Date Published: 10/22/09
Re: The Peculiar Justice of Shekarau Administration By Saka Raji Audu
The word Adalchi is a Hausa language that signifies justice and justice means fairness. It is this quest for fairness and equity that the All Nigerians People's Party (ANPP) adopts Adalchi as its slogan or motto. In Islamic political and economic systems, justice and equity play important role in the life of the people. This is because; a society without justice or fairness cannot witness realistic progress and advancement. So, it is not by coincidence that Kano State, under the practice of the Islamic code of conduct (Shari'ah) emphasizes Adalchi as her guiding principle. It is against this background that Shekarau government, since 2003, abhors the secular principle of robbing Peter to pay Paul.
When Shekarau came to power through highly celebrated popular votes in that year, his government tried and looked into the issue of various injustices perpetrated by the previous administration. Among these denials and injustices by Shekarau predecessor are failures to settle Pensioner's benefits, the sacking of non-indigenes from the state civil service leading to shortage of qualified medical personnel and teachers of science subjects in the state, non-settlement of salaries and allowances of PDP councilors, unlawful demotion, etcetera, etcetera, excetera.
While all of the above injustices were being perpetrated with reckless abandon and impunity by the previous government, no one was bold enough to put up challenges against the odds. This was, perhaps, because the issue of people's freedom of expression was some how limited, restrained and nothing to write about. But as soon as Shekarau administration assumed office in May 2003 with the principle of Adalchi, things began to take proper shape. Shekarau government also began to look into the various injustices and glaring violation of people's legitimate freedom with a view to correct them. It however ensured that all the non-indigenes whose appointments were unlawfully terminated based on ethnic and primordial sentiments were recalled and reinstated.
As a matter of fact, before Shekarau was elected governor, a certain chemistry teacher of a school, an Ibo was sacked by the previous administration because he is not an indigene. Thereafter, there was nobody to teach the subject in the school. When Shekarau came in 2003, he searched for the teacher and brought him back to his job with incentive to perform. Likewise the Pensioners whose pensions were not settled for many years were adequately paid in arrears by Shekarau administration, and since then things have never nosedived. There were other wounds created by previous administration that Shekarau later plastered, nursed and healed to ensure equity, justice and egalitarian society. All these are facts that no one, no matter one's sentiment can dispute or puncture.
It is in view of the foregoing that this write up would debunk and correct some of the sentiments and desperations put forward by one Naseer Kura on behalf of one Bashir Abba Shariff, which rumour has it that he is the in-law of Naseer Kura. The piece under the title, "The Peculiar Justice (Adalchi) of Shekarau Administration" was published in the moribund Desert Herald in its July-August editions. Consequently, one would not have bothered to make this response but for the simple fact that the man, at the centre of the alleged fraud, Bashir Abba Shariff based on which Kura wrote, has also in the Daily Trust of 9 th October 2009 come out openly with an "open letter to Governor Shekarau" about the same issue. This is perhaps; after he had seen failure and futility in the clandestine attempt to alms-twist the government that had properly investigated his issue and well-thought out decision taken, and knowing full well too that he is indeed guilty of the fraudulent offence. Thus, the peculiar justice Naseer Kura so much dwelt on; in his misguided piece against the present government to the detriment of truth is the import of this rejoinder.
I think that when somebody like Naseer Kura talks about justice, he should really mean justice. As I said, justice means fairness when dealing with any situation that involves two sides of a coin. One should not be seen one side of the coin, no matter one's interest. Therefore, hammering on one aspect of an issue at the detriment of the other is not fair. Every issue must be properly looked at, in an informed position no matter the desperation. This is what the real justice or fairness entails. Consequently, in his belated effort to weep sentiment for his in-law before the public, Naseer Kura in his peculiar style of 'justice', hides away some fundamental facts from the public scrutiny, thereby denying the public the right to know the truth about his in-law's involvement in the case of high level fraud perpetuated against the people of Kano State in 1999.
In his usual way of giving dog a bad name in order to hang it, Kura did not tell us so many things in his misguided serialized article. Of course, he did not tell us that the very man he accuses of peculiar justice (Adalchi) was a member of the Committee that reviewed his in-laws case and found him perfectly guilty of high technical fraud of adding zeros in front of a digit. The Shekarau Committee in fairness recommended compulsory retirement in view of the gravity of the offence. But the government of Kwankwaso that later reviewed the matter recommended the dismissal of Bashir Abba Shariff from the civil service, which was carried out to the letter.
In 2002, Shariff and one Abdulmumuni Yelwa went to court to challenge their 1999 dismissal. Contrary to Naseer Kura's argument, the court ruled against the "procedure" adopted by the Kwankwaso Administration in the dismissal of the culprits. But, it is not that Shariff or his accomplish was not guilty of the fraudulent offence. Indeed, they are truly guilty. As a mark of their culpability and to also atone for their sin, there is evidence that Bashir Abba and Yelwa returned N250,000-each representing one quarter or 25% as advance payment of the total amount they looted from the public's money back to the government. Naseer Kura should not have pretended against this fact. If the culprits or their sympathizers deny this, the next rational question is that what this particular sum they paid to the government coffer meant for. Is it for charity?
Kura disclosed that the government appropriately filed its appeal through the court registry, which did not follow it up to its logical conclusion. If this was the case, it would have been wise for Kura's in-law to have pursued his case if he really believed that he was not guilty of the fraud that led to his dismissal. Therefore, abandoning the court for series of meeting his solicitor had entered into, with the agents of appellant should have also been seen by Kura as contempt of court. From Kura's confirmation, it was clear that the state government appealed the court judgment and by hook or crook that the court had not mentioned the appeal, does Kura not see this manipulation as a clear injustice to the state government? In order to adhere strictly to the court judgment, the government under the adalchi leadership of Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau set up a committee that evaluated Bashir Abba issue to conform to the procedure of the court. It should be emphasized here that from the available facts, Shariff and Yelwa are guilty of the fraudulent offence and the punishment for such level of offence as stipulated by the civil service rule is dismissal.
But in order to recover people's money diverted by Shariff and Yelwa and perhaps afford them the rare opportunity to still draw something from their entitlements, a compulsory retirement as against dismissal without any benefit was thought out and executed. In order to achieve this, both Shariff and Yelwa were reinstated to allow the due process of the law as demanded by the court verdict. This gave room to the letter of 18 th July 2005, reinstating the earlier dismissed culprits. With the fulfillment of the court procedure, both Yelwa and Shariff were compulsorily retired from the civil service via a letter dated 28 th July 2005.
One of the duos, Abdulmumuni Yelwa simply complied but the other man, Bashir Abba Shariff appeared funny. Shariff was funny because rather than accept his compulsory retirement as a mark of Adalchi and Mutunchi from Shekarau led government, he was clever by half when after three months of action, Shariff sent in a letter of application dated 12 th October 2005 seeking for voluntary retirement, thereby seeking honour in a matter of dishonour. Is this the kind of peculiar justice (Adalchi) Naseer Kura wants us to understand in his lopsided article? Why must he support a man found culpable of fraudulent practices and who has accepted that he committed the fraud by way of refund of a part in the total sum of people's money diverted and still has the effrontery to request for voluntary retirement when he ought to have been out rightly dismissed? Does this not sound ridiculous and mischievous to Naseer Kura or still; is this not an indictment of integrity against Kura for his bold face defence of a fraudster? I think it would have been good for Kura if he and his in-law realised the Hausa saying that "if mouth has eaten, the eye ought to feel shame". BAKIN DA YACI, IDO ZAI JI KUNYA.
In effect, there was nothing like contempt of court in the matter of Shariff and the government because the procedure the court frowned at in the dismissal of Shariff in 2002 was later corrected in 2003 by Shekarau's Adalchi administration. As for the reinstatement of Abdulmumuni Yelwa, similar justice was given to Bashir Abba Shariff in 2005 after the due process of the law had been followed. Contrary to Naseer Kura's assertion, there was no disparity between the two. Naseer Kura also asked hysterically whether the "government", not the "Civil Service Commission" can retire an officer by a mere resolution. But, can the same Kura differentiate between the "Government" and the "Civil Service Commission?" Aren't they the same?
In spite of the various comments of suspicion among some organs of the government in respect of the court verdict, which Bashir Abba Shariff claims it favoured him, I think there was still good attempt from the same organs of the government particularly, the Directorate of Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption, which Shariff confessed in his "open letter to Governor Shekarau" as being "most straight forward, sympathetic, encouraging, assuaging and assuring" during his meeting of August 22, 2007 in order to clear the backlog of Shariff's over heated issue. But, from the look of things, Shariff would not like to concede to every positive step by the government to help him out of his problem, despite the strong evidence that he actually perpetuated the fraudulent offence against the state.
Perhaps, this is why Shariff now seems to be standing alone in the matter jointly filed with his colleagues, Abdulmumuni Yelwa since Kwankwaso era against the government. From all indications, Shariff is seriously in dilemma. This is because, ironically, the man who faulted him in the committee that investigated and indicted him and his colleagues is now the governor of the state. Therefore, it would sound stupid if Shariff believes that the man who faulted him outside the government will now see him as innocent, at least, being the Chief Security Officer of the state. I therefore suggest that Bashir Abba Shariff should see reason from the right perspective and learn to hold the bull by the horn, rather than leaving the substance and pursuing the chaff. He should have accepted his fate in good faith. If Kura is sympathetic of his in-law's plight, the cost of one page advertisement placed in the Daily trust of 9 th October 2009 about this issue ought to have been used to set up for him a business where he can make legitimate profit.
Naseer Kura should not have wasted his time and energy in the moribund Desert Herald of July and August edition to make use of clever argument to persuade people that something is true when it is really false. Kura used this method hypocritically to over flog issues in order to unjustly seek justice for his in-law. He should therefore understand that his 'battle' against Shekarau government as far as this matter is concerned will be a lost one, and if not already lost.
Naseer Kura cannot simply alms-twist the government to renege from its already well investigated and articulate decision to allow his in-law to cart away what does not belong to him in the name of court verdict that never pronounced him innocent. From the evidence before the public, it is clear that Naseer Kura in his crocodile tears knew that his in-law actually committed the fraudulent offence. If not, why has it taken him this long to address this issue that happened since 1999, passing through the Kwankwaso administration? Perhaps he knew that the then Governor Kwankwaso was convinced of Bashir Abba Shariff deep involvement in the fraud; and knew that the governor wouldn't have been moved by his hypocritical appeal.
If Kura really was convinced that his in-law did not commit the offence, where has he been throughout Shekarau first tenure of four years? Why is it now that Shekarau is at the verge of completing his second tenure that he begins to write thrash and unsubstantiated accusations in a dubious and sentimentally sponsored newspaper- Desert Herald? Methinks that if Kura really has sympathy for his in-law, he ought to have started this correspondence battle since 1999. It is possible that, being aware that Kwankwaso would not be disturbed or cajoled by his sympathetic correspondence battle, he decided to wait for the passage of that administration. If Kura wanted to pursue justice, whether military or civilian regime, justice is justice; he would have been expected to have started since the beginning of the case rather than starting now to deceive people and curry unnecessary favour.
I want Naseer Kura to know that should Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau now acts contrary to his investigated report of 1999; he would have been anti justice (adalchi), which is not in the character of his government. Indeed, what was an act of corruption in 1999 is still corruption in 2009 no matter the colour of language used to paint it. Neither the public nor the government can be stampeded into rescinding from justice by any 'one-man' pressure group called "Basic Rights Action." Therefore, it is advisable for Bashir Abba Shariff and his in-law, Naseer Kura including their sponsors and sympathizers to accept the truth of the matter and plead for forgiveness and leniency from the general public they have defrauded through Shariff, for nothing can deter the political ambition of Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau.
Saka Raji Audu writes from Kano and can be reached on his email:firstname.lastname@example.org