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Ghali Na'Abba: A New Generational Political Merchant by Musa Ilallah




For the avoidance of doubt, Honourable Ghali Umar Na’Abba from Municipal federal constituency of Kano state was the speaker of the House of Representatives during the 1999-2003 legislative years. He was elected to lead the lower chamber of the national assembly following the ‘stepping aside’ of Speaker Salisu Buhari in late 1999. Before that time no one knows who Na’Abba was. Not even hundreds of thousands of people from his Municipal constituency.

But as fate would have it, Na’Abba coming from a passive participation of legislative duties, however seized the moment and began to assert his position as the house’s leader among equals. He began to assert the independence of the house as an extension of the legislative arm of government.

But having watched Obasanjo’s actions and his tendency to pocket the leadership of the national assembly so that they can dance to his tunes all the times, Na’Abba resolved in him that he cannot be pocketed just like that. So he began to show Obasanjo ‘pepper’ and do things completely opposite his wishes. Then Obasanjo convinced that he was in hell should Na’Abba continue to preside over the affairs of the house, recruited his ‘boys’ to as quickly as possible make concrete and specific moves to impeach him from office and replace him with an ‘OBJ loyalist’. That plan continues without success until Na’Abba’s tenure lapsed in April 2003. That success was largely due to Na’Abba’s stubbornness, doggedness and moderate life style.

Na’Abba’s attempt to come back to the house was frustrated in 2003 by Obasanjo ably assisted, planned and financed by one of his ‘boys’, then Governor of Kano state, Rabiu M. Kwankwaso. Na’Abba could not secure his party’s ticket to fly the PDP flag and was thus defeated at the party’s primaries. That has finally pitched him against his party, the PDP.

He therefore abandoned PDP and joined the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s party, Action Congress; AC. Na’Abba indicated his interest to contest Kano governorship under the umbrella of his party, AC. As is the practice anywhere, he consulted his political godfather and one of the founding members of the PDP and AC, Muhammad A. Rimi. Rimi told Na’Abba point blank that the Kano people are opposed to his aspiration because of his arrogance and so advised him to shelve his plan. True to type, Na’Abba snubbed Rimi and went to town with stories that Rimi had denied him his right to aspire to the highest office in the state.

Shortly after, Na’Abba was seeing to be working against the interest of the AC in the state at all levels. But at the national level, he fraternized with Atiku Abubakar obviously with the intention of getting all the monies he can get since indications are that he is now broke and was desperately looking for manna from heaven. Indications are that Na’Abba has metamorphosed from being a politician of substance, merit and honour to one who is desperately looking for any way to chop from.  He is now a cash and carry politician out to reap where he did not sow.

One can confidently say that Na’Abba has transformed from being a politician with a lot of hope and opportunities waiting for him at the corner to one who is all out to make a life time fortune. To say that NaA’bba has lost focus and is now on a mission to make money at all costs is an understatement.  Now all these have gone because of his greed and lust for money. Today, Na’Abba has to the conclusion of most Kano people in particular and Nigerians in general joined the league of merchant politicians. Some others say Na’Abba is just a 419ner as he goes about collecting money from political associates under the guise of ‘my business is getting down’. Others say he has become beggarly living from hand to mouth.

Nigerians are therefore not surprised that Na’Abba has now gotten a new godfather in the name of Yar’adua thus speaking good about him in the Nigerian press recently so that he can be offered a job to ‘ chop and chop.’

One only hopes that President Yar’adua has fully understood the Na’Abba game plan by paying him a courtesy call and offering himself to him to serve in any position that Yar’adua deems fit to appoint him into. If not for personal gains, why should a politician who wants to move the country forward offer himself to a party he had worked against during the April last elections.

It is therefore right to say that Na’Abba is a politician who has thrown morals and conscience to the dogs in pursuit of immoral survival instinct. He is no longer a politician of substance. And that informed his decision to return to the PDP.

I have the feeling that Na’Abba, if his antecedents are anything to go by, lacks any political value. He is not a politician that is worth being called an asset. Rather, he has all along being a liability to the party, elders, associates and the government. His coming to the national political scene was just by chance and not by qualification. His constituents normally say Na’Abba cannot even win a councillorship election in his local government area now.

His return to PDP is just a smokescreen. Sooner or later the party will discover that he is not worth coming back to its fold. Na’Abba’s true colour will soon come to light and if Yar’adua does not offer him anything to ‘chop’ from, he will look elsewhere.

Na’Abba is one more Nigerian politician whose motto is not to serve the people but to defraud them. He is not by any assessment, a principled politician.



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