By Ralia Maijama’a
Last Wednesday, the Waziri of Katsina, Professor Sani Abubakar Lugga, tendered his resignation to the Katsina Emirate Council, after receiving a query from the Council regarding his utterances at Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.
The Waziri, Prof Lugga had been to Ilorin on the 14th of February, as a guest speaker at a retreat organized by the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution.
During the presentation of his speech, he spoke about the persistent insecurity in Katsina State.
Bandits and kidnappers terrorize the state on a daily basis and people are killed every day.
He also disclosed how the district heads of eight front-line local governments had moved to the capital, in effect abandoning the sheep.
In these localities, all schools and other institutions were closed.
For these utterances, the prof received a query admonishing him for speaking on sensitive issues without clearance from the Emirate Council, even though he was at the retreat, as a private citizen, not in his capacity as Waziri.
Two things are disturbing about this issue.
One is why community leaders abandon their people in times of distress.
Traditional rulers of the past would either lead the charge in defense of their people.
But, if the enemy is too great for the village heads, they would lead their people to safety by settling them in other areas.
When in desperation Governor Masari advised the citizens of affected areas to take up arms and defend themselves, these district heads should have taken the lead, if only to motivate their people.
It seems the lives of today’s leaders and their immediate families are more precious to them than the lives of the people within their jurisdiction.
It is obvious also that they are not willing to die for, or with, their people.
This is sad and frightening. It is not surprising that many district heads live in the capital cities of their states and have very little or no contact with the locals, who they swore under oath to serve.
Obviously, the attraction of the job is the title, along with all the perks and benefits that go with it.
Invariably, this underscores the hypocrisy and deceit of such leaders.
Their ambition is to serve themselves and not the community and the people.
Any district head that is not willing or ready to reside in his district and do his job full time is not deserving of the title and should be stripped of it.
The practice of honoring undeserving persons with titles or placing people in positions of authority for which, they are not suited needs to stop.
Also, the controversial withdrawal of the Waziri of Katsina is equally disturbing, because it is generally believed that the saga, is related to the recent statements about escalating banditry in the state, as well as the conduct of district heads
The question is: Is it a crime to speak the truth. People are being killed, for crying out loud. Since when has it become a crime to mention the death of innocent people at a public event?
How is it that one needs to be “cleared” before the person can speak the truth about anything?
Why are institutions of power so afraid of the truth?
And what is happening to freedom of speech?
If the people, who are in the know, do not speak out, how would anybody, who could potentially help ever know?
This desperate desire to water down the truth or to make it, either more palatable or less offensive, to certain ears will not augur well for us, as a people and a nation.
It is inimical to human rights, democracy and development of the country.
This is part of the reason, why the nation in general is in a state of decline, at virtually all spheres, especially in the public sector.
Hence the systemic rot keeps deepening, because everyone is afraid to speak out.
Clearly the current slide towards gagging freedom of speech and all forms of dictatorial tendencies in governance, is a recipe for anarchy.
Meanwhile, the calls for thorough investigations about the resignation of Waziri of Katsina would remain recalcitrant, until the truth is unveiled.
- Maijama’a is a member of the Editorial Board of Trumpet Newspapers. Kindly send feedback to email@example.com