EVER since the Katsina State House of Assembly announced that it has received a letter from Coalition of Civil Society Organizations to investigate the allegations of Mahadi Shehu, a lot of us folded our arms to see how the honourable members handle the lid. The House issued a statement that the petition was forwarded to the committee responsible for such matters. Then, like all else that followed Mahadi’s episodes, we were given weeks of silence. Just silence! Then, perhaps devastated by the silence, some elders came together and wrote another letter to the Speaker and the Governor asking them to respond to the damning allegations that kept gaining momentum with every episode. Again, silence followed. These self-imposed silences prompted this piece. The silences produced some sounds that deserve a comment or two.
To begin with, one of the primal responsibilities of the House of Assembly is to oversee and scrutinise the conduct of the Executives. They are mandated by the constitution to discharge this duty. It is part of the reasons why they get paid. Failure to do that tantamounts to their earnings becoming illegitimate. They get paid for work not done. Imagine our teachers and nurses just refusing to discharge their duties, without explanation – just like that. The more the house renegade on this crucial matter, the more it becomes inappropriate for them to get paid. I know they will still receive their alerts anyone – but they should know that they do not work for that money and they do not deserve to have it.
Oftentimes one wonders how many people could get stuck in a single circle. When Mahadi’s allegations came, not many people thought that the House of Assembly could do any meaningful investigation into the matter(s). Notwithstanding, the House could have saved its face by following the tradition we see in Kano State House of Assembly when the Governor was seen in a video stuffing dollar notes in his babbar riga. The House quickly invited the publisher of those videos and began investigation. Then a court order arrived to stop the investigation. At least that House has saved its face. Ours should have done that too.
A mere silence cannot efface the allegations of Mahadi Shehu. It is not possible. A government that was known for arresting ordinary bloggers could not, just overnight, become so receptive to criticism that it responds to Mahadi’s episodes with absolute silence. The first press conference given by the SGS ended with a statement from two persons that they would take Mahadi Shehu to court. Senator Bello Mandiya came up with a similar statement. Someone in the army also said the Chief of Army Staff has given Mahadi Shehu time to retract the allegations. Mahadi does not just stood his ground. He stood his ground and added other allegations on the previous ones. All these people are yet to find a court to sue Mahadi Shehu. Are they waiting for the next trip to Mars to look for courts there? I do not know.
Whatever the case, I do not think silence can resolve this matter. Proper explanation and procedural actions by the House of Assembly can at least settle some of the issues raised by Mahadi Shehu. I am fully aware of an episode in which he said that some of the Members collected contracts from SUBEB. But not all of them. The new members voted in 2019 were not mentioned in the allegations (I may be wrong, though). Why won’t they start the process? In the end, there is an end for everyone of us. We would certainly account for our deeds and we would be remembered for and by them.
Allah Rayan Jihar Katsina.