From Muhammad Sa’eed, Katsina
Katsina State has since the colonial era and its aftermath played a dominant role in the promotion of Islamic scholarship, western education, politics and economic development of the Nigerian state. In terms of education most of the post independent northern political leaders attended the famous Katsina College.
Prominent among them include, the first Prime-Minister of Nigeria, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the first Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sardaunan Sokoto, Malam Aminu Kano among many others.
With the array of historical achievements and antecedents, the history of modern Nigeria cannot be complete without the mention of Katsina State.
Similarly with the state creation in Nigeria, what is now known as Katsina State falls under the defunct Kaduna State. When the country returned to democratic rule in 1999, Alhaji Balarabe Musa of the Peoples Redemption Party, PRP was elected as the governor of Katsina.
Virtually two years after Balarabe Musa was impeached by the NPN dominated legislature and his deputy from the present day Katsina central took over power. In 1983, Alhaji Muhammadu Lawal Kaita also from Katsina central was elected as governor of the defunct Kaduna State under the umbrella of NPN. Therefore the story of dominance of political space since the era of defunct Kaduna State has been a rosy one for Katsina central in the present day Katsina State.
The political dominance of Katsina central continues even with the creation of Katsina State on September 23rd 1987. In 1989-91, Alhaji Sa’idu Barda from Katsina central was elected as the governor of Katsina State. In 1999, with the country’s return to another democracy, Alhaji Umaru Musa ‘Yar’adua also from Katsina Central was elected as governor of the state under PDP. When the tenure of ‘Yar’adua ended in 2007, another personality the incumbent governor of the state, Alhaji Ibrahim Shehu Shema from Katsina central was elected. It was during this period that in Katsina State we have the president, the governor, minister, special advisers and other heads of federal government agencies coming from the same zone, Katsina Central.
We know that due to political transformation across the country and in an effort to provide opportunity, equity and fairness to all manner of people living in the country the principle of Federal Character and zoning was introduced. These principles provided that in sharing government positions all people no matter their political ideology or ethno-religious beliefs were considered and given an opportunity. The idea is to protect the weak from the dominance of the majority and the powerful. Seeing the efficacy of these principles in ensuring unity and cohesion in the country, political parties especially the PDP entrench them as part of its political game.
Pundits are of the view that for PDP to continue to ensure the retention of its dominance
in Katsina State these principles needs to re-visited and entrenched in Katsina State. In terms of democratic political leadership in Katsina State since 1989 to date, the other two zones of the state, viz, Daura and Funtua zones have been mere on-lookers. Daura zone over the years had only being privileged of producing speakers of the state assembly while Funtua zone has become habitual occupiers of the deputy governorship slots. It is a general believe that with the array of qualified personalities from these zones, now it’s the time to give them a chance. After all the PDP as can clearly be seen from across the country stands and encourage the principle of zoning.
Many residents agree that the PDP may be privileged to consider it lucky by surviving difficult and dangerous political storms since 199 in Katsina State. It may be lucky in the past few years but with the different political storm that is now gathering in the state the PDP cannot afford to toy with the issue of power shift in Katsina State. The Funtua and Daura zones have a lot of credible candidates that can rule the state. The earlier the PDP realizes the desirability of power shift in Katsina state the better for its continued survival in the state.
Peoples Daily can authoritatively recall that most of the poor performance of the PDP in general elections in these zones were due to largely these perceived injustices in keeping the governorship slots to one zone.
The earlier the PDP heeds to this warning the better as ignoring it could spell doom for the party and its future in Katsina State.