Shinkafi: Vac­uum too dif­fi­cult to fill

Daily Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS - By Nasiru A. Shinkafi

Ad is t i n g u i s h e d le­gal lu­mi­nary, an in­ter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized in­tel­li­gence chief, an ac­com­plished po­lice of­fi­cer, a politi­cian and the Marafan Sokoto. Al­haji Umaru Shinkafi, with­out a doubt, lived a ful­filled life.

Born on the 19th of Jan­uary, 1937 at Kaura Namoda town in present day Zam­fara to Ha­jiya Aishatu Um­marun Ma­muda (daugh­ter of a for­mer Emir of Kau­ran Namoda) and Al­haji Ali Bisije, a pop­u­lar mer­chant. He joined the Nige­rian Po­lice Force in 1959 after a suc­cess­ful com­ple­tion of his elementary and sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion at the fa­mous Barewa Col­lege, Zaria. An as­tute in­di­vid­ual with a cu­ri­ous mind, Um­maru Shinkafi fur­thered his stud­ies and grad­u­ated with a law de­gree from the pres­ti­gious Univer­sity of Lagos in 1973 and was called to the Nige­rian Bar in 1974.

In 1975, he was ap­pointed as a Fed­eral Com­mis­sioner (Min­is­ter) of In­ter­nal Af­fairs. In 1979, he be­came the Direc­tor Gen­eral of the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Or­ga­ni­za­tion. This was an in­tel­li­gence or­ga­ni­za­tion which was the pre­cur­sor of the present day De­part­ment of State Ser­vices cre­ated to co­or­di­nate in­ter­nal se­cu­rity, for­eign in­tel­li­gence and counter-in­tel­li­gence ac­tiv­i­ties. He held this po­si­tion un­til Novem­ber, 1983 when he re­signed on grounds of prin­ci­ple. As the head of the NSO he fore­saw Buhari’s coup of 1983 and promptly in­formed the then Pres­i­dent Shehu Sha­gari’s gov­ern­ment of the im­pend­ing coup. In fact, he went pub­lic with this in­for­ma­tion in try­ing to de­fend him­self against ac­cu­sa­tions by Umaru Dikko, the pow­er­ful Min­is­ter of Trans­port un­der Sha­gari’s gov­ern­ment that the NSO with­held in­for­ma­tion about the coup. Marafan Sokoto was a per­fect and com­posed gentle­man even in times of se­ri­ous pres­sure. Serv­ing as the head of the se­cret po­lice in a demo­cratic gov­ern­ment earned him re­spect, praises as well as ac­cu­sa­tions of par­ti­san­ship by op­po­si­tion par­ties, es­pe­cially Obafemi Awolowo’s Unity Party of Nige­ria (UPN) and Waziri Ibrahim’s Great Nige­ria Peo­ple’s Party (GNPP). De­spite the chal­lenges, he re­mained fo­cused and ded­i­cated to his work as his main ob­jec­tive was to serve his Father­land.

Umaru Shinkafi was a grass root politi­cian who al­ways main­tained his con­duct and pop­u­lar­ity with his peo­ple be­cause there was never a time when his po­lit­i­cal party lost an elec­tion in his home­town, lo­cal gov­ern­ment and state. His ac­tive po­lit­i­cal his­tory dates back to 1989 as one of the pro­mot­ers of Nige­rian Na­tional Congress (NNC), a po­lit­i­cal as­so­ci­a­tion he formed. After the dis­band­ment of po­lit­i­cal groups by the Ba­bangida ad­min­is­tra­tion, the NNC later joined the Na­tional Repub­li­can Con­ven­tion (NRC) where he cre­ated the pop­u­lar “Choice 92”, a cam­paign group for his pres­i­den­tial am­bi­tion be­lieved to be the best cam­paign struc­ture in the coun­try then.

He was run­ning neck and neck with Adamu Ciroma in the pres­i­den­tial race un­der the plat­form of the NCR be­fore the can­cel­la­tion of the pri­maries and the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, but his party, the NCR, won the gov­er­nor­ship elec­tion in his state (then Sokoto State). Malam Ya­haya Ab­dulka­rim was re­turned as the Gov­er­nor of Sokoto State.

When Zam­fara State and Shinkafi Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment were cre­ated in Oc­to­ber, 1996 by the Abacha regime, Umaru Shinkafi’s party the Demo­cratic Party of Nige­ria (DPN) won the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment elec­tions in some lo­cal gov­ern­ments in­clud­ing his own Shinkafi Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment.

Umaru Shinkafi sub­se­quently ran as the VicePres­i­den­tial can­di­date of Olu Falae un­der the APP/AD’s al­liance (to­day’s APC). Though they lost to Obasanjo and Atiku, he how­ever main­tained his po­lit­i­cal rel­e­vance and pop­u­lar­ity by pro­duc­ing many gov­er­nors in North­ern Nige­ria in­clud­ing his own Zam­fara State. De­spite the pro­cliv­ity of Nige­rian politi­cians to switch par­ties when things don’t go their way, Umaru Shinkafi never switched par­ties no mat­ter the hur­dles en­coun­tered in his po­lit­i­cal party. His party (ANPP which later be­came APC) re­mains un­beaten and re­tains power in Zam­fara State to date.

As a se­cu­rity ex­pert, he was one of the lead­ing ad­vo­cates of State Po­lice when in Jan­uary 2012, he is­sued a pol­icy pa­per de­mand­ing for the cre­ation of state po­lice to tackle Boko Haram and other mod­ern crimes which was ti­tled “State Po­lice: A Pol­icy Op­tion for Cur­rent In­se­cu­rity.”

Baba Marafa, as he was fondly called by most peo­ple in the state, par­tic­u­larly, in­di­vid­u­als from his lo­cal gov­ern­ment in Shinkafi, was a very gen­er­ous in­di­vid­ual. His hands and doors were al­ways open ready to help any­one in need. There is hardly a house­hold in Shinkafi that has never ben­e­fit­ted from his gen­eros­ity. I know many peo­ple were al­ways as­sured of new clothes for the an­nual Eid el Fitr cel­e­bra­tion as well as a ram for the Eid el Kabir cel­e­bra­tion.

As a young lawyer, I have never met an in­di­vid­ual as highly placed and in­flu­en­tial, yet as hum­ble and down to earth as Umaru Shinkafi. I can vividly re­call the last time I had the priv­i­lege of meet­ing with him some­time in De­cem­ber, 2015 when he re­turned from med­i­cal treat­ment in Lon­don. I was in the com­pany of the present Shinkafi Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Chair­man, Honor­able Sani Mo­hammed Gal­adi. As soon as Umaru Shinkafi was in­formed we were in the wait­ing area to see him, he had us ush­ered into his liv­ing room where he was stand­ing wait­ing to re­ceive us. We en­gaged in a wide dis­cus­sion as well as ar­gu­ments on many is­sues of na­tional im­por­tance. It didn’t mat­ter if we op­posed his opin­ions and views, he lis­tened calmly with a smile on his face. He was nei­ther of­fended nor per­turbed by our op­po­si­tion to his views.

He is sur­vived by three wives, Ha­jiya Fa­tima Umaru Shinkafi fondly called Ha­jiya Dammu (the daugh­ter of Late Ma­gaji Lamido Shinkafi, the 9th Emir of Shinkafi) Ha­jiya Yawade Umaru Shinkafi and Ha­jiya Luba­batu Umaru Shinkafi (the daugh­ter of the late Sar­dauna of Sokoto) and five chil­dren, Ha­jiya Zainab Bagudu Shinkafi (wife of the Kebbi State Gov­er­nor), Ha­jiya Hadiza Ab­du­laziz Yari (wife of the Zam­fara State Gov­er­nor), Ha­jiya Fa­tima Umaru Shinkafi (Com­mis­sioner for Com­merce & In­dus­tries, Zam­fara State), Haf­sat Umaru Shinkafi and Ahmed Umaru Shinkafi (fondly called Sar­dauna).

Shinkafi’s de­par­ture has left a big vac­uum that is dif­fi­cult, al­most im­pos­si­ble to fill. May Al­lah grant him eter­nal rest and ad­mit him to Jan­natul Fir­daus.

Shinkafi Esq is a le­gal prac­ti­tioner and pub­lic af­fairs com­men­ta­tor (nasskf@ya­hoo. com)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.