Date Published: 11/24/09
Power Game: Minister, District Head Clash over Imam By Maliki Salaudeen
When a man’s knowledge is not in order, the move of it he has, the greater will be his confusion of thought …. Herbert Spencer .
The last may not have been heard about the legion of controversies that have engulfed the political profile of Dr. Aliyu Idi Hong, the Minister of State in the Federal Ministry of Health. Putrid news oozing out of the portals of the Ministry and his adopted community, Hong LGA has inadvertently adorned his long chain of critics with the garb of clairvoyance.
Dr, Aliyu who will mark his official 42 nd birthday anniversary next month, until his wuru wuru appointment as a member of Federal Cabinet in 2007, courtesy of General Obasanjo, was simply an unknown quantity hibernating in his mother’s hometown Hong and Yola, the Adamawa state capital. General Obasanjo, Nigeria’s former president in his characteristic manner to compensate the incumbent Adamawa governor, Murtala Nyako, who sold his Bare farms’ located on the Plateau to the former, for the sum of 2.5 million dollars, arm-twisted president Umaru Yar’Adua into allowing Dr. Hong’s appointment, contrary the present administration’s adherence to the fulcrum of due process.
This underhand deal was primarily to placate Senator Jubril Aminu, Dr. Aliyu Hong’s principal, ostensibly for ditching away from relevance, Atiku Abubakar the immediate past Veepee’s political sojourn from Adamawa’s landscape in the wake of the 2007 general elections.
While the burgeoning cloud of controversy that enveloped his (Dr. Hong’s) appointment is still simmering, the young man commenced his dance on the wrong note. This time, he tried to stir the hornet’s nest of some selected District Heads from his immediate community in Hong LGA. The guy always conscious of his over bloated ego, is fond of accusing some of these District Heads of disloyalty to his authority as a minister on some issues. One fateful day he blackmailed a District Head (name withheld) to his cronies, for the latter’s alleged loyalty to the Action Congress against his person and the state’s ruling PDP. This information filtered to the ears of the accused District Head who felt bad about it. The last straw that broke the camel’s back was when the minister openly embarrassed the traditional ruler by uttering their perceived differences in political camps. Even before this incident according to my source, Dr. Hong has never paid homage to the District Head, but rather to the former Chief Imam of the Community’s Central Mosque. Consequent upon these misunderstanding, both camps of the Minister and the District Head were enraged. To compound issues, the Chief Imam which I gathered is the minister’s crony, does not give regard to the District Head either, most especially that Dr. Hong is an appointee in the Federal Cabinet. On hearing this, loyalists of the District Head both at home and in the Diaspora met and advised that the Chief Imam should be relieved of his post to serve as deterrent to others who may in the future, attempt to tamper with the District Head’s authority. As you are reading this piece, Dr. Hong’s crony and former Chief Imam in his community has already been removed and replaced with a more loyal person to the District Head. What a Power Game indeed.
Since this episode, the minister I gathered when I visited the area recently has remained unfriendly to almost everybody based on this issue. His over bloated ego seem to have been bruised by people he consider harmless in the first place. His posture of being haughty and impervious to religious leaders and other leaders of thought from the community is gradually giving way.
Perhaps what beats the imagination of people from Dr. Hong’s immediate community is that barely two and half years after his elevation to this juicy office, he had nothing to show in terms of dividends of democracy. Instead, he has only allowed himself to be overwhelmed by corrupt tendencies, personal and unfounded sentiments and vendetta. His actions and comments have finally exposed his despondency and desperation, as if he is oblivious of the circumstances surrounding his emergence as a minister through cunning and diabolical means. But for those of us familiar with the unbecoming dimension of the goings on, the boy boy minister has to be reminded, that his stewardship so far, can best be described as the imposition of Armageddon on the good people of Adamawa state and Hong LGA in particular. For instead of bread, he has given his people stone- poverty and enriched himself with public funds.
This is exemplified by reports of financial misappropriation and self enrichment from public funds to the tune of N300 million, separately published by a national newsmagazine NATIONAL WAVES and THE PREMIER newspaper. Specifically, THE PREMIER newspapers cover story dated November 17-23, 2009 captioned it “Dr. Aliyu Idi Hong bought a mansion worth N300m, paid in cash”. While the National Waves Magazine described the property location being sited at Utako opposite DOXA PLAZA, the Premier informed readers that “an informed source revealed to it that the minister allegedly embezzled the money donated by UNICEF to the northern states for the eradication of polio in the region”. It added that the money totally 1.85 million dollars, which was meant for the nutritional upgrading of children in that part of the country developed wings.
Although Dr. Hong does not drink and womanize recklessly, like his appointee, Ibrahim Gayus, the Hong LG chairman, but the minister’s recent burning desire to surround himself with free women out of wedlock is his major undoing.
It is against this background that, his legal wife recently threatened to call it quits to the marriage, following her husband’s neglect. According to people close to the family, the minister’s wife , who is in her late 20’s with only two kids, has persistently lamented over her husband’s neglect. That she is more or less playing the role of a house girl, as the minister do not consider her as his wife, most especially since he grabbed this juicy appointment. Though the minister has traveled far and wide, I understand, his wife has not traveled even to Lagos and not to talk of going outside the shores of the country like her counterparts. On this issue, the women feel cheated. Currently, Dr. Hong is alleged to have traveled to Saudi Arabia with some of his female friends to perform this year’s Holy Pilgrimage while his bonafide wife is permanently stationed in the kitchen in Abuja.
Maliki Salaudeen is of the Network for Good Governance based in Yola