Opinion

Baba-Ahmed’s bragging right, By Emeka Obasi

Dr. Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed deserves some respect not just for his high political ambitions. This man was a Senator and owns Baze, one of the big universities in Abuja. I find it strange that other parties pretend to ignore him.

 

As Labour Party Presidential Running Mate, Baba-Ahmed is a big threat to those who think that the North belongs to the trio of Atiku Abubakar, Rabiu Kwankwaso and Kashim Shettima. Unfortunately, because the Zaria man neither belongs to the the All Progressives Congress (APC) nor the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he is underrated.

 

There is so much going for Baba-Ahmed. He is Fulani, a muslim Northerner, educated and comes from a family that knows so much about trade in cattle. All these attributes stand him out as one politician to watch.

 

This is the man that will take back the North from the Fourth Republic sprinters who have diminished that Region. The North of Alhaji Ahmadu Bello in the First Republic and President Shehu Shagari of the Second Republic was different.

 

Prior to independence, Habib Raji Abdallah was a torn in the flesh of the imperialists. He worked with the Posts and Telegraphs Department. His lecture at Glover Hall, Lagos in 1947 titled : ‘What is Zikism’ was all his employers needed to sack him.

 

Abdallah was president of the Zikist Movement. He joined politics after that event. I remember his favourite jingle : ” I hate the Union Jack with all my heart because it divides the people wherever it goes.” Many of the Fourth Republic politicians cannot deliver a lecture in Abuja.

 

Baba- Ahmed stands tall among the politicians up North. His PhD may be an advantage but the ideas that run in his brain can convince an Eskimo to buy ice cream. Those who have not discovered this man of dreams need to wake up.

 

Baba- Ahmed takes me back to the North of John Mamman Garba who was at the World Jamboree, Birkinhead, United Kingdom in 1929. He later spent time at the London School of Economics. What waited for him much later was Ambassadorial appointment.

 

Hamza Zayyad qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1963 and worked in the UK. Tanko Yakasai went as far as Berlin to study Political Economy. He is in his nineties now and still moves around. I saw him recently at the Niche Lecture in Lagos.

 

Ishaya Audu was a visiting Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Rochester, New York in the Second Republic. Iya Abubakar, at 34, was Dean Faculty of Science, Ahmadu Bello University in 1968. Three years earlier, he lectured at the University of Michigan as visiting Professor.

 

Umaru Dikko was a Mathematician, like Abubakar. He shone at Birkbeck, University of London. We all remember him as the man who was crated by the military government of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari in London but was lucky that the trip to Lagos failed.

 

Audu, Abubakar, Yakasai and Dikko eventually moved into politics and looking at their time, it is clear that many of those who claim to represent the North today, have nothing upstairs. I see Baba- Ahmed changing that perception.

 

The Northern Region was blessed with officers who stood tall among their colleagues. Zakari Maimalari was the first Nigerian to attend Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He was commissioned Second Lieutenant in 1950.

 

Kam Selem was just a Sub Inspector when he was chosen in 1950 as one of two Nigerian Police officers to participate in the British Industries Fair. Isa Saidu Adejo would be crying in his grave to hear about bandits from outside the country. He was sent to Niger Republic to deal with armed rebels.

 

 

All those officers excelled because the Sardauna of Sokoto knew the value of education. Ahmadu Bello and Balewa were in no way intimidated by their contemporaries from the Southern part of the country. The Prime Minister was referred to as ‘ the Golden voice of Africa.’

 

I was ashamed of politics when one high ranking member of the National Assembly brought his family of four wives to the hallowed house just to announce his virility. While Ahmadu Bello built schools, some of those who claim to love him are producing battalions of children.

 

The North has enough human resources to make life better for Northerners and the nation. This is the North of Jelani Aliyu who made a mark at General Motors. I am talking of the North of Ibrahim Hassan, Chairman Guaranty Trust Bank.

 

Amina Mohammed is Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations. She is a Northerner and has what it takes to help the with education of the girl child. It is criminal to stop girls from going to school. The change that will come, is not far away.

 

I think Baba – Ahmed is a threat to those who do not want the North to catch up with other parts of the country. He is using education to free the minds of many. To him, religion does not stop people from climbing the ladder of change.

 

Suleman Takuma, Uba Ahmed, Ibrahim Tahir and Abubakar Rimi did not create bandits with their style of politics. Boko Haram rose because of the failure of politicians. Herdsmen know about politics. The North is in power, the Region is powerless. Baba-Ahmed knows where the shoe pinches. Call him a Labourer.

 

 

 

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