First things first: As we RiPPLE along this morning, we should first get this our well known obsession with GMB, his government, party and politics out of the way for starters.
After we get that out of the way then we RIPPLE along on Late Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi, first civilian Governor of Kano state elected on the platform of populist PRP, the party of the Talakawa, 1979/1983. Jigawa state was then part of Kano, less the Greater Kano that used to have such contiguous provinces as Buhari’s Daura, Katagum, Jama’are and Misau now in Katsina and Bauchi states respectively. That was Greater Kano during colonial rule. Rimi died on 4th April 2010. As plans and manouvres leading to politics 2019 heat up last Wednesday, his 8th year anniversary was celebrated in Kano with the kind and generous intervention of the Kano State Government keeping a shrewd eye on the next elections.
Anyway back to our GMB obsession. Our dose today is a pleasant and positive surprise package of a bombshell that Mr. President dropped Tuesday March 27th at his party NEC meeting. He undid the ill-advised and patently illegal tenure elongation announced for all levels of the APC at a previous contentious NEC meeting as reported on Tuesday February, 27th.
Since then it had been one of two major issues on the Nigerian political space. The other issue is not the Dapchi Girls, as the Dapchi palaver is not exactly political; at least not directly party politics.
The other issue is the reordering of the 2019 election sequence. On RIPPLES a couple of weeks ago, “2019 reelection bait and related issues” we had lamented how GMB had been baited with fake assurances over the 2019 elections and lured into supporting the illegal “Tazarce” (tenure elongation) of APC executives.
Thank God, GMB is now alert to the pitfalls laid by his mendacious minders who falsely claim they are working for his interest. He has made his stand clear. All levels of the party are now open to democratic elections from the polling unit, which is the lowest level of the APC hierarchy through ward and LG levels up to the state and national level.
But, and as the saying goes, a very big ‘BUT’, the taste of the decision now comes up when the current APC exco gets dissolved. All levels of the APC should have caretaker excos appointed from all the parties that were part of the merger at take-off. New blocks should also be equally represented.
For instance in Kaduna, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, Senator Shehu Sani and Senator Hunkuyi represent a new block each. Other stakeholders are the ACN, ANPP, new-PDP and CPC.
In Kano, distinct groups in the APC are ACN, ANPP, CPC, New-PDP Gandujiyya and New-PDP Kwankwasiyya. Others are CPC Legacy Group and ACN-ATM Gwarzo Group. In Katsina, similar models are on ground. The Bugaje group is a factor, a coalition made up of CPC politicians and the Akida Group.
If all such groups are part of the rejuvenated APC on the caretaker excos ahead of the congresses, the hopes raised by Mr. President’s firm support for justice and fairness wouldn’t be misplaced. Thus the reconciliation process would have been properly activated even without Tinubu raising a finger, and GMB would have written himself again into Nigeria’s political history truly as a born again democrat.
Otherwise he would end up like all previous heads of government. Obasanjo squandered all the goodwill that brought him to power by bringing in politics, self-centered and dirty undemocratic politics to lead all he did while President. He manipulated every process that he could, shifting the goal posts midway into the game, in particular, his bid to change the constitution to give him an extension. Military dictators who came in with guns also misstepped by shifting the goal posts mid-game. Abacha, IBB and even Gowon, a lot earlier, lost the people’s confidence by insisting on tenure elongation. Thank God, GMB saw the bana peel.
However he must not allow charlatans and ignorant opportunist politicians living off him to mislead him. The APC must not be messed up by PDP-type politics of impunity. If it is messed up it will open the floodgates for other parties, especially at local and state levels to destabilise his political base. But then, as said here the test of the firmness in the GMB brakes on the APC elongation plan is in the reset of the button when the tenure is about to end, when plans for a redo of the party are laid. It must be noted that governors, political appointees and other elected politicians aren’t the only serious stakeholders in the party.
Rimi’s 8th anniversary
Rimi who died eight years ago was a Kano governor like no other. Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi who became first civilian governor on the ticket of the radical Talakawa (common people) based Peoples Redemption Party (PRP). Probably the youngest governor of the 1979 set, he was only 39 years old when he took up the mantle of leadership of the most populous state in Nigeria.
He built Kano (and Jigawa) up from the status it had been established on by first military governor, Police Commissioner Audu Bako. Audu Bako had constructed more than 26 dams and opened up the state’s rural areas. Agriculture and agro allied businesses began to catch root by the time Rimi came onto the scene. But even then most of Kano was rural. Rimi opened up rural Kano, establishing the first integrated rural development scheme under radical university don, Mahmoud Othman as Commissioner for Rural and Community Development. As at 1979, barely 10 towns were electrified or had running water. By mid-1983 when Rimi decamped from PRP and set a record as the first Governor to resign voluntarily there were well over 150 towns and villages electrified and scores more with running water. Many more had modern concrete bonded wells sunk.
By the time he left he had established a State Television station (CTV 67, now ARTV), training majority of the staff in first class US broadcast institutions. He also set up Triumph Publishing Company that was a training ground for journalists from all over Nigeria. He set up the innovative Agency for Mass Education which won a UN award. He led a government of quality recruitment. Many of Rimi’s Commissioners had no business with PRP, his party. But the ideals of the party, led them in the quest for human development, since PRP was a Party of Democratic Humanism.
With the many stories of the glorious days of Rimi and the Rimi Generation, that I hope to scribble more of, in subsequent outings of RIPPLES what struck me on the Rimi anniversary is how on earth we ended up with the kind of political contraption we have today? Politics is now the exact opposite of what we were bred on by Late Rimi and the PRP while we remain consciously and willfully totally derailed. He rejected Tazarce and actually resigned from office and left his party when he wasn’t happy with it. That was Rimi, who still remains the most popular and effective Governor of Kano with only 3 and a half years in office. No second term, no Tazarce. Yet, he is still sought after even in death by those with the levers or seeking the levers of power.