Umaru Shinkafi dies at 79

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - By Mah­mud Jega, Shehu Umar, Gusau, Isi­aka Wak­ili & Musa Ab­dul­lahi Kr­ishi

One of Nige­ria’s most prom­i­nent politi­cians, el­der states­man and for­mer pres­i­den­tial as­pi­rant Al­haji Umaru Shinkafi, Marafan Sokoto, died in a London hospi­tal yes­ter­day. He was 79. His daugh­ter Ha­jiya Fa­tima Umaru Aliyu Shinkafi, who is the Zam­fara State Com­mis­sioner for Com­merce and In­dus­try, con­firmed his death and said he had suf­fered from a heart ail­ment for some time.

Born in Jan­uary 1937, Shinkafi went to Barewa Col­lege, Zaria in the 1950s and there­after joined the Nige­ria Po­lice in 1959. He started as an In­spec­tor based in Enugu and rose through the ranks to head the po­lice’s Spe­cial Branch in Enugu dur­ing the Nige­ria Civil War. He was the Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice in Oyo State in the early 1970s. In 1975, Gen­eral Mur­tala Mo­hammed ap­pointed Shinkafi as the Fed­eral Com­mis­sioner [i.e. min­is­ter] of In­ter­nal Af­fairs. In Oc­to­ber 1979, Pres­i­dent Shehu Sha­gari ap­pointed him Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Or­gan­i­sa­tion [NSO], the po­si­tion that earned him a rep­u­ta­tion as Nige­ria’s su­per spook.

Shinkafi re­tired from the NSO in 1983. In 1985, he was con­ferred with the tra­di­tional ti­tle of Marafan Sokoto. That year he also mar­ried his third wife Ha­jiya Luba­batu, youngest daugh­ter of the Sar­dau­nan Sokoto Sir Ah­madu Bello. In 1986 the headed the pres­i­den­tial panel that rec­om­mended the split­ting of NSO into three or­gan­i­sa­tions, in­clud­ing the State Se­cu­rity Ser­vice, SSS. Shinkafi be­came in­volved with Third Repub­lic pol­i­tics dur­ing the Ba­bangida regime and soon be­came one of the coun­try’s most pow­er­ful politi­cians. He con­tested for the pres­i­den­tial ticket of the cen­tre-right Na­tional Repub­li­can Con­ven­tion [NRC] in 1992. His Choice 92 campaign or­gan­i­sa­tion was one of the best or­gan­ised in the Third Repub­lic. The NRC pri­mary race ended in­con­clu­sively, with Shinkafi and Malam Adamu Ciroma slated to go for a runoff elec­tion. Be­fore that hap­pened how­ever, the Ba­bangida regime an­nulled the party pri­maries and banned the two men, along with 21 other prom­i­nent as­pi­rants, from pol­i­tics.

Shinkafi was not ac­tive in pol­i­tics dur­ing the Abacha years but in 1998 he emerged as one of the top lead­ers of the All Peo­ples Party [APP], which later changed its name to ANPP. In 1999, APP en­tered into an elec­toral al­liance with the Al­liance for Democ­racy, AD. This al­liance fielded a joint ticket with AD’s Chief Olu Falae as pres­i­den­tial can­di­date with Shinkafi as his run­ning mate. They sub­se­quently lost the elec­tion to Chief Oluse­gun Obasanjo and his run­ning mate, Al­haji Atiku Abubakar.

Shinkafi con­tin­ued to play and ac­tive role in APP/ANPP in later years but in the last decade, he qui­etly with­drew from pol­i­tics, partly due to ill health. In his po­lice days he was a prom­i­nent polo player and a leader of the La­gos Polo Club. His daugh­ter Ha­jiya Fa­tima Shinkafi said yes­ter­day, “He is ex­pected to be flown back to Nige­ria and may be buried in Sokoto either on Fri­day or Satur­day, though no de­ci­sion has taken been taken on that yet.”

How­ever, Zam­fara State Com­mis­sioner for In­for­ma­tion, Cul­ture and Tourism Al­haji Umar Jibo Bukkuyum said Shinkafi would be buried in Sokoto on to­mor­row.

The el­der states­man was sur­vived by three wives and five chil­dren. Among his chil­dren is Ha­jiya Zainab Atiku Bagudu, wife of the Kebbi State Gov­er­nor, as well as Ha­jiya Hadiza Yari, wife of the Zam­fara State Gov­er­nor. Shinkafi was also el­der brother to for­mer Zam­fara State gov­er­nor Ma­muda Aliyu Shinkafi.

Buhari, Dog­ara, Tam­buwal, Atiku, Ba­farawa mourn

Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari yes­ter­day com­mis­er­ated with the gov­ern­ment and peo­ple of Sokoto State on the death of one of their il­lus­tri­ous sons, Al­haji Umaru Shinkafi.

Buhari, in a state­ment by his spokesman Femi Adesina, de­scribed the de­parted politi­cian, ad­min­is­tra­tor and tech­no­crat as an ex­pert whose con­tri­bu­tions to the devel­op­ment of the se­cu­rity ar­chi­tec­ture of Nige­ria, he said, re­mained in­deli­ble.

Buhari said oth­ers car­ried on where Shinkafi left off, re­call­ing that the for­mer Fed­eral Com­mis­sioner of In­ter­nal Af­fairs and head of the then Na­tional Se­cu­rity Or­gan­i­sa­tion (NSO) played front­line roles in the ac­tiv­i­ties lead­ing to the even­tual re­turn and en­throne­ment of democ­racy in the coun­try.

He urged fam­ily mem­bers, friends and as­so­ci­ates of the de­parted leader who held the Marafan Sokoto tra­di­tional ti­tle to take so­lace in the fact that he played the parts as­signed to him dili­gently, con­sci­en­tiously and pa­tri­ot­i­cally and en­joined them to em­u­late him.

Buhari prayed that Almighty Al­lah grant his soul eter­nal rest.

The Speaker of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, Yakubu Dog­ara, has com­mis­er­ated with the gov­ern­ment and peo­ple of Zam­fara State and all Nige­ri­ans over the death of Al­haji Umaru Shinkafi, Marafan Sokoto.

Dog­ara, in a state­ment by his spokesman Tu­raki Has­san, in La­gos, de­scribed the death of the el­der­states­man as a huge loss to the na­tion.

He said Shinkafi was a true demo­crat who con­trib­uted im­mensely towards the restora­tion of democ­racy in Nige­ria in 1999.

The speaker de­scribed the late Shinkafi as a bridge-builder and cos­mopoli­tan who lived a life wor­thy of emu­la­tion.

For­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Atiku Abubakar de­scribed Shinkafi as a re­mark­ably de­cent and dis­ci­plined politi­cian who would be greatly missed by Nige­ri­ans.

In a con­do­lence mes­sage is­sued in Abuja yes­ter­day by his me­dia of­fice, for­mer vice pres­i­dent re­called that the late Marafan Sokoto was one of the most in­tel­li­gent, vis­ceral and deeply in­formed and prin­ci­pled politi­cians he had ever known.

Ac­cord­ing to Atiku, the late Umaru Shinkafi was so in­de­pen­dent minded that he and his po­lit­i­cal as­so­ci­ates were de­nied reg­is­tra­tion by the Gen­eral Sani Abacha mil­i­tary gov­ern­ment, and that the de­ceased was never timid to force­fully ex­press his opin­ion on na­tional is­sues.

He also con­doled with the Shinkafi fam­ily, the peo­ple and gov­ern­ments of Sokoto and Zam­fara over the death of the Marafan Sokoto and prayed to Al­lah to grant Shinkafi an eter­nal rest in peace.

In his own mes­sage of con­do­lence, Sokoto State Gov­er­nor Aminu Waziri Tam­buwal de­scribed Shinkafi as a dis­tin­guished le­gal lu­mi­nary, se­cu­rity ex­pert, politi­cian with con­science and great com­mu­nity leader and mo­biliser.

“Marafa’s death has closed a chap­ter in the life of one Nige­ria’s most valu­able public of­fi­cers who made his mark in both public and pri­vate sec­tors. He was a truly pas­sion­ate Nige­rian whose in­valu­able con­tri­bu­tions to is­sues of na­tional in­ter­est will be greatly missed.

“His law of­fice served as train­ing ground for many as­pir­ing lawyers in Sokoto State and be­yond. While con­dol­ing his im­me­di­ate fam­ily, the peo­ple and gov­ern­ment of Zam­fara State and the Sul­tanate Coun­cil of Sokoto, Tam­buwal prayed to God to grant the de­ceased eter­nal rest.”

A for­mer gov­er­nor of Sokoto State, Al­haji At­tahiru Ba­farawa, yes­ter­day de­scribed the death of Al­haji Umaru Shinkafi as a mon­u­men­tal loss not only to the North but the en­tire na­tion. He de­scribed Shinkafi as one of the best dis­ci­plined, finest and in­tel­li­gent se­cu­rity of­fi­cers pro­duced by the na­tion.

The late Umaru Shinkafi

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