Yakowa: Kaduna’s Delicate Dance

Posted by Salisu Suleiman on December 17, 2012.

The new governor must strive to balance delicate interests…

Salisu Suleiman.

The tragic death of Governor Patrick Yakowa of Kaduna state on Saturday has brought to the fore once again the delicate balance in majority/ minority politics in Kaduna and other states in Nigeria. Like Kaduna, where barely muted distrust exists between the largely Muslim north and the substantially Christian south, states like Plateau, Gombe, Adamawa, Borno, Benue, Cross River, Taraba, Nasarawa and others also have challenges with majority/ minority politics.

In the case of Kaduna, only the elevation of Mohammed Namadi Sambo from state governor to vice president made it possible for his deputy, Yakowa to become governor of the state. This by itself raises serious concerns about our brand of politics, the concepts of majority and minority, competence in the selection of candidates and the entire electoral process itself.

Based on public service experience, if there ever was a candidate qualified to be governor of Kaduna state, that candidate was Yakowa. He rose to become a director in the federal civil service in key ministries like Water Resources and Defence, was state sole administrator of a political party, commissioner in Kaduna state for several years, federal permanent secretary and minister of solid minerals under Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar.

After retiring as a federal permanent secretary, Yakowa became Secretary to the Kaduna state government, and upon the death of the former Kaduna state deputy governor, took over that position under then Governor Makarfi. Ordinarily, he should have stepped into his boss’s shoes and become governor in 2007, but so timid was minority politics that he hardly bothered to contest the primaries.

After the political abracadabra that brought the then relatively unknown Sambo to Kaduna Government House, Patrick Yakowa was content to remain as deputy governor: That was the limits of his political aspirations, restricted as it were, not by lack of ambition, but the issue of minority and majority politics.
The questions are: what if President Yar’adua had not died? Or what if another of the numerous contenders for the position of vice president had been nominated? That would mean that Yakowa, as qualified as he was – with his far reaching contacts and many Muslim friends in Kaduna and elsewhere across Nigeria would never have become governor, though he had more experience in public administration and governance than his two predecessors in office – Senator Makarfi and Vice President Sambo combined.

When in 2011, Yakowa decided to contest the seat in his own right, the groundswell of opposition was massive. Clearly, the issue was not about his qualification, but about why a candidate from the so-called minority should govern the majority. Though eventually declared winner by INEC and the courts, there were many who believed Yakowa did not legitimately win. The violence that broke out left hundreds of people dead. Today, Muslim refugees from many parts of southern Kaduna have been unable to return home – what is left of their charred homes, that is.

And that, precisely, is the point of this piece. As long as the indemnity of identity – be it ethnic group or religion remain more important than experience and qualification in contesting public office, the kind of mediocrity that is visible in the Presidency and the federal executive council and virtually all public office in Nigeria will continue. As it were, despite many qualified people, southern Kaduna must now be wondering if they will ever produce a governor again, barring unforeseen circumstances.

In Benue state, the Tivs would probably never surrender the governorship to an Idoma no matter how qualified and experienced. This was reflected in 2007 when Mike Onoja, an Idoma with all the right contacts lost the PDP primaries to the relatively inexperienced Gabriel Suswan from the majority Tiv. If the Idomas succeed in getting Apa state, the Igedes would become the minorities in the new state and may never produce a governor. In Taraba state, only the unfortunate plane crash of Governor Suntai paved way for a minority to become acting state governor, pending Suntai’s return.

Similarly, in Adamawa state, religion and ethic group remain key determinants of who gets what, where and how. In Plateau State, no member of the Muslim minority has managed to become even a jobless deputy governor. The highest elected office grudgingly conceded to them is that of deputy speaker of the State House of Assembly. Even in relatively cosmopolitan and homogeneous Ogun state, disputes exist between the Egbas and the Ijebus. In Cross River state, Ogoja people feel neglected. In Kogi, tensions exist between Igalas and Igbira.

In essence, at a time when Nigeria should be electing its best people to strategic positions, too many states and local government areas in the country remain bogged down by the politics of balancing ethnic and religious interests. Thus, competence, capacity, qualification, experience, honesty and other considerations that should determine a candidate’s eligibility and electability are relegated to the background.

In the final analysis, this is a time when Kaduna, like other states battling with majority/ minority agitations should reach out to all groups to forge a consensus. This is a sombre, delicate dance that the new leadership must do in order to rebuild trust and togetherness.

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44 Responses to Yakowa: Kaduna’s Delicate Dance

  1. wole martins

    December 17, 2012 at 13:27

    My brother Almight God will bless u for dis piece, i never gud hearted 9ja are still around, when i see one am always elated. It is in evry part of 9ja dat is y our country dat is richly bless refuse to develop. Can u imagine, i read dat sm muslim in Kaduna were jubilatin on Yakowa’s death, short sighted ppl. I pray dat God will deliver our nation frm dis evil.

    • Mafar_ka

      December 17, 2012 at 14:42

      I can’t imagine that people became jubilant in Kaduna because their Governor from the minority tribe died in a crash. I cannot also imagine people were jubilant in other parts of Nigeria when Tafawa Balewa and Sardauna were killed. It also baffled me the kind of joy expressed by many in the South when Abacha and ‘Yar Aduwa died. Everything in Nigeria is reduced to tribalism, religion or ethnicity, even celebration of death. It’s sad.

      • Segun Olu

        December 17, 2012 at 22:51

        Southerners did not rejoice over the death of our great leader, Late President Yar’Ardua. He was a great leader whom we believed would have moved nigeria faster towards unity and development. He was well loved. May his sould rest in perfect peace. As for Ahamdu Bello and Tafawa Balewa, most southerners loved them and we still love them. As for Abacha, hum hum hummmmmm.

    • tega

      December 17, 2012 at 22:17

      the experiment continues even to future generations. we are so wicked and callous.

      we can blame the americans and british for all our woes (we are the architect of all the mess).

      we stinks as a people.

      those who mean well; we kill them, those who are bad refuse to die!

      every bodies eyes and ears will open like an antenna for two weeks and its all over; then we wait for the result from another experiment in the making.

  2. rambo

    December 17, 2012 at 13:37

    The person who wrote this pieace is either delibrately or out of negligence being one sided in his story about the kaduna crises. Who ever said that it was only the muslims in south that were displaced lied. And as a matter of fact don’t forget that the people who stated the problem are people who believed that a minor should not rule. And that person was definately not from the south.

    • saylor

      December 17, 2012 at 17:35

      Read the article very well please.

  3. Offor Honest

    December 17, 2012 at 13:56

    This article is excellent and on point. It is unfortunate that competence is considered least in Nigeria’s politics. Ethnicity, religion, godfatherism and deep pocket comes first instead of merit. As long as we continue to place sentiment above reason in our leadership recruitment process, we will continue to have poor leaders with little or no idea about leadership. Sad! Nice piece Sir.

  4. Rabiu I. Muhammad

    December 17, 2012 at 14:42

    Absolutely,its unfortunate.The earlier we come into terms with these realities the better.

  5. Lugard

    December 17, 2012 at 14:50

    Today, Muslim refugees from many parts of southern Kaduna have been unable to return home – what is left of their charred homes, that is.

    with the above statement, this writer has become a judge in a case he has vested interest. he has shown that he lacked the moral right to open a discourse of this nature. one need to read in between the lines to realize that put simply, the writer do not see any reason why people of minority ethnic or religious background should aspire to lead those of ethnic n religious majority

    • Abdullahi Adamu

      December 17, 2012 at 15:36

      You have missed d substance of this write-up. By d way, come to Kaduna Hajj Transit camp and see what he is talking about.

      • blunt truth

        December 17, 2012 at 22:15

        So the fact that the hajj camp is full is enough reason for your kind to jubilate at the death of the governor…Idiot like you.. What of the christains that have lost their lives in senseless killing in the because a few of you vermins are reaping what you have been sowing in the lives of others,you fools are now crying foul abi…I pray to god to replace your myopic mind with an objective one.

  6. Sani

    December 17, 2012 at 15:04

    Yes it is true, it is the absolute true. unless and until we do away with the issues like tribalism, religion, Ethnic, godfatherism etc. than we can start smelling what is called development in Nigeria otherwise we have to remain like that with the a lot of problems like Insecurity, unemployment, poor educational system. etc…..

  7. orji nnene

    December 17, 2012 at 15:30

    Excellent piece! But truth is; is not just in politics that competence and experience is neglected in placing people in position. Even as small as market unions and trade unions. This attitude has eaten to deep into the Nigerian system and it will only take God to help us out.

  8. Idris

    December 17, 2012 at 15:42

    Unfortunately Politics is not Necessarily based on competence but on Majority.

  9. Joddi

    December 17, 2012 at 15:50

    The writer is right on the reality but its just that he needed to end the part which he said Muslims from the southern part… … with Christains that their homes and property were burnt migrated from the northern part of kaduna to their various state of origin and Christain dominated areas in the south for safety or were able to secure for themselves better accomodation due to Church intervention. He would have balanced it. But as a writer, we create unknown room for critics to open our eyes the more.

  10. Accurate

    December 17, 2012 at 16:37

    I remain silent, we all know the right thing.So let’s do it.the current politics going on in Nigeria;” ϺaƔ God help Us”, Neva say a word again, keep praying.

  11. Victor ubandoma

    December 17, 2012 at 16:41

    The worse of all is when reilgious organisation take side. When bormb rock jaji and the two General were replaced JNI said that the replacement were base on religious difference. Another saga was when the IG was selected, it back a comment from CAN. So professionism in Nigeria is out of the question my brother. If CAN and JNI are into this politics of religion and decide who is place here or there then who will pray for God(Allah) for intervention?

  12. blunt truth

    December 17, 2012 at 17:31

    Salisu suleiman! yhis your piece is meant to misguide people who do not leave in kaduna. Kaduna’s politics is not divided along ethnic line, it is rather divided along religious line, and along those lines it is 50 50.


    December 17, 2012 at 17:35

    A well written piece which denote d mental attributes of ‘HELPLESS NIGERIA’; In GOD we seek 4 a “ROAD MAP”.

  14. blunt truth

    December 17, 2012 at 18:05

    And with the alarming birth rate in the hausa community,these problems with other ethnic groups are no doubt going to escalate in state like. Taraba, kwara as well as jos..this is just the begining….the best thing that could happen to nigeria is to heed to the agitations of boko haram (hausa/fulani) for their own this would spare the rest of progressive nigerians the future problems the vermins are definately going to create….and to all of you stupid arrogant vermins who would be quick to defend ur foolish poeple by replying my comment, go to blazes…stupid fools! Jubilating over the death of a man who was nicer to you people than he was to his fellow christains…you poeple will continue to pay for your transgression with the poverty that god has made your portion.

    • Basba

      December 17, 2012 at 19:28

      Silence is best answer to fool!

    • Dan.

      December 17, 2012 at 20:53

      Empty skull, words like this can only come frm animals like you. Jobless idiot!

    • Liberal

      December 18, 2012 at 16:34

      Keep displaying your ignorance, foolish loner.

  15. adegboye babatunde

    December 17, 2012 at 18:59

    The problem of the majority versus the minority does not exist in Osun state. We have various people from different walks of life and the corners of the state ruling.Let the state that have ethnic,cultural and religious issues,solve their problems. Competency should not be slaughter on the platter of any thing.

    • yankoman

      December 18, 2012 at 03:36

      U r right my bro, it doesn’t exist in osun, for we in osun are God fearing with responsible upbringing… I don’t blame d tribalistic ones they will never grow for it’s a curse placed on them by their kinsmen.

  16. Akinwale Akinsanmi

    December 17, 2012 at 20:36

    If you know the calamity that happened in Kaduna South during the protest against the result of last election, you will weep for Nigeria. People that have lived together for years were slaughtered by their neighbors, their house demolished (not just burned). Survivors know neighbors who killed their families and neighbors who provided safety. No one have been punished for this atrocities, which will encourage others to do same in future. Go to the Hajj camp and see refugees that cannot go home because how can you live in security beside someone who killed your relative and destroyed your home?

  17. becks

    December 17, 2012 at 21:06

    @Blunt Truth!
    Did u see your life now? You are d kind of bigots this writer was talking about, tribalistic and religious sentiments. Your kinds are the problem with Nigeria, You will die but Nigeria will survive irespective of ethnic or religion. One Nigeria-Long Live Nigeria

  18. Bashir

    December 17, 2012 at 21:39

    I do not agree with the writer that ethnicity, tribalism and other primordial sentiments play vital role on ly in Nigeria instead of competence. This is a natural fact everywhere in the world at varying degrees. He failed to give examples of where such is missing. just take the case of America where Obama was given all names( Osama, a Muslim, etc). It was said that he was not born in America(indigenship issue) and lots more. In fact, statistics shows that about 95% of African-Americans voted Obama followed by coloured while Romney was voted mainly by the whites in the last election.

  19. A.C

    December 17, 2012 at 21:44

    It is disheartening to hear that some unscrupulous elements were dancing at news of Yakowa’s death. This is gross insensitivity against humanity and outrageous. The fact, remains that KD may never have any Governor like Yakowa. So, stop being religious by-goats and sychophants… Better ask 4 forgiveness.

  20. blunt truth

    December 17, 2012 at 21:55

    Why have the ahmeds, umars and sanis turned their names to becks, dan and basba…no group of people are more sensless than ur kind in nigeria.. The fact is that the rest of nigeria have been putting up with the excesses of you fools…but time seems to have changed nothing about you fools..and for you imhecile calling me a tribalistic person,,, I am just employing the mirror effects…the fact that everybody tries to show you love and you people always reciprocate with hate is the most annoying part of, I am giing you a dose of what you fools dish out to. “ARNES” if hating hausa’s is a sin, then I am going to be a sinner for the rest of my life..FOOOLS ..NOTE;;;;I have live amongs your type long enough to Know every bit of foolishness that you represent.

  21. sam

    December 18, 2012 at 00:26

    There’s more to all this, just pray for the country Nigeria, for the eyes no fit see beyond their fore sights, so also the mind can not object or accept the tots of another. To glitter, we must burn…minorities,majorities,religious,ethnic or not..a good heart is a good heart as a bad one is Bad.all this happenings are our individual faults..wwe need to look down deep into our souls.and pray!!!!!!!

  22. Kay-Kay

    December 18, 2012 at 02:55

    @ Blunt truth. Take it easy my brother. I know exactly what you are talking about.Sometimes, we cannot really blame these people, but their leaders who teach them to hate other tribes.

    If a back man could become American president and won re-election amidst of staunch opposition, Nigeria, we will get there. But we must start now.

    I am very optimistic that Nigeria will be great again.

  23. Kay-Kay

    December 18, 2012 at 02:57

    @ Blunt truth. Take it easy my brother. I know exactly what you are talking about.Sometimes, we cannot really blame these people, but their leaders who teach them to hate other tribes.

    If a black man could become American president and won re-election amidst of staunch opposition, Nigeria, we will get there. But we must start now.

    I am very optimistic that Nigeria will be great again.

  24. yankoman

    December 18, 2012 at 03:21

    My broda, this is so sadden and such act can never help a nation move forward…. I do not know why some people have such myopic mind.. We need to stop this tribalism of a thing if we want our nation to move forward. Let’s stop beign tribalistic.

  25. Ahmed sani

    December 18, 2012 at 05:57

    Wats d difference between those who celebrated yakawos death now and those who celebrated yar’aduas death then

  26. Ahmed sani

    December 18, 2012 at 06:13

    Blunt truth or wat do u call urself,it is sad dat u are very backword nd primitive..wen d intelegensia are positive and meaningful opinions u are depictin d fool u ar..u are proudin urself in deprecatin terms in respect to which slave is ur equal nd the jackal infinately ur superior..u cudnt even tell us ur name so dat we can knw d kind of stupid name u have bt its obvious u have no nt even sure u know d true meanin of pride,as a matter of factly ur life is nothin more than a pile of a rotten rubbish.filthy animal

  27. bgee

    December 18, 2012 at 07:58

    I think kay kay has a point regardless of what u ‘ve described him. I think the rift between the Tivs and Idoma is purely political and not religious a distinct scenario from kaduna politics. Imagine the brutality and killings that was done all in the name that an ar’ne won election. I don’t think d so called PDP in nigeria is a political party for christians alone. Yakowa is gone and finaLly the minority south will at list breath some fresh air since power has gone to where it belongs.

  28. BKM

    December 18, 2012 at 10:01

    Nigerians! a’ah!! must we carry our hatred and divisions to online pages. Concerned pple are making an effort to think alike and positive you some of you are fuelling the fire of discord.
    Now to clarify some pointsd to this writeup. The post election crises in KD was after the presidential elections and then curfew was enforced and the gubernatorial elections the week after were done the PDP way.
    Yakowa as a person was definitely a good man but a victim of many vested interests. Blunt truth, you are a sharp lie. You breathe in hatred and breath out venom and the toxicity of that will lead to ur demise. It is wrong to hate anybody so intensely it will only destroy you. People like you discourage us to drean of a new nigeria.

  29. blunt truth

    December 18, 2012 at 11:35

    BKM..I have never in my life shown hatred to any group of poeple,,not even after I wittnessed a hausa man pull the bow that killed my mother in 99.. But lately I was thinking out side the box and I realized that the fact that christains always reciprocate hate with love has become the greatest treat to our existence as we live along side “brothers” who are looking for every opportunity they get to kill you..if you have witnessed this people in their acts of violence then you will know what I am saying.they are always more horrendous than what happend in ALU question is, what hopes do we have for a future where we will leave in peace,when the adversary knows nothing like peace in his dictionary..or is it their youths who are taught to see christains as “ARNES” from as early as the ages of 7 to 8 that will fix this mess? Most times,our refusal to call black, black is the reason why we always move around in circles in this country..

  30. kiko

    December 18, 2012 at 13:31

    May their soul rest in peace

  31. Ishaq Musa

    December 19, 2012 at 08:13

    I am educated enough to see things in a critical perspective, I dont participate in tribal, religious or regional discussions. I am human and Nigerian, I have respect for all human irrespective of his race, tribe, religion, or region. My education made
    me to understand human are the same, as
    you can find bad people in the North so also you can find similar bad people in the south or west. Just as there are bad Muslims so also
    there are bad christian. We are all human, i
    believe in intellectual discussion, that can add
    value to my understanding of my own
    moment. I cannot be allowed to be purchased
    by tribal or religious inclination or bigot. I
    mate very nice and humble southerners so
    also very bad and dangerous once. I came
    across very good Northerners, so also very
    bad Northerners. The problems of Nigeria is
    corruption, and the way Muslims are corrupt
    is the same way a Christians are corrupt. What
    is happening in Nigeria is cycle of looters,
    using uneducated among us to protect their
    looting through tribal and religious
    differences. The same corruption in Yaadua
    government is found in Jonathan
    government, the same corruption in Obasanjo
    government is found in Babangida
    government. Why should i become illiterates
    of my moment and start pointing fingers on
    southerner or westerner or Northerner, while
    a know my looters are the MAIN PROBLEM and
    they look the same. Why should i start
    fighting Christians or Muslims while i know
    my looters are the same. It is high time for the
    youth to stop these under development
    mentality of tribalism and religious bigot and
    start asking for good governance and
    performance. The president of China is not a
    Hausa man, neither Yoruba or Igbo to make
    China the greatness country in the World. The
    president of India to day is neither a Muslims
    nor a christian to make India what it is
    today.The youth in Libya are face booking for
    revolution While Nigerian youth are face
    booking for tribal abuses, the people of Cairo
    are using face book to demand for good
    governance and accountability, while the
    youth in Nigeria are using face book for tribal
    and religious abuses. Who Will change the
    country for us, our differences should have
    been an opportunity for us to make our
    country great, but unfortunate, the common
    man who is a victims of political corruption is
    the one at the war front of tribalism.

    • blunt truth

      December 19, 2012 at 15:36

      Mallam ishaq musa, we have bad people all over the world,even we the “uneducated” know that. The question is, aside from the crises in jos where hostilities between the waring faction is mutual, where else have you ever heard of acts of violence against you hausa’s because of the fact that you are muslims? Have you ever heard of tales in the south were mosque were burnt down. Where have you ever witnessed a known christain cleric dedicating website to incite violence against “AR’NES”..The fact is, the orchestrated political situation in the north today is empasizing a simple message,and that message is that whatever hopes non muslims in the north have for peace are only illusions. You said it yourself that our problems are looters, why have ur brothers not being able to understand the fact that they and the christains they maim are facing a common enemy..the fact is no matter how good and detribalized you poeple try to present urself, you always still have an unhealthy degree of hate towards non hausas and “Ar’nes”. Those of us in the north are well aware of the fact that, possesing a degree of hate is a principal quality you must posses if you aspire to lead in most hausa communities, these fact is glaring for all to see. And when we who have fallen victim complain, you poeple are always fast to defend your these henios acts by creating the picture that we are “uneducated” and” barbaric”. Please be objective. If the tables were turned around,and you lost loved ones to these sensless acts, how would you react?

  32. Amin s fulani

    December 20, 2012 at 10:37

    Let me say this at the risk of repeating myself, Late Gov. Yakowa was a decent and hardworking leader, He’s somebody I consider pious among the Christian compatriots. I wrote some recommendable words about him on my facebook wall a day after his death, And that generated insulting reactions from friends upon why should I issued such statements to Christian, And also when I followed link posted by Vanguard newspaper I couldn’t believed some comments posted by Christians brothers/sisters insulting Islam and Muslims, reason? just because Gov.Yero had been sworn inn as a new Governor of kaduna state after 24 hours death of his former boss. And think Nigerians needs look beyond religion,ethinicity and language, They jst need to grow !!!

  33. Maryam

    December 22, 2012 at 14:15

    Blunt truth you can’t afford a better name, I hail You Gaskiya so keep d spirit burning cos Truth is bitter, I urge u to keep preaching it cos it will make sense someday as Rome aint built in a Day! God bless u & deir negative prayers against shall falll on deef ears•