By Bala Salihu Dawakin Kudu
It is not surprising at all for some people to stoop so low as to mutilate and misrepresent the truth for monetary inducement or other selfish benefits. This was the first thought that crossed my mind when I read a conspicuously sponsored write-up by one Ahmad Baballiya in the Leadership newspaper of Thursday, October 20, 2011. The article, which appeared under the same title as above, made a number of false claims regarding Kwankwaso’s reformation of the Kano State Hisbah Board.
It is a well-known fact that Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso was the instrumental figure behind the introduction of Sharia in Kano state in the first instance. As such, during his first tenure in 1999, he created all the Sharia-related structures in the state. There can never be truth in the claim that Kwankwaso who first introduced Sharia in Kano would now work to undermine it or any of its supporting structures, which included the Hisbah Board. Even before kwankwaso’s return to government following his victory in the last elections, there have been serious dissatisfactions in many quarters over former governor Ibrahim Shekarau’s blatant politicization of the Hisbah Board.
It was widely acknowledged that the Hisbah Board under Ibrahim Shekrau was just a poodle used to portray his sanctimonious regime as a God-fearing one. Most of the people who preside over the affairs of the board then were cronies of the former governor who had no clue over the tenets of Islamic or Sharia law. Those people trusted with the responsibility of managing the so-called “ever-vibrant” Sharia Commission, Zakkah and khubsi Board offered nothing positive to the board other than sheer greed and reckless attempts to emulate the financial embezzlement of their principals in the last cabinet. This trend was the reason why many of the philanthropists who contributed from their personal wealth to Islamic causes lost confidence in the Zakkah board.
Again, during kwankwaso’s first tenure, there was only on bona fide Hisbah body that was committed to the implementation of Sharia law. Any other “parallel bodies” were either a band of Shekarau’s sponsored thugs or just imaginary creations of delusional writers like Baballiya. And this bona fide Hisbah body received the backing and support of Kwankwaso who then acknowledged their patriotism in protecting the interests of Islam in Kano state.
With the second coming of Kwankwaso, the Hisbah Board was only empowered the more. The appointment of its new commander was a testimony to this. Babballiya contradicts himself by conceding this when he wrote that Kwankwaso appointed “a respectful Islamic scholar was appointed as the Commander General of the Hisbah board by Governor Kwankwaso”. In addition, since a new head was appointed to head the Hisbah board, there will naturally be the need to restore the Board to its primary position. Therefore all the efforts of the new Hisbah Commander were geared toward making the Board into a more effective instrument of Sharia implementation than the political tool it was turned to during the Shekarau era.
Another amazing allegation labeled against Kwankwaso by Baballiya was his claim that the overhead cost of the Hisbah board, which was N1 million before was reduced to a miserable N100, 000. These claims are simply tissues of lies perpetrated by the writer for his own selfish reasons. At least the fact that the Hisbah board members are working round the clock to discharge their duties has contradicted that claim. Equally, if it was true that the Hisbah Board members were not paid their allowances as Babballiya again claimed, why then do they decide to stay in the service?
Moreover, when the Deputy Governor Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje visited the Hisbah Board a few months ago, he mission was to promise empowerment to the board and to warned them against involvement in partisan politics. This sharply negates Baballiya’s lies that the Deputy Governor was there to promise punishment for some of the Board member’s support for the opposition ANPP government during the last elections. Any sensible person knows that there was no way anybody could have known if any Hisbah member voted for ANPP or PDP during the last elections. Elections are purely a matter of personal choice and as such, it could be stated declared unequivocally that the ANPP simply lost the elections as a result of its gross abuse of people’s sensibilities and resources even though it tried to use some of the rotten eggs in the Hisbah Board to rig elections. This explained why in some ANPP quarters many of the Hisbah members were nowhere to be found immediately Kwankwaso was declared winner of the governorship elections.
Conclusively, people like Baballiya ought to be monitored by security agents in Kano to avert a situation where they will attempt to moblilize thugs under the cover of “independent Hisbah” in order to disrupt peace in the state. This is especially necessary considering the fact that the Hisbah Board as it is currently constituted has been dutifully discharging its responsibilities without complaints. Therefore, Kwankwaso as a man committed to respect for the rule of law would not shy away from dealing decisively with any individual or group that attempts to create tensions in the society.
D/Kudu is the Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor of Kano State