Deposition Of Makaman Katsina Idris: Is There More Than Meets The Eye?

By AbdulKadir Ahmed

THE dismissal of Makaman Katsina the V, District Head of Bakori, Alhaji Idris Sule Idris, came as a rude shock to many people, not only in Bakori, but in Katsina State as a whole. A rude shock because the terse and vague note that announced his dethronement belied the gravity of the punishment.

The letter conveying the ill-fated message, from Katsina Emirate Council, said he was removed after an investigation confirmed the petitions received by the state government, which were said to be disrupting peace in his domain.

After reading the letter, the first thought that crossed my mind was that, is Bakori really experiencing unrest? If so, what kind of unrest? As an inhabitant of the town, I was totally oblivious of any kind of unrest happening in the town. I began to wonder whether a religious conflict had broken out without my knowledge.

Then, another thought that naturally crossed my mind was political conflict. As it was a political season and campaigns were on, it was possible it was political unrest that occurred in the town. Having spent many days away from the town, it was possible that some kind of political conflict had occurred.

Then, I began to read accounts of the incident that made me wonder where the journalists got their news that appeared different from what the letter from Katsina Emirate Council said. There were screaming headlines by several newspapers and online publications alleging that the district head was dismissed for having ties with terrorists or aiding them. Almost all, without exception, linked his removal to terrorism activities, in spite of the fact that the letter did not, in any way, say so.

But, all these speculations were caused by the vagueness of the letter. If it had clearly stated the former district head’s offence, it wouldn’t have given room to such speculations or would it? Come to think of it, the whole thing smacks of conspiracy.

It’s as if the story of linking the district head to the sympathy to terrorists was planted or deliberately leaked to the press. The fact that every one of the newspaper accounts I came across slanted that way was a pointer towards that direction.

But, even if the terrorism story is true, why can’t the government come out clearly and say so? Isn’t anyone linked to terrorism supposed to be diligently prosecuted by a competent court of law, rather than the court of public opinion? Many traditional rulers had been deposed on that account in the past both within and outside the state. It’s not as if it’s a new phenomenon.

But, in this case, the Katsina Emirate Council, from where the sack letter emanated, appeared to distance itself from the issue, shying away from the responsibility by linking the investigation to the state government: it was the state government that was said to have conducted the investigation and found him guilty, letting the emirate convey its message.

But, methinks, the former district head would be the last person to have links or sympathy with bandits: for one thing, he was directly affected when his half-brother was kidnapped by the bandits last year. I am a witness, because we were detained in the same camp when my daughter and I were kidnapped last year.

I know how the bandits called and disgraced him on the phone many times. They threatened him times without number, to the extent that at a time, it was rumored that he stopped passing the night in his house for a long time. So, to speculate without any evidence is totally unfair to him.

Secondly, I know the effort the deposed district head made in securing his domain: he organized for the establishment of a vigilante organization that patrolled and is still patrolling the town and has kept the terrorists at bay for more than a year now. The committee that gave birth to the establishment of the vigilante organization is headed by Alhaji Tijjani Mamman.

And, Alhaji Shehu Ibrahim Bakori, the former General Manager, Katsina State Radio, witnessed several sittings of the committee. This is something that has received wide coverage in the newspapers and radio commentaries which attracted commendation from all over the country.

I recall a popular activist, Hajiya Naja’atu Muhammad, citing Bakori and Kurfi as reference points when it came to defending their towns by the local vigilante organizations. I, personally, reported this effort in two letters to the editor, which were published in Daily Trust Newspaper. I, similarly, reported it in a documentary on our kidnap story produced and aired by Trust TV.

Thirdly, many of his subjects consider him to be one of the best district heads to ever rule Bakori town. He is humble, without an iota of arrogance. He is respectful to all and sundry. As a district head, he never feels too big to attend the wedding fatiha of his subjects or condole those who are bereaved.

But what surprises me the most is the deafening silence that followed his dethronement: nobody is asking questions about how he could hoodwink everyone trying to protect his domain and, at the same time aiding and abetting what he is trying to protect. Is that possible? … not his subjects, not those he turbanned with one traditional title or the other… and there are plenty of them. But people are complaining in hushed voices. They are seeing conspiracy in the whole saga. They do not believe it is a coincidence, though.

 I think it’s time everyone came out and asked such pertinent questions that are begging for answers. Keeping mute is a disservice, not only to our former leader, but to ourselves as well.

Abdulkadir, a retired director from the National Broadcasting Commission, Abuja, can be reached on [email protected]

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