Katsina governor Aminu Bello Masari is leading the pack in governance by negotiating. Katsina is the birthplace of our beloved president, Muhammadu Buhari. In Katsina, nobody is safe. Hearing reports that the convoys of his counterparts were being attacked, Masari borrowed himself common sense. He asked the hardworking security agencies to find out the den of Katsina state kidnappers and other miscreants for a deserved state visit. Forget elections, in an insecure state, only those with guns are men, the rest of us, including Masari are dressed in skirts.
I swear by Nasir el-Rufai, that this is a true story. By the way, it is also true that el-Rufai once confessed that he travelled as far as a neighbouring country to pay ransom to brigands in return for peace in Kaduna. Apparently, he did not pay retainership fee, because in spite of his bravery, neither Kaduna, nor the Abuja-Kaduna road is safe whenever the Mallam is not plying it, which is 99% of the time.
Back to Katsina, on the appointed day, Masari, security details in tail, went to Crime Headquarters, Katsina where he was pictured in a tètè a tètè with some of the real governors of Katsina one of who displayed his Kalashnikov. The gun is mightier than votes. Masari appeared to have loved the skit, grinning as he listened to the brigand explaining how to enjoy real power. The tragedy is that, as happened in Zamfara, this is not a Bakatsine movie script and Masari is not acting – it is real life. If el-Rufai needs proof, I have a newspaper picture to present to his appointed magistrate.
Days after Masari safely returned to his fortified state house, licensed negotiators secured a prisoner swap. Under that agreement, Masari released 30 brigands apparently with copies of the Glorious Qu’ran in their hands. In return 30 Katsinawas whose lives could have been wasted because their poor relatives could not pay demanded ransom were freed. Before you guys start a revolution call, please bear in mind that only recently the powerful Russia swapped war prisoners with Ukraine. There is a war of attrition between brigands and the Naija state, under the able leadership of General, sorry, I mean President Muhammadu Buhari.
Now, I don’t want you guys insulting the president as lame duck, clueless or lacklustre leader. No. This president’s alibi is that he inherited a bad state. Negotiating with brigands began before his leadership technically defeated Boko Haram. Back then; from his modest observatory in Kaduna, General Buhari couldn’t understand why President Jones was negotiating with economic saboteurs. He spat at that government, promising to put his MA Strategic Studies from a famous American war university to end the scourge. Those enjoying Nes Lebu governance should just wait for that promise to be fulfilled as soon as Atiku Abubakar stops putting a pause on governance with his many court battles.
Kidnapping started with Muzungus in the Niger-Delta when the rest of us could only imagine it. Then it moved to the innovative Anambra. Peter Obi knew what to do – punish culprits speedily and destroy their ancestral and acquired homes. It worked like magic while the rest of us were sniggering at the penchant of Anambrarian for filthy lucre. We, the saintly northerners that hate money more than Rotimi Amaechi.
Now our brothers up north have found the quick way to easy money and have cashed in on the trade. But please, exclude Abuja. Our federal capital city and its environs where the hard-working IG, DSS and the service chiefs have headquartered their agencies are safe. Except that palpable fear has enveloped Abuja following spates of kidnapping of people related to people with the capacity to make headlines. That is why our IG had to hurriedly issue a statement weekend, assuring those yet to be kidnapped that they are safe. Safe, that is, until they are kidnapped because those who are kidnapped cannot spread kidnap rumours.
Okay, so government kidnaps people too. I didn’t say so, in case an el-Rufai magistrate is trailing my footprints. Government kidnapped Jones Abiri and kept him away for two years until word got out that the journalist was in the custody of the DSS. Ask Opeyemi Sowore, her husband; Yele was abducted until the noise of witnesses forced government to admit it. Sowore is now on court-sanctioned detention with the likes of Sheikh Ibrahim Elzakzaky and Colonel Sambo Dasuki. Abubakar Idris, aka #Dadiyata disappeared from his home in el-Rufai’s Kaduna. His abductors have not demanded ransom nor is he important enough for government to issue a statement. Dadiyata heckles government, a very dangerous pastime in Nes Lebu verson of democracy.
It’s a long four years to the next elections and by Allah’s grace and from patriotic indication, things are honky dory as the celebrated picture of President Buhari shows him picking his teeth after a gritty bowl of yoghurt. Any Governor facing insecurity now knows what to do – negotiate especially as rumours allege that the technically defeated Boko haram has gone ballistic with drones. When Atiku releases the government from inertia, our iPad browsing analogue president would technically bury these insecurity situations. For now, gold rusts Naija, let the Iroko stay strong.