In the words of an historian, moralist and English nobleman he said, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”
At no time in the history of Kano politics is this proverbial saying becoming proven, and evidently experienced in the behaviour of leaders, than in the time of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.
The ease with which Governor Ganduje goofs is fast transforming him from a known nincompoop to a great goon, it seems.
Either by deliberate deception or dodgy design, all of which are potentially dangerous, Governor Ganduje is personally digging his own political grave, at a speed that could cause him a foolish failure. Undoubtedly, the Governor is doing what he is doing because of the elusive influence of the instruments of power.
Depending on his condition of compassion, the instruments of power are used in coercive or condign conditions by Ganduje, without any fear of the fact that they could make him go gaga.
Yesterday, Monday, 19/04/21, after reading stories in the media, that the publisher of Daily Nigerian, Mr. Jaafar Jaafar, has fled his house and gone into hiding, I put a call to him for enquiries. Indeed he confirmed to me that he had relocated for safety, after receiving several security threats, in recent times.
Jaafar said to me, unknown persons have been on his trail for a while now, and he feels unsafe with such unidentified persons, that are likely to be hitmen, stalking him all over.
It may be recalled that sometimes in the year 2018, in the build-up to the 2019 gubernatorial elections, the journalist had published video clips of Governor Ganduje, allegedly showing him collecting bribery in dollars from a presumed contractor.
Because of the furore generated, which is still keeping the Governor in fury, in a recent interview with the BBC Hausa, Ganduje said he is making plans to deal with those who released the videos.
With that threat, Jaafar rushed with a petition to the former Inspector General of Police, Adamu Mohammed, seeking protection against the visit of harm. His fears were directed at Ganduje.
Also a few weeks ago, under similar circumstances, the media was awash with stories that the same Governor Ganduje of Kano State, was intimidating the family of a human rights activist and lawyer, Sa’ida Sa’ad-Bugaje, with policemen trailing her family members to Abuja, neighbouring Katsina and Kaduna states, for the simple reason of criticizing him over the alleged mismanagement of COVID-19 funds, in her home state of Kano.
Like Jaafar, Sa’ad also claimed to be subjected to harassment by persons believed to be the governor’s henchmen. According to her, she was almost whisked away by personnel claiming to be working for the Governor.
She had since gone into hiding. And her fears are directed at Ganduje.
Again, barely a year after removing Emir Muhammadu Sunusi and installing Aminu Ado Bayero on the throne, the government of Kano, under the same Ganduje, is at war with the new Emir of Kano.
The state is accusing the Emir of a financial scandal, involving the sale of 22 hectares of land to the tune of over 1billion naira. The Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission, PCACC, is investigating the monarch, alongside some of his senior aides, for allegedly diverting parts of the money to personal use.
The target is the new Emir, who like Sunusi, Ganduje may want to be removed and banished from kano for life.
The dictionary describes coercive power as the use of force, or fear to get an employee to follow an instruction or order, where power comes from one’s ability to punish the employee for noncompliance. This power is in use, for example, when an employee carries out an order under fear of losing his or her job.
Is Ganduje gradually going gaga, by trying to silence people, through the use of his political employees, to unleash terror on pundits and political opponents?
Something must be done, and be done quickly before the situation gets out of hand. In order to prevent power from corrupting people’s character, it is important for those in power to be made to practice self-reflection.
Kano has had Governors like Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, the Sardaunan Kano, who despite all provocations and campaigns of calumny, refused to be guided by arrogance, self-worth or the feel of self-importance. Rather, he governed with modesty and humility.
Ganduje might have won in the dethronement of Emir Sunusi and the subsequent degradation of the dominion. He also has the right to seek redress in court where he feels defamed. But even if he goes gaga, he cannot gag the press, or succeed in a war with the media, especially the media that is not afraid of intimidation.
The Governor needs to take some lessons on the limits of patience, particularly political patience, as it affects people’s capacity to accept or tolerate threats and humiliation without expressing anger.
Many supported Ganduje as the successor for Kwankwaso, because of his perceived simplicity and modesty, which combined to give him an edge over his major challenger, Abba Gida Gida, as he was famously called. But after getting himself in the new leadership position, he refused to check himself from the negative changes in behaviour.
Those who read history may educate the Governor about the famous July 10th Kano rampage, and how a radio station, the old assembly building and other institutions were set on fire, killing at least two people, one of whom was Dr Bala Mohammed, the Political Adviser to Governor Abubakar Rimi. The damage at that time was put at a conservative estimate of $300 million.
I have since commenced investigations, with regards to the veracity of Jafaar’s claim that the Police is on his trail because I know Elleman to be an upright police officer, that would not act ultra vires. And to give him support in doing what is professionally appropriate, unless he was misled, the Ag.IGP Alkali Usman Baba has made it categorically clear, that he would not allow himself to be drawn into any political or whatever vendetta, in order to settle scores.
Ibrahim, a media advisor writes from Abuja.