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Babangida battles Kure’s legacy in Niger

Posted by By Francis Falola on 2007/09/09 | Views: 2543 |

Babangida battles Kure’s legacy in Niger


Some aides of former Niger State governor, Abdulkadir Kure, seem not to have accepted the reality of a change in government, as Francis Falola reports that they are still battling the new governor, Babangida Aliyu, for relevance Change might be inevitable, but most human beings are not desirous of its occurrence, as they often relish the status quo.

Some aides of former Niger State governor, Abdulkadir Kure, seem not to have accepted the reality of a change in government, as Francis Falola reports that they are still battling the new governor, Babangida Aliyu, for relevance Change might be inevitable, but most human beings are not desirous of its occurrence, as they often relish the status quo. This scenario seems to be playing out itself in Niger State politics since the emergence of Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu as the governor of the state last May.

The masses had shown a strong desire for a shift in the conduct of the political affairs in the state before the last elections. And they possibly exemplified this in the torrent of attacks launched on the campaign train of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, especially at the rural areas, prior to and during the campaigns.

No wonder, the former Permanent Secretary of the Federal Civil Service and now governor, employed the best marketing options to distance himself from the Alhaji Abdulkadir Kure led administration, and publicly admitting the poor performance of the Kure government, which held sway for eight years. But Aliyu’s attempt to practicalise this in his first 100 days in office appears to have attracted much controversy, which might be unprecedented in the political history of the state.

Besides making scathing remarks on Kure‘s administration, the governor had irked some of Kure‘s loyalists by revoking some portions of land of a public school in Minna, purportedly allocated to some individuals in the state. The governor, who claimed that the allocation was wrongly done, also ordered the cancellation of allocations of vehicles to private individuals less than 48 hours to the May 29, 2007 expiration date of the tenure of the Kure administration.

He lamented that none of the official vehicles of ministries in the state were passed on to the new administration.

In spite of the efforts of the PDP National Chairman, Dr. Ahmadu Ali, at brokering peace between the two in a meeting in Abuja recently, the long-awaited peace has remained elusive as the state PDP remain polarised by supporters of Kure and that of Aliyu. The aggrieved loyalists of Kure have, however, started fighting back. They have continued to serve as the major opposition to the policies and programmes of the PDP led government in the state. But a dangerous dimension was recently introduced when the opposition made frantic efforts to pit the traditional institutions in the state against the governor.

In different publications sponsored by the opposition, Aliyu has been accused of relegating the traditional institutions in the state to irrelevance. In the first of such publications, an open letter allegedly written by Aliyu against the Emir of Minna, Alhaji Umar Faruq Bahago, about one-and-a-half decades ago was re-published. The governor was also accused of issuing a query to the state chairman of the Council of Traditional Rulers and Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, over his planned overseas trip.

In the said advertorial, the Etsu Nupe was said to have been queried on why the money for his trip and that of his entourage was paid personally to him, instead of the travel agency saddled with the responsibility of handling the trip. The group described the governor‘s purported action as disrespectful to the revered emir.

To most political observers in the state, the idea of using the emirs as pawns in the political chess board, is a dangerous political evolution. In a state noted for its respect and reverence to tradition authority, political observers have expressed grievous concern on what they describe as a strange development. A public affairs commentator in the state, Mahmud Mallam, condemned those behind what he described as false and malicious campaign of calumny against the governor. According to him, "Both the Etsu Nupe and the governor ushered in populist programmes when they assumed leadership positions. The Etsu Nupe is famous for respecting people‘s choice in politics, and has also put in place policies that would ensure order, sanity and development of his emirate.

"The governor has also taken steps to ensure sanity, order and accountability in governance. Do not forget that this is not the first time the opposition would be trying to pit royal fathers against the governor, with the sole aim of destabilising the administration. A situation where the opposition seeks to use emirs to score cheap political gain is a dangerous trend in the political system of the state."

He described the aim of those behind the publication as being to create distraction and cause friction between the governor and the emirs in the state, and condemned the group as those who would like to see the status quo maintained. He said, "Parasitism is the only way of survival they know." He, however, advised the governor to watch it as those aggrieved with some policies of the government have now cultivated tremendous capacity for causing chaos. He stated the need for all well meaning individuals in the state to join hands with the government in arresting the problem of poor development bedevilling the state.

The public affairs commentator stated that the fact that the level of development in the state belied its over 31 years of existence, was enough indication on the need for the people to unite and form a common front in addressing the developmental needs of the state.

The Secretary of the Bida Emirate Council, Alhaji Musa Usman, in his reaction, denied knowledge of such a development.

According to Usman, "It is a surprise to the emirate council when the news of the query was brought to its notice and I wish to inform you that nothing like that happened. The Etsu Nupe was never queried by anybody and nothing has happened to warrant such insinuations."

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