By Bala Ibrahim
The last thirty days have been particularly challenging for Kano State. It lost four illustrious sons in a row. First to go at the age of 95 was the Emirate’s longest-serving kingmaker and former district head of Dambatta, elder statesman Alhaji Mukhtar Adnan, who held the title of ‘Sarkin Ban Kano. Late Adnan served for 63 years as a district councillor and kingmaker.
He is mostly remembered for taking part in the selection process of four emirs: Sarkin Kano Muhammadu Inuwa, Sarkin Kano Ado Bayero, Sarkin Kano Muhammad Sanusi 11, and Sarkin Kano Aminu Bayero.
Governor Ganduje and the Government of Kano expressed shock and sadness through a statement that reads, “We received the death of this gentleman and a disciplined statesman with shock. The death is for all of us, the state and the country in general”.
In his message of condolence, PMB said, the death of Sarkin Bai Kano, Mukhtar Adnan, one of the longest-serving kingmakers in the history of the Kano Emirates, “represents the fall of a colossus with a remarkable record of service.”
Shortly after, death revisited the state and took the life of Alhaji Ado Gwaram, another distinguished public servant, two-time Secretary to the State Government, and a household name in discipline and education.
In his condolence message, PMB described the late Ado Gwaram as a man of courage, foresight, firmness, and spine. “He was at the forefront of many community service initiatives. He inspired several young people with his integrity which was unimpeachable and spoke truth to power. On account of these, he rightfully enjoyed the respect and patronage of every administration, military, and civilian, in the old and new Kano State. As expected, Ganduje and the Government of Kano expressed shock and sadness at his death.
Within days, death came calling again on the state, this time around knocking on the doors of Dr. Ibrahim Datti Ahmed, the founder of Asmau Memorial Hospital, now known as Abubakar Imam Urology Centre in Kano, the former President General of the Shari’a Council of Nigeria, and one-time Presidential aspirant under the defunct Social Democratic Party, SDP.
In his message of condolence, PMB described Dr. Datti as “the forefront in providing healthcare to the poor and the needy”, saying, “His divine teachings and selfless contribution towards the welfare of society will not be forgotten. The nation is with the family of the deceased, the Kano Emirate Council as well as the government and people of Kano State as they mourn the doctor, politician, and religious leader”. Also, Ganduje and the Government of Kano expressed shock and sadness at his death.
Yesterday, Monday, 03/01/2022, Kano again played host to the cold hands of death, this time around, on Alhaji Bashir Othman Tofa, the presidential candidate of the National Republican Convention (NRC) on June 12, 1993.
According to a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to PMB, Mallam Garba Shehu, the President described late Bashir Othman Tofa as a true nationalist that would be difficult to replace. “The late Tofa was noted for his untiring commitment to public enlightenment and was unafraid to speak the truth all the time that he lived.
He set up the Bureau for Islamic Propagation, BIP, in the mid-80s that helped to unite Muslim Scholars in the Northern States, narrowing the differences that characterized their relationships. He was, till the end, a patriot to the core. He envisaged a better Nigeria for all. We pray that this dream and collective aspiration and necessary commitment will not go with him. We owe it to his memory and to the nation.”
To show concern, the President dispatched a delegation to Kano, comprising the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, the minister of Water Resources, Sulaiman Adamu, accompanied with the Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media and Publicity), Garba Shehu, and the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris.
However, unlike with the other senior statesmen, Governor Ganduje and the Government of Kano State were conspicuously absent and almost silent on the death of Alhaji Bashir Tofa. Despite the adequate notice given overnight about his death, not a single member of the Ganduje Government was at the funeral, officially. In fact, it was after getting wind about the planned coming of the Presidential delegation, that the Ganduje Government quickly drafted a dry condolence message and rushed to announce it. But not a single member of the Government was officially in attendance at the funeral.
The story circulating is, “Kano State Government officials have shunned Alhaji Bashir Othman Tofa’s funeral prayer today because the deceased was a fierce critic of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje on Kano Emirate Laws that balkanised the old Emirate into five in the state.
Tofa’s argument was that the emirate law was an attempt to destroy the ancient city’s 1000-year-old heritage. He also criticized the governor’s plan to obtain a Chine loan for the light rail project, contending that the project might not be of great importance to Kano residents. The state government’s refusal to attend the deceased’s funeral prayer has fuelled speculation that the government refused to let go off its grudges against the deceased.
The funeral prayer was attended by prominent persons like the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, the former governor of Kano State, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, and the former Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Sabo Nanono.
For whatever reason, with this disrespect for Bashir Tofa, the Government of Kano, under Ganduje has demeaned the status of statesmanship, trivialized prestige, and by so doing, reduced the mightiness of the Governor’s office, as well as opened an additional page for the public to look down on the governor and the government, with clear callousness of course.