Monday, 13 July 2015

Senator Shehu Sani: Awakening Aminu Kano?

Senator Shehu Sani: Awakening Aminu Kano?
Last week, Comrade Shehu Sani, senator representing Kaduna central senatorial district, paid a visit to the northern commercial city of Kano to see the families of some eminent politicians who straddled the first and second republic politics of northern Nigeria. They are all no longer with us. They are Mallam Aminu Kano, who was the ideologue of the politics of the masses, Talakawa; Alh Sabo Bakinzo, a major partner of Aminu Kano and himself a second republic governor of the old Kano state who was ousted on December 31, 1983, by the coup that ushered in the twenty-month rule of Gen Muhammadu Buhari; and then Mallam Mudi Spikin, also a major player in the progressive Talakawa politics.
During the visit, the Senator conferred with the families of the three deceased political leaders generally in solidarity and offering his goodwill. It was interesting to hear the voice of the widow of Mallam Aminu Kano in the report as broadcast on radio but all of that is not quite the reason for this piece today.
The question one may ask is “why is Shehu Sani making a visit to families of politicians in Kano and what does he stand to gain given that he only represents a constituency in Kaduna state? Or does he harbor some yet to be known political ambitions beyond being a senator?” Sure enough, these questions may not be out of place, after all one has heard various opinions on the person, or politics, of Shehu Sani, rightly or wrongly, as one who knows very well how to make capital of any occasion that presents in order to boost his profile nationally and internationally. These opinions have been around for quite a while. Recall that it was Comrade Shehu Sani, through his NGO – Civil Rights Congress – that first called for investigations by the Nigerian government into the circumstances that led to the death of Muhammad Yusuf in 2009, the leader of the Boko Haram who, it turned out, was slain in police custody.  That gesture would turn out to warm him up to elements in the group, as he himself would later suggest, to the extent that he would be able to broker the famed meeting between them and former President Olusegun Obasanjo to possibly mediate for possible peace during the early days of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Some people saw all of that on the part of Shehu Sani as nothing but the usual grandstanding that he and rights activist like him, probably all over the world, are known for. For me, a particular event in 2014 seemed to lend some wind to the sails of this perception. The government of Kaduna state passed a law banning the use motorbikes, popularly known as Okada, for commuter transport services in major cities in the state because of the security situation and the safety risk and traffic nuisance they had come to constitute. Shehu Sani and his Civil Rights Congress took the case up for the Okada riders as a rights violation issue and even went to court against the state government. I don’t know how the case ended. But to my mind, I thought that the case for the ban of Okada was self-evident and contesting it would suggest some modicum opportunism.
But a more reflective look at the senator’s visit, in my opinion, reveals a very profound significance that I think Nigerians, and particularly the north, must not miss. Comrade Shehu Sani has presented as a progressive and a pro-masses activist turned politician. He has in fact earned the moniker of “Jagoran Talakawa” – The Masses’ Leader - for himself. Mallam Aminu Kano, along with his cohorts, is the first known progressive from the north, as noted above, under his party Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU) which later mutated into the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) in the second republic on whose platform he ran for president in 1979.
For me, Aminu Kano was the first and truest nationalist of his time to emerge from the north. He it was who extended a hand of friendship and alliance across the Niger to Azikiwe’s NCNC in the first republic. His and his party’s interest was simply the uplifting of the Nigerian masses, the Talakawas. He stood up against the northern feudal and elitist interests in the pursuit of the cause he believed in. Probably, if his vision had been vigourously pursued by the north, the lot of her teeming population would have been far better than what obtains today.
It is against this backdrop, therefore, that comrade Shehu Sani’s visit becomes profound. This is a nation that has paid no heed to, or even destroyed, its history. But the truth is that no nation makes any meaningful progress without memory. The Senator has resurrected a certain memory that the north and the nation at large could use in this journey or nationhood. He has reaffirmed that he is progressive and for the Talakawa by this significant gesture of invoking the kindred spirits of Mallam Aminu Kano, Sabo Bakinzo and Musa Spikin. He has shown us in no unclear terms the interests of whom he will represent in the senate. We shall watch him. He must stay faithful, loyal and honest.

BLUEPRINT Newspaper; Thur July 9, 2015; p3

1 comment:

  1. His visit may not be unconnected to the fact that they share similar political value....Jogoran Talakawa...