Katsina 2023: Analyzing Mustapha Inuwa’s Candidacy – By Malam Naini Musa
With the 2023 elections tens of months away, many politicians are already strategizing on their seat of choice. Most interesting of all races in Katsina state is the seat of the number one citizen of the state. The governorship race of Katsina does not disappoint. The build up to election is full of excitement as high profile names in katsina observe their fortunes rise and fall. The 2007 race that saw the emergence of former Katsina state governor, Ibrahim Shema was one of the most interesting ones yet. As we look forward to 2023, many interesting names are already rumored to be aspiring. Most interesting of all is the challenge by Katsina state SSG, Dr. Mustapha Inuwa. Posters are already hanging on bill boards in the state capital.
Mustapha, a person that divides opinion was a former academician turned politician. His work as education commissioner for the katsina state administration under the late Nigerian president and former Katsina state governor, Alhaji Umar Musa Yar’adua of blessed memory was immaculate. Mustapha was the most vibrant of all his appointments. He was on the frontlines challenging civil servants. He kept everyone on their toes. The boarding house students of various government owned secondary schools remember how disgusted he was with the living and feeding conditions they were subjected to. Mustapha was on the scene and everyone was alert. This led to his appointment as the secretary of state of the same administration. His rise was not long lived though. Mustapha was relieved of his job and years later, he found himself challenging his former party with all his might.
As the APC party chairman, he was rewarded handsomely with the SSG seat when his party won the 2015 election. Mustapha once again found himself at the elite level, commandeering the affairs of his state. Not one to shy away, he was an integral member of the Katsina state amnesty program that aimed to achieve peace in the state by enticing repentant bandits and cattle rustlers with opportunities and welfare. This program was at the time celebrated by many. People wanted to carry on with their affairs unhindered, their lives unhurt and properties safe.
However, Mustapha was not to shine for long. His energy was not appreciated by all. A rumor circulated that he was the hand behind everything in Katsina. His alleged influenced was unlimited and that he has his tentacles pressed on everything. He had to address it himself in an interview. He laughed it off and stated that it is insulting to the governor to suggest such. That the governor was not a child that needs to be influenced or told what to do. Notwithstanding, the rumor refused to dial down and only ever grew.
As if fate had conspired against him, the amnesty program began to fall apart like a house of cards. Many people in Katsina believed he was the engineer of the program. With evidence or without, Mustapha was blamed for engineering a program that was doomed to fail. Criticisms from soft dismissal to outright conspiracy began emerging. Not that he had so much, but Mustapha once again found himself loosing much needed goodwill from a number of katsina citizens.
At the peak of banditry and bandit attacks, his situation was further exacerbated by a clip that was circulated in which he downplayed the security decay in the state. While this interview was not recent, it was deliberately circulated at that hour. Mustapha found himself with another dilemma. When the state governor visited Dandume LG and cried, even lamenting that he had failed to secure his people. Some people saw a weak governor, probably stifled by the torrential power of gigantic aids, chief of which is Mustapha.
Interesting as the charges laid upon Mustapha are, do we have substantial evidence or is Mustapha a victim campaign of slander. Before the emergence of katsina state whistle-blower, Mahdi Shehu, most of the accusations labelled against Mustapha are stories passed from word of mouth. Stories that most believed despite their unorthodox source. It was Mahdi that came with the smoking gun. He appeared from nowhere and shocked Katsina to its core. Some of his allegations were unbelievably chilling. The chief villain of the Mahdi revelation was Mustapha. According to Mahdi, Mustapha appeared to be pulling a fast one over his principal and by extension the Katsina people. Already smeared by many stories, Mahdi’s allegation found fertile ground to grow, and they did. Mustapha fired back by suing him, they are still battling it out in court as of now.
Mustapha is Katsina’s equivalent of Buhari’s Abba Kyari. A man who has allegedly hatched an ingenuous plan to cage his master and greedily spread his tentacles on everything. While there are many stories and parables on that account, the degree to the truth of these theories are debatable. These stories are not factual, they remain stories unless irrefutable evidences can be brought forth. That is not to say Mustapha is innocent or that the theory is untrue. Perhaps he is, but no one should be considered guilty of anything unless there is undeniable evidence to suggest so. Today, Abba Kyari is nowhere close to Buhari, but things have only deteriorated badly for the President.
However, even if Mustapha is a victim of a campaign of slander. He is still very much part of a government that has failed to secure its citizen. The people of Katsina have never had it this bad. While the bad state of insecurity can be connected to a global phenomenon destabilizing many a place, the continuous poor handling of the project can be pinned down to the corrupt nature of the present Katsina administration. Already in their sixth year, the only thing that had risen is our debt, insecurity and the debilitating nature of our infrastructures which they have failed to maintain.
In my opinion, it will be ill advised for Mustapha and any other servant of the present administration to contest for the office of the governor of Katsina state. While they have the right to do so under the law, I believe it is unethical and (I dare say) immoral to do so. They have given it a go, they have failed woefully, and we have endured. To subject us to another round of torture is unnecessary.
Mallam Naini Musa
Mallam Naini Musa is a writer and social critic.
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