female in the state, he boldly decided to promote gender equality, a decision no doubt that got him not only endeared to the womenfolk but made him a hero. With all the social implications involved in his action, he shun criticisms because then the Northern part of this country were conservative about the enrolment of women in western education and their participation in public activities. The first thing he did was to establish free schools for girls, and compelled parents to enrol their female children in the schools against criticisms.
He paved way for women to participate in his administration. His government was the first to have the first female commissioner since the creation of the then old Kano State. And before the completed his tenure in 1983, three women had served in various capacities as commissioners in the state.
Similarly, realizing that a large number of adults were uneducated he introduced an adult education programme in April 1980 under a department known as Agency for Mass Education.Â The programme gave adults who could not go through formal education, the opportunity to study up to secondary and university levels.
The programme was so successful that it was recognized in 1983, as one of the best adult education programmes on the African continent by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Till date most of the schools he established remain the legacies being enjoyed in education in both Kano and Jigawa states. The Agency has graduated thousands of students.
Another area that he will beÂ remember for is provision of basic amenities.Â For example, he ensured that he constructed roads in neglected communities that were not inaccessible. He executed extensive rural electrification projects, massive road projects and extensive rural water programmes in the old Kano. Some of the water and electrification projects are still being enjoyed till date.
Similarly according to findings some of the road projects are still very solid and some benefitting communitiesÂ had not seen such road project since Rimi left power in 1983. He also established the state television station known as CTV and the Triumph Publishing Company which are still the only state owned private television and newspaper companies in the present Kano state.
No wonder, thousands of sympathizers who trooped to his residence from within and outside the country to commiserate with the family said one thing in common â€˜we have lost a true politicians who at any point can voice out his mind on issues fearlesslyâ€™. It is obvious that finding a replacement for a man like Rimi will not be easy in the present political set up of northern Nigeria .
Despite the vicissitude he experienced in his political carrier in later years, Rimiâ€™s achievements as the first civilian governor of the old Kano state remains an indelible legacy.Â He would be remembered as one of the best governors the state has had ever had to date.
Rimi moves with his head high in the society and he can fearlessly challenge his political opponents to their faces. He had at several foraâ€™s declared that he left power with only N50,000 naira in his account. He shocked his political rivals when he declared in a radio interview that any politically elected officer who begins to live flamboyantly and drive on expensive car few months after his election is a thiefâ€™.
He said there is no way any true politician who is given the mandate to serve the people will begin to drive on expensive cars shortly after leaving over office if his not used public funds to change carsâ€™. â€˜You know me, I will always say the truth, am not afraid to saying the truth in this country. If others will keep quite I, Rimi will not because when I serve as a governor I did not steal public funds, what we do during our era was to use peopleâ€™s money to develop the state, and I am always proud to beat my chest that I did not embezzled public fund when I serve the people of old Kano Stateâ€™.
Politically, he remains a political mentor to many because of his honesty.
However, the most pressing issue since his demise is who will replace him in present political scenario in the North?, His followers are now faced with whom to select to replace their leaders.Â Late Rimi was a unique man who does his things in his own style.