I don’t give a damn about President Goodluck Jonathan not declaring his assets. Why should anyone give a damn, when even his permanent secretaries are sleeping with two billion naira under their pillow? What ‘yeye’ formal declaration should anyone require to gauge how much the president himself is worth? Action speaks louder than words, my friends. By the way, since that phrase was invented, presumably by the Americans who use it more often than any other people, has any president, head of state, or even a decent crook ever used it so publicly and recklessly the way Mr. Jonathan did during that fateful media chat two weeks ago?
“I don’t give a damn”, ugh! Even in a beer parlour, responsible drunks don’t scream such obscene phrases to the hearing of other fellow revelers. President Jonathan used the phrase before an estimated 15 million viewers! And he wasn’t referring to booze or goat meat pepper soup, he was talking about telling us how much he is worth so that we can know he has not been stealing our money! You see the problem with Mr. Jonathan and his people? The president says or does something dumb repeatedly, and when you say he is what he is, you are labelled a hater. President Jonathan ‘lovers’ who have directed vicious flak at this column through SMS please know this: I defended Jonathan when he was vice president and in the vicious grip of former President Yar’Adua’s henchmen; I fought for his right to be Acting President when many people that are now calling themselves his supporters opposed it. These are not empty claims, they are claims backed by solid evidence that are withheld out of respect for the feelings of other parties involved; but everything we did then, as now, are motivated by nothing other than an honest and patriotic desire to have a decent country in which our children could thrive; not end up as refugees in other peoples’ countries. This preamble becomes necessary due to the increasing misconception by those who are claiming to be defending President Jonathan, mainly that some of our critical assessments of him are motivated by hate. What majority of us hate is the fact that Mr. Jonathan has turned out to be not only a huge disappointment, but the most dangerously divisive leader that has ever ruled Nigeria. As a result of exploiting what my friend Dr. Kperogi calls our “Primordial fault lines”, President Jonathan and his small clique of mercenaries have pushed our country to a precipice from which we could tumble, any moment, to our collective doom. Are we supposed to fall in love with a man presiding over a possible violent disintegration of our country? Hate Jonathan? No; frustrated with Jonathan? Yes yes and yes.
That said, now to the matter at hand. Here too a clarification is necessary. The probability is high that some people reading the headline of today’s article would jump to the conclusion that this discourse is uncomplimentary to the Governor of Kaduna State, Mr. Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, and that it too is motivated by hate. Nothing can be farther from the truth. And this is the truth: I have the utmost respect for Governor Yakowa. Although I have never met him in person, those who know him closely confirm my thoughts on him as an excellent, amiable gentleman. He cannot be otherwise; it takes a person with exceptional qualities to be a successful deputy within the context of the meanness of Nigerian politics, and Mr.
Yakowa was deputy to two different governors. He was deputy to former Kaduna State Governor, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, and later to now Vice President Namadi Sambo when the later was governor of Kaduna State. Neither of his erstwhile bosses had ever voiced any complaint of disloyalty or otherwise about him, at least not publicly. None of the other 35 persons that served as deputy governors in their states has had such a successful tenure and transition, not even former governor of Zamfara State, Mahmuda Shinkafi who was the only deputy governor in the country to have succeeded his boss in 2007 was that successful; as events proved in 2011, Mahmuda became governor in spite of, and not because of, the support of his boss, Senator Ahmed Sani Yarima.
Moreover almost everybody familiar with Kaduna State politics is aware that Yakowa’s loyalty to his bosses did not particularly endear him to his Southern Kaduna people, most of them felt he was too subservient, or even a sell-out. That Yakowa remained undeterred and helped to stabilize the state throughout the very impressive and largely peaceful eight years regime of Makarfi is sufficient evidence that, for want of a better phrase, Yakowa is a good man. But good people can become bad people, or they can make themselves available, consciously or unconsciously, to the devious manipulations of bad people. They can also commit fatal errors of judgement, or simply be good but incompetent. Intoxicated by power and wealth, any mortal can be vulnerable to any or all of these tendencies.
In the case of Governor Yakowa, it has become absolutely necessary to examine his stewardship of Kaduna state as a tribute to the hundreds, if not thousands of people of both Muslim and Christian extraction, that have been brutally murdered since he became governor nearly three years ago.
First the first violence which is now dubbed “Post-Election violence” which erupted after the governorship election of 2011. That the election was rigged is not seriously disputed even by those who were declared “winners”. But there are two main culprits here, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of which Yakowa is not only a part but a major beneficiary (there goes a part of his “goodness”), and a so called Independent National Election Commission (INEC), led by a terribly overrated and badly misjudged incompetent Chairman which permitted the rigging to happen. Thus it was the PDP, INEC and Yakowa as chief security officer of the state that must be held responsible for the post election violence that followed the 2011 governorship election in the state which claimed so many innocent lives.
Then the most recent violence which happened three Sundays ago as a result of bomb explosions in Zaria and Kaduna which killed about 23 people that included both Muslims and Christians; and the reprisal and counter reprisal killings that the bomb explosions generated at Gonin Gora and Kaduna North Local Government which also claimed hundreds of lives of both Muslims and Christians. This would make it two major deadly sectarian violence in the state since Yakowa became governor.
Forget about whether Governor Yakowa is a good man and all that; even if he is an Angel, the time has come for us to question his competence, level of sincerity and what he was doing at precisely those moments when hundreds of innocent people were being slaughtered and infants roasted alive. This we must do for two reasons: As a mark of respect for our brothers and sister that were killed or maimed; and second, so that those of us that survived the last violence by sheer providence can continue to survive and die naturally when the time comes.
(To be continued, but until then, my apologies for the use of the phrase “I don’t give a damn”. Parents and teachers please remind children that might have watched and heard their president use the phrase that it is rude to use it under any circumstance).
Garba Deen Muhammad
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