Thursday, May 19, 2011

Adamawa Emirate under Lamido Barkindo

A year ago, Lamido Dr. Muhammad Barkindo Aliyu Musdafa stepped into the big shoes left by his late father- Lamido Dr. Aliyu Musdafa- a man who left a cherished legacy. For the nearly six decades he steered Adamawa Emirate, he brought new approaches to the way the Emirate was administered; promoted harmony among his heterogeneous subjects and brought more respect to the 200 year old Emirate.

Today, it is more than a year, after His Royal Highness, Dr. Muhammad Barkindo Aliyu Musdafa was turbaned as Lamido Adamawa. What is his rating among his subjects? What are his styles of leadership? Are there signs that he is following the footsteps and teachings of his late father? Though, historians and the Lamido himself accepted that, to emulate great men like late Lamido Aliyu Musdafa is a herculean task. But princes worth their salts, all the time, emulate and follow the good footsteps of their fathers- kings.

In May 1980, Lamido Dr. Muhammadu Barkindo Aliyu Musdafa was turbaned as Ciroma Adamawa (one who oversees natural resources and veterinary cases of the Emirate), by his late father. His ascension to that position at the age of 36, was a clear sign of the confidence posed in him by his late father; the Adamawa Emirate and the entire Adamawa people. It was also a sign of being purposefully positioned to lead the Emirate.

The citizens of Adamawa Emirate see Lamido Dr. Muhammadu Barkindo Aliyu Mustafa as a modern Emir that understands the difference between passion for excellence and that for power. He was once quoted to have said: “traditional titles are not for sale and would be given only to worthy candidates based on recommendations of the Emirate's king makers”. As providence will have it, Lamido Dr. Muhammadu Barkindo Aliyu Mustafa was chosen as the 12th Lamido of Adamawa, based on his natural character as a great leader; his visible achievements in life and contributions to the development of Adamawa state.

Lamido Barkindo was born in Yola in February 1944. He attended Barewa College, Zaria and later Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where he obtained a Diploma in Law in 1969. He also attended North London Polytechnic (1973–1975) and St Clements University in the Turks and Caicos Islands (2000–2002). He worked with the Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Port Authority and the National Freight Company. He was appointed Commissioner for Works and later a Commissioner for Animal Health in the former Gongola State. The Lamido was a Director at the National Engineering and Technical Company (1991–1993), Chairman of Sterling Civil Engineering Nigeria Limited (1991–2003) and Chairman of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (2003–2005).

His Father, Late Lamido Dr Aliyu Mustafa, was a man for all- irrespective of ethnic, religious, educational or social background. He brought dynamism into the Emirate, which was founded in 1806, by Modibbo Adama bin Ardo Hassana, a disciple of Othman Danfodio.

Lamido Dr. Muhammadu Barkindo Aliyu Mustafa is doggedly following the footsteps of his father and showing signs that he has learnt a lot from his closeness to him. His regular interaction with his subjects and excellent community development initiatives are worth appreciating.

The recent appointment he made into the traditional council was a sign of his intelligent decision making ability. Just like his father will do, the individuals who got the traditional tittles cut across borders.The Lamido never compromises merit, as well as contribution to the society. Those he appointed were: Senator Bello Tukur- Sarki Yaki Adamawa, Mr. James Barka, the speaker Adamawa State House of Assembly, as Magatakarda Adamawa; Dr. Sanusi Barkindo, former GMD of the NNPC- Wali Adamawa; Mr. Kobis Ari Thimnu, the Secretary to the Adamawa State Government as Katuka Adamawa; Alhaji Muhammad Aminu Abdulkadir, IPMAN National President- was given the title of Sarki Hurumi Adamawa, while Alhaji Muhammad Ibrahim Attah, as Mai Borno Adamawa. One thing worth noting is, the Lamido also never hesitate in approving for District Heads to recognise individuals in their domains who are contributing to the development of their communities. For instance, the District Head of Jimeta, who is also the Dan Isa Adamawa, recently conferred traditional titles on some individuals: Alhaji Suleiman Inuwa Paris- Adamawa state Auditor General, as Dan Iya Jimeta; Alhaji Lawan Abubakar Musa, Managing Director of Adamawa Savings and Loans as Dan Galadima Jimeta, while a young, dynamic and enterprising insurance-underwriter, Mohammed Dahiru Garba Esq. was conferred with the title of Garkuwa Jimeta.

Lamido Dr. Muhammadu Barkindo Aliyu Mustafa is a tradition ruler with style of a modern day democratic administrator- he has a clear and vivid picture of what success looks like and where he intends to take the Adamawa Emirate to. He has a high regard for confident people but abhors pride; he admires hard-work and encourages his subjects to be productive. The Adamawa people are happy that Lamido Barkindo’s leadership styles, thinking and doggedness in promoting peace and non discrimination among his subjects and humanity as a whole are similar to that of his late father- Late Lamido Dr. Aliyu Mustafa.

Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State,, 08036070980

Friday, May 6, 2011

The North and Jonathan Presidency

Beginning from May 29, 2011, President Goodluck Jonathan has a new four year mandate as President of Nigeria. His declaration as President-elect by INEC propelled the historic April 17th, 2011, Talakwas revolt against today’s northern Nigerian elites, and violent protests that swept across some states of the region. The protests, which hoodlums and miscreants took advantage of, to kill innocent people and destroy properties, were senseless and regretful occurences that nearly spoilt the joy of the nation.

As a result of this situation, some questions are pertinent-were the protests against Jonathan in person? No they weren’t. Were they purely ethnic, religious or regional? No they weren’t. Were they because Buhari as a northerner was not declared President-elect? Equally they weren’t. Then, why the protests? They were protests triggered and aided by one monster: extreme-abject-poverty.

A great number of Nigerians live below poverty-line, but the poverty level in the north is disturbing-a level that has put the Talakawas in a desperate search for a messiah to free them from the prison of poverty.

Today, the Talakwas and the leadership of the north are no more on the same page. Thus, there is a strong conviction in the hearts of the Talakwas that any interest or individual being promoted by a certain group of the northern leadership, will only aggravate their anguish.

Whoever is the President of Nigeria, is a President for all. The political tradition in Nigeria is, the President, often relates with all sections of the country through their leaders. In case of the north, it is the political, traditional and the religious leaders. This is because, the northern Nigerian culture proposes that everyone accords unalloyed loyalty to these leaders.

The north has changed, the people’s thinking and aspirations have changed. Today, in the north, most of the leaders are no more on same pages with their followership. With this changed situation and the protests that trailed the declaration of Goodluck Jonathan as President-elect, there is a thorny, as well as a golden opportunity for Goodluck Jonathan. The thorny side is that, he has to give the north, a fresh development plan that is truly people-oriented, workable and credible. And trigger a political realignment that may be unpopular with some elites. In addition to this, he has to proffer an alternative education direction that would tackle the peculiar situation in the north. The present situation in the north is also a golden opportunity for President Goodluck Jonathan to show and tell the Talakawas in the region: hey! I have with me that ‘hope’ you see in Muhammadu Buhari. How would the Goodluck Jonathan’s Presidency achieve these? As earlier said, President Goodluck Jonathan should face the north by taking careful and intelligent political and policy steps.

The President has to design some speedy but feasible policies that will break the poverty cycle in the north through economically empowering the poor; introduce agricultural programs that will reach rural, small scale farmers and the youth, as well as, make them feel ownership of these programs.

There is a huge hole in the heart of northern Nigeria’s education system. Thus, the region’s education sector extremely needs restructuring and galvanizing similar to that of Soviet Union 1980’s glasnost and perestroika. So that there will be means of providing adequate funding; tackling the Almajiri phenomenon through workable integration of Quranic schools with formal schools and promotion of girl-child education.

The leadership in the north have woefully failed in freeing their Talakwas from poverty, illiteracy, and underdevelopment. If President Goodluck can demonstrate a little sign of providing practical solutions to these problems, the Talakawas of the north will definitely see in him the ‘Muhammadu Buhari’ they are searching for.

There is a strong urge in the north for a fresh socio-economic and political direction reminiscent of the old north- where; leadership is people oriented; ‘we’ and ‘they’ feelings never exist and life is simple and productive. How would President Goodluck Jonathan contribute to this, when a great number of the leadership in the region is no more revered by the people? Do we expect the President to sideline the political, traditional and religious leaders of the north? Certainly no. The President should employ both systematic and systemic approach- i.e. have in his mind that he has three groups to face in the north: the political elites; the Talakawas and a unique emerging group of educated young northerners who are advocating of a new approach.

The President should face the leadership of the region based on what they know best- the principle and foundation of negotiations and persuasion. It may be unpopular with the elites and may require strong political will. But President Goodluck should be bold enough to tell them- This time is for the Talakwas of the north- because ‘I told the world, I am one of them’ (the poor).

The general opinion in the north is, the region is in need of a paradigm shift in its development and political direction, in such a way that the region will welcome a Nigerian leader who listens to new ideas; accepts new ways of doing things; as well as has a clear and vivid picture of what success looks like and how to achieve it. Someone who can move with a speed commensurate with the expectations of Talakwas in bringing new thinking and synergy to the public sector through feasible ideas that will bring development in all spheres of north’s economy- putting in place systems that would eradicate poverty by uplifting individuals, fight crimes with employments and opportunities; fight official corruption the ways it ought to be and bring dynamism into governance, as well as provide broad variety of services , ranging from health and social programs, electricity, police protection, maintain a sound legal system, and the provision of physical infrastructure including the reinvigoration of the small scale industries, roads construction and human capital development.

The Talakwas of the north are just looking for a Nigerian that will lead Nigeria with honesty, firmness and free them from the prison of abject poverty; not someone who will hide behind regionalism to consolidate on cronyism and self enrichment. Jonathan can give the north such a leadership.

Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State,, 08036070980. He blogs at