By Mohammed A. Sani
As a Muslim and politician who is close to 70 years old, Senator Kanti Bello ought to be farmiliar with verse 26 of chapter three (Al Imran) of the Holy Qur’an, where Allah (swt) states that He is the One that gives power to whom He wishes and takes it away from whom He wishes, imbues honour on whom He wishes and humiliates whom He wishes. Also, as a supposedly rational person he must very well know that a winner and a loser must emerge in any political contest. However, the narrative of the Senator’s foray in partisan politics suggests a lack of familiarity with the above devine statement and a jaundiced philosophy which narrows outcomes in contests to just victory without a space for loss. As his antecedents show, in any contest in which he participates, the result must be ‘heads Kanti wins, tails the opponent loses’, without room for contrary outcome.
His latest antics in which he is running from pillar to post to denigrate Rt. Hon. Aminu Bello Masari, the victorious Katsina state gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and bring the party into disrepute, is a typical example of the embattled Senator’s world view about competition. It is an all too familiar scenario whenever he loses out to a more competent and credible opponent. Regurchitating a stale and discredited allgation of certificate forgery against the former Speaker of the House of Representatives is going beyond the pale, and this would seem to be his stock-in-trade under such circumstances.
Could there be something the disgruntled gubernatorial aspirant knows which the lower chamber of the National Assembly did not know in 2006, when the allegation of certificate forgery against the Speaker first came up in the heat of his successful opposition to then President Olusegun Obasanjo’s bid to elongate his tenure beyond the constitutionally permitted two terms? After it had thoroughly investigated the allegation and found it to be false, the House passed a vote of confidence on Rt. Hon. Masari, who had had the grace and decency to temporarily step down from the Speakership to enable his colleagues conduct unfettered investigation.
But shortly before the gubernatorial primary election in which Masari polled 2470 votes to Kanti’s 1327, the Senator had described all eight of the gubernatorial aspirants as “honourable, credible and competent” people, each of whom is capable of steering the affairs of the state successfully. And after the election, he affirmed that the exercise was “free, fair and transparent”.
Why therefore this holier-than-thou posturing of the Senator’s, given the vote of confidence he had passed on his fellow aspirants and the process that led to the emergence of Rt. Hon. Masari as the victor? Since Senator Kanti is not exactly the model or epitome of the decency and decorum that he would want the world to believe, there must be more to his current attempt to bring down the hugely popular and amiable Dallatun Katsina, who appears poised to emerge victorious in the February gubernatorial election. Fifth Columnist is a description that readily fits the bill, as he had travelled the same road when, as the returning agent of Engineer Nura Khalil then gubernatorial candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), he sold out to to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Also, when half way into his first term as Senator, he was about to dump the ANPP on whose platform he was elected for PDP, he called General Buhari all manner of uncomplimentary names, including the allegation that the General was a security threat to Nigeria. However, a few years later he has crawled his way back to the General holding his coat tail to be led to the Katsina Government House as governor.
Indeed, the Senator’s record of service in the various public spaces he has occupied to date is anything but enviable. His superintendence of the Katsina Steel Rolling Company, first as coordinator, then pioneer General Manager did not escape the scrutiny of the military administration of General Muhammadu Buhari, which had cause to detain him for one week in Kaduna, after which he was made to report weekly to the Kaduna office of the State Security Service continously up to the time the administration was toppled by General Ibrahim Babangida.
As a two term senator who was in the upper chamber of the National Assembly for eight years from 2003 to 2011, Kanti Bello emerged somewhat as a disappointment as, according to a report of Sunday Trust of July 12, 2009, he was among the Senate’s seat warmers who did not sponsor a sinlge private bill during the period.
Senator Kanti Bello firmly secured his place in the nation’s hall of infamy in 2009 when he led Nigeria’s intending Pilgrims for the annual religious rite to Saudi Arabia as Amirul Hajj. His leadership was so disgraceful and disappointing that on the eve of their return to Nigeria at the Jidda Airport, some pilgrims from Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara, Jigawa and Kebbi states almost lynched him, but for the timely intervention of some Nigeria and Saudi security officials who whisked him away to safety. The incident, which some of those who were witness reffered to as ‘the stoning of another Sheitan’, was widely reported in the Nigerian media.
In contrast, Rt. Honourable Aminu Bello Masari’s service to the fatherland has earned him so many laurels, including the nation’s third highest national honour of Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR), a honourary doctorate degree and numerous chieftaincy titles from across the nation including that of Dallatun Katsina.
Starting public service from a lowly Technical Assistant position at the then Kaduna State Water Board, he rose to become Assistant General Manager in charge of operations, at which point he was appointed commissioner in charge of the all important ministry of works, housing and transport by the civilian administration of Alhaji Sa’idu Barda. Along the way, the ministry of health portfolio was added to him when its erstwhile commissioner was sacked. Many of the health centers across the state owe their existence to that period when Masari held sway as commissioner.
When he served as the Amirul Hajj in 2003, Rt. Hon. Masari was inundated with encomiums from the Nigerian and Saudi Arabian governments as well as the Nigerians who performed the pilgrimage that year.
Clearly, between the Katsina state APC gubernatorial candidate, Rt. Honourable Aminu Bello Masari and his traducer, Senator Kanti Bello, there is a wide gulp in credibility, with the former frequently described as ‘honourable, credible, reliable, dependable and honest’, attributes hardly spoken of in the same breath with the later.
Sani wrote in from Katsina.