NewsReel 18/12/13 - Re: Shekarau Demands Payment of Entitlements

[ Masterweb Reports: Muhammad Idris Muhammad Mandawari reports ] -  “When beggars die, there are no comets seen, the heavens themselves blaze forth with the death of the princes” – Shakespeare. One is not only curious but shocked about the above publication that appeared in the Daily Trust Newspaper of December 9, 2013 in which the erstwhile governor of Kano state, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau demanded that his entitlements as a former governor of the state be paid, in accordance with the “state`s pension rights of governors and deputy governors Law (2007)”
 
 
Curious and shocked because the demand, as captioned, tells volumes about the character of some of our leaders that are no more worth characters that epitomize leaders of conscience, in as far as the led are concerned. It further has the potential to trigger what sociologists call the unintended consequences and, in the most practicable manner, brings home the saying “what goes around will (surely) come around” and “Khamataddeen Tadanu” that translates one reaps what one sows.
 
 
Presenting the case to the public domain in the publication, the media head of the former governor, Malam Sule Ya`u Sule, described the non-payment of the entitlements to his boss as the “highest level of injustice” by Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso as if justice is a prerogative/monopoly of ‘Excellencies’, former or otherwise. I have no quarrel with pursuit of justice by any aggrieved person, in fact I thumb for those that do no matter the odds; However, I part ways when such pursuit or the genesis of the grievances involved is embedded in double standard, mischief and insincerity.
 
 
Two years out of government house, Malam Shekarau remains insensitive to the pains, agony, trauma and helplessness of hordes of hapless citizens brazenly denied justice granted unconditionally by courts of competent jurisdiction and the Constitution that he swore to defend and respect. It is therefore worrisome that, at a time that he seeks relevance within a very competitive democratic setting, when icons and actors are showcasing and celebrating their accomplishments, exploits and re-engineering Kano, the former governor could not brace up to demand justice from Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso for the victims of his injustice that were deceitfully kept waiting to walk his talk on the rule of law up toward the twilight of his administration.
 
 
It is said that when the turning point is passed, there will be no point to turn. By his usually weird thinking, the former Governor behaved to type when he jettisons reason on the inappropriateness of public domain to ostensibly blackmail the present administration by the demand gambit, meant to, by and large, cover his deficits in good governance and court sympathy from the disgruntled masses. Because for him the end justifies any unethical means, it does not matter that the cheap blackmail or “demand for entitlements”, as he puts it, is riddled with serious contradictions, gaps and weaknesses.
 
 
To begin with, the admission that, “when the law was passed in 2007, Shekarau requested the state House of Assembly to backdate it to enable Kwankwaso benefit” betrayed the fact that the right to benefit from the Law in question was essentially determined not by public interest but by arbitrary and mischievous consideration by the then administration. Similarly, Jaafar S. Jaafar, the media aide to Governor Kwankwaso, was only stating the incontrovertible and notorious facts that former governor Shekarau breached the very 2007 Law by building for himself a 20 bedroom mansion, miles away from the scope explicitly stated, and refusing to build or buy a six bedroom house for Governor Kwankwaso in accordance with the provisions of the Law.
 
 
Since we are speaking about “demand for entitlements” the running case of Malam Bashir Abba Shariff, a Director in the Kano state civil service, who, along with one Abdulmumini Yelwa, was wrongly dismissed from the service, reinstated by the Kano High Court but denied everything granted by the court is relevant here.
 
 
Undoubtedly, the brilliant officer has been curiously denied justice despite the Court Order asking the government to reinstate and pay him the backlog of his entitlements in a judgment delivered since the year 2002. Although the state Civil Service Commission had duly complied with the judgment by reinstating the two officers on 11th March, 2004, the former administration declined to do same as required by the judgment. However, in the most inequitable manner possible, Abdulmumini Yelwa, with whom Sharif shared the contrived allegation, the purported dismissal, the litigation, the judgment and indeed the decision of the Civil Service Commission, was in 2005 selectively reinstated with promotion and paid every bit of the entitlement, on account of his being a classmate of the then Governor.
 
 
For all that the world knows and perhaps to the admiration of Jaafar Jaafar, commoner Sharif neither “breached” nor “violated” judgment or any of its aspects throughout his travail. On the contrary, it was the former administration that contemptuously breached, circumnavigated, violated, disrespected and abused not only the judgment but also the Constitution. One is therefore really at a loss over the direction of our leaders. For over thirteen years since this senior citizen had instituted his case in the Kano High Court and 11 years since the judgment was passed in his favour, Sharif and his family are still suffering from the pains of this injustice despite the affirmation and commitment of the Civil Service Commission to the judgment, the recommendation of the State Public Complaints and anti-Corruption Commission as well as the intervention of both the state House of Assembly and the Attorney-General of the Federation for his unconditional reinstatement in accordance with the subsisting judgment.
 
 
His various letters to the administration in pursuit of compliance, subsequent petition to the former governor and over ten reminders that followed did not elicit even a mere response, in breach, again, of service rules, up to the tenure end of the former administration. To think that, in contemporary Nigeria, this “Animal Farm`s” type of inequity, impunity and glaring abuse of office could be perpetrated and sustained this long by our leaders makes the country banana.
 
 
 In both case scenario, I see a clear contradiction, selfishness, incompetence, nepotism, and lawlessness of our so-called leaders and shamefully too. The celebrated demand for entitlements by the former governor betrays how the conscience of our leaders is bereft of any sense of justice, selfless service and obligation to ordinary citizens, making the opening quote of this rejoinder very apt. Furthermore, the gambit, in a very effective manner, betrays the double standard applied by our leaders even when they “do not do unto others what they want others to do unto them”.
 
 
For all its worth, the demand remains a big and classical lesson that the rule of law is what stands between us and the arbitrary exercise of state power. And if that understanding is lost for any reason, or if it becomes seriously eroded, as exhibited in the two case scenario, our democratic experiment and the rights it guarantees are in jeopardy and no one, including incumbents, is safe.
 
 
The rhetoric about the rule of law, as most often engaged by some of our leaders, is not enough; it must be sincerely made to permeate the fabric of public service in such a way that the powerful cannot manipulate our laws to the detriment of the common man and unbiased laws enacted that each can be confident that others will respect. Moreover, those who hold the mantle of leadership by mandate should not be contemptuous of Laws and court verdicts. They should know there is the final judgment in which records of transgressions will be straight and equally undeniable.
 
 
Now that the chicken has come home to roost, and notwithstanding Malam Ibrahim Shekarau is drown in the pool of his own saliva, the law abiding Governor Kwankwaso should be compassionate not to pay the former Governor in his own coins, particularly now that such coins are no longer legal tender. The “breach” and “violations” of the Law in question associated with the former governor could be corrected and any outstanding entitlements paid to him strictly &ldq
 
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