By Abdu Labaran Malumfashi
Yes, I am not taking anything away from then Governor, Aminu Bello Masari. Far from it. But the truth of the matter is that Masari was too trusting, if anything. He trusted one of the staff to a fault, that he assigned every thing to that person whether or not that person was in the know of the subject or not. That trusting was so much that the person cherished being referred to as the governor, even though he was not.
In the nearly eight years he was in office, he trusted one person with everything, and the world knew that the person was not to be trusted. Everyone but Masari knew that person was not trustworthy. And that person wanted to be governor at all cost. Hence one of his campaign slogans was ‘the correction of the security architecture in the state’. And he was the Chairman of the Security Committee in the state, which means he knew more than he allowed others to know about himself.
But I called him ‘a failed governortorial aspirant’ for he contested in the Governatorial primary election of the ruling party and lost to the person who is today the Governor. The question begging for answers is ‘what did he know that he was not sharing with the Governor?’ Because he was hiding something from the Governor and the peace loving people of the state, which brings us to the subject of this write up today.
The subject of this write up is the creation by Dr. Dikko Umar Radda, the Governor of Katsina State, of what I call the state’s ‘Rapid Response Squad’ on security, popularly known as the ‘Community Watch Corps’.
The Community Watch Corps has received the people’s acceptance and blessing that they can not talk enough about it. Both academics, politicians, religious leaders, and the man and women (including the housewife) on the street are talking positively about it. And the Corps members are raring to go after the bandits.
The other day, I listened to a ‘question and answer’ session on Radio Katsina, which was repeated two more times. The person on the ‘hot seat’ spoke glowingly about the Corps’ acceptability in the state.
This is a first of its kind in the country and the people have every right to be and feel upbeat about it. Of course, its creator was its leader, which means the Community Corps will have every attention it wants from the government.
Why did I say the Katsina State’s Community Corps was “the first of its kind in the country”? Because all the Governors that were there have a common problem and they promised to take a cue from Katsina State and launch their own community watch corps. The states that graced the launching of the Katsina State community corps three weeks ago include Kano, Jigawa, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi, to name but a few.
The kind already launched in the some Southern parts of the country were specifically targeted at the so-called Hausa/Fulani, because some of their leaders were bold enough to declare their states as ‘Christian States’, meaning the so-called Hausa/Fulani, most of whom are Muslims, were persona non grata in those states.
That is my understanding of those declarations. No leader in the North ever declared his state as an Islamic state. Dr. Radda’s creation in Katsina State was just what the name implies: Community Watch Corps, to takle bandits and their menace and the number of governors that were there testified to the truism of the matter.
And there should be no sacred cows, Mr. Governor. Anybody who commits the offence of banditry or is negatively connected to it (banditry) must face the consequences of his actions. Often, one hears the stories of bandits being arrested only for him to hear that the person is freed by some so-called big shot in one of the urban areas in the country. And this has a devastating psychological effect on the people in the area.
Katsina, Zamfara, Niger and Kaduna are among the most affected States in the country, with Zamfara as the bastion of the menace on account of the vast forest within it, and which provides a hiding place for most of the daring bandits.
Again, from what one hears of the inducement to the bandits activity in the affected areas, it is understood that the reason is the untapped wealth under the ground, and which some unpatriotic leaders would rather have for themselves than to allow the Federal government to take it.
As far as securing the lives and property of the people is concerned, Dr. Radda’s approach must be lauded by every patriotic citizen of the country. No more, no less.
The Katsina State Governor was right in blazing the trails, and in a very short time, the people of the state can sleep with their eyes closed. Hopefully.
Mr. Malumfashi wrote from Abuja.