By Luka Binniyat
The so-called â€œOne Northâ€ slogan got under test again last week and badly wobbled whenÂ Kaduna Government House â€“ a strong hold of the Muslim (Hausa/Fulani) north â€“ became available for a ChristianÂ man from a minority tribe in Southern part of Kaduna to occupy.
In widely reported news reports, some Muslims were said to have resented the idea that a Christian would, for the time in the history of Nigeria, govern the State.
The Kaduna StateÂ Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Tambari Mohammed. confirmed to newsmen last Monday that some groups were bent on fomenting trouble over the development.
Time not ripe for a Christain Gov from the South â€“ Yakowa
But, Patrick Yakowa, the demurely, slight, brand new governor of Kaduna State, born 62 years ago, in Fadan Kagoma _ a farming village in the heart ofÂ the pristine savannah of Jemaâ€™a Local Government Area (LGA) in the Southern part ofÂ Kaduna State _Â was not ready for such a quick combination of fate and the constitutionÂ thrusting him up to power so soon.Â For the ambivalentÂ nature of fate, he never wanted anyone from his own part of the State to govern Kaduna State before 2015.
But the force of nature and the makings of politicsÂ made him the first beneficiary of an age-long agitation that has ledÂ to the lost ofÂ thousands of lives over the yearsÂ as Muslims and Christians in the State slaughteredÂ one another in the most savage.
Yakowa, a 1972 graduate of the famous Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, is sniggered atÂ by his folks from the South for his seeming undue servile attitude to the north, who have had a pincer grip of power in the State, since 1976, occasionally allowing the south the role of a second fiddle.
Here is a wikipedia account of Yakowaâ€™s attitude to power shift in Kaduna : â€œIn December 2009 Yakowa denied claims that Kaduna State administration was marginalizing Southern Kaduna. He said statements to that effect were â€˜bizarre and mischievousâ€™ and said the government was making special efforts to provide social amenities in the area. A southerner himself, he called on the people of the region to stop agitating for a southern governor candidate in the 2011 elections, but to help Governor Namadi Sambo gain a second term, and wait for 2015 to get an southern
Long time marginalisation
â€œThis statements clearly peeved most of hisÂ kinsmen including meâ€, said Arc. Pius Nkom, an indigene of Kafanchan, andÂ a property consultant in Abuja.
â€œAll men and women of honourÂ will admit that the domination of the north over the south in the state is realâ€, he said.
â€œAnd it isÂ not a product of superiorÂ population and socio-economic contribution , but purelyÂ ethnic and religiousâ€, heÂ said, â€œand it is not newâ€, he added.
â€œThe 2006 Census Population put the population the State at 6,066,562â€, he said.
â€œThat made the stateÂ to become the third most populous state in the countryâ€, he went on.
â€œAnalysed data shows that of the 23 LGAs in the State, the 11 southern kadunaÂ LGAs have aÂ majority of 52% with the rest 12 of the north contributing the remaining 48%â€, he added.
That means that the aggregate population of the non Hausa/Funali, non- Muslims southern part of the State are, after all, the majority, albeit a marginal one.
But the South has always complained that it has always been treated as an insignificant minority in both the share of power and resources.
For example, of all the 17 governors and administrators whoÂ ruled the State from 1976 till last week, only Usman Mauzu _Â a muslim from Jaba LGA in the South _Â was governor from January 1984 to August 1985.
(For the majorityÂ non- Hausa/Fulani tribes of theÂ south, to be a Muslim, is largely consideredÂ an aberration, as the area is overwhelminglyÂ Christian dominated)
But this is not to infer that during Military rule, some officers from the south did not benefit in the sharing of the post of military governors, usually at the discretion and pleasure of the military Head of State.
The list patronised
And to all those who are familiar with the social landscape of KadunaÂ for long, the collective tribal people of the South have always remain in the backwaters.
â€œThey are the list patronised in terms of Government contracts and favoursâ€, said Dr. Christopher Oguguwa, a native of Enugu Nkwu, in Enugu State in a telephone chat with Vanguard Wednesday.Â He was born and raised in Kaduna and runs Top Care Hospital, Sabo, a suburb ofÂ Kaduna town
â€œWhen they are appointed into positions of government, they are most unlikely to be put in the so called lucrative officesâ€, he said.
â€œ While they constitute the major backbone of the bureaucracy, their ascendanceÂ to leadership of their establishments is always the most least uncertainâ€, he said.
â€œThis was worst during military ruleâ€, he added.
â€œIn fact, during the administration of Col. HammedÂ Ali, (Military administrator of the state from August 1996 to August 1998)Â this man fromÂ Bauchi dealt with Southern Kaduna peopleâ€, he said.
According to him, the man carried a massive purge of the Kaduna State Civil Service, for no intelligent reason, apart from the fact that the thousands that lost theirÂ jobs, where basically from the south.
â€œThese people have there own problem tooâ€, he pointed out, â€œthey hardly care about business. They are very educated, so they are lazy and want to work for governmentâ€, he said.
â€œSo Hammed open their eyes to realityâ€, he added
â€œBut, there was another military governor -Â Col. Lawal Jafaru Isa -Â who is still â€˜worshipedâ€™Â by this peopleâ€, he said.
According to him, during his rule from December 1993 to August 1996, the south never had it so good.
â€œ Among the brave things he did, was to separate the South fromÂ the Zazzau Emirate of Zaria and allow the people their autonomyâ€, he said. â€œYou cannot called them â€˜Southern Zariaâ€™ like before, but â€˜Southern Kadunaâ€™ since thenâ€, he went on
â€œHe was seen to be a great friend of the ordinary people of both the north and the south in terms of how he shared the posts commissioners and project sites in the state.â€, he said.
It was as if to punish and reverse the state for all the good works of Isa that Hammed was appointed to replace him .
Makarfi made an impact
Senator Ahmed Makarfi,Â whose parents are from Kano State, did his best to spread development to the south. But, those who have made comparative analysisâ€™s of what he invested in the north and the south are quick to say that the south was heavily short-changed during his eight years reign (1999-2007). However, most southerners would not give a hoot for this kind of analysis, because they have irrefutable evidence to show that it had never been so good for the region in terms of infrastructural development.
Yakowa served under Makarfi as Secretary to the State government in 2003 after retiring from the Federal Civil Service as Permanent Secretary in 1999. When the Deputy Governor at that time, Engr. Stephen Shekari died in June 2005, Yakowa was Makafiâ€™s favourite choice for his replacement.