Home OPINION Sam Mbakwe the Crying Governor

Sam Mbakwe the Crying Governor

Justice Watch News Nigeria

By Isyaku Ibrahim

It was on record that Nigeria’s second republic, which produced  Alhaji Shehu Usmanu Aliyu Shagari as president and Dr. Alex Ekwueme as vice president, was short-lived due to military intervention. However, it was adjudged to be the best in terms of performance in recent times.

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If you examine the traits of the previous nineteen state governors from 1979 to 1983, when the government was ousted by military junta under General Muhammadu Buhari, you will find that their work rate is unmatched compared to present development. Similarly, at the center, one cannot compare the efforts of Alhaji Shehu Shagari with those of successive administrations, as the difference is clear.

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For instance, consider the crop of members in Kano State’s Legislative arm during the time they were considered the most educationally backward. Despite this, they effectively served the greater majority and were statistically ranked first among equals nationwide, regardless of their deficiency in Western education.

Looking at leaders like Lateef Jakande, Solomon Lar, Mohammed Goni, Abubakar Barde, Aper Aku, Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar RIMI, Tatari Ali, among others, it becomes evident that they were holistic architects of modernizing their respective states.

In Kano, if we review the foundation laid by the second republic administration, which comprised present-day Kano and Jigawa, some of the outlined blueprints are yet to see the light of day. For example, the proposed Glass Industry around Dambatta and Kazaure axis, as well as the Kano Market situated at Zoo Road, remain excellent initiatives aimed at making the defunct Kano state economically viable.

Turning to Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa of defunct Kaduna State (comprising present-day Katsina), it is on record that within less than two years, he steered the activities of the old provincial capital of the northern province. He navigated the affairs of the northwestern state single-handedly, without the assistance of executive council members.

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Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa, the first administrator to be impeached in Nigeria’s political history, worked creditably well above successive governments in the state, despite the meager resources available during that period. Despite existing arch rivalries with the NPN-dominated House of Assembly under Speaker Mamman Abubakar Dan Musa, he achieved remarkable goals, including the establishment of cottage industries across the former 14 Local Government Areas, aimed at ensuring accelerated development and curtailing rural-urban drift.

Now, on the major topic of late Sam Mbakwe of old Imo State—the “crying Governor” who ruled the South Eastern State from October 1979 to December 1983 under the Nigeria People’s Party (NPP)—he was undoubtedly among the best crop of leaders who served their people to the best of their ability during that period.

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It is said that some of the projects he initiated before the military intervention were abandoned in present-day Imo and Abia states due to reasons that could not be disconnected from envy and jealousy.

However, the most amazing attribute of the former Chief Executive during the second republic—one that will remain in the annals of history—was how he openly wept whenever he went to President Shehu Shagari seeking favors. Unlike the present situation, where such requests often serve selfish ends, Sam Mbakwe’s tears were aimed at enhancing the well-being of the ruled.

This singular habit endeared him to the commoners, despite the staunch political animosity of the second republic. Even though the president and the governor were loyalists of different parties, President Shagari did not hesitate to give the go-ahead whenever Sam Mbakwe approached him on such matters.

This singular habit, which endeared him to the commoners, happened on many occasions despite the staunch political animosity of the Second Republic. As the President and the Governor were loyalists of different parties, the former would not hesitate to give the latter the go-ahead whenever he came on such matters, hence nicknamed the crying Governor.

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This absolutely shows the esteemed love and affection the previous crop of leadership held for their subjects, which is incomparable to what currently obtains. This time around, the bulk of them did not have such wisdom or vision when approaching their masters to ask for one thing or the other for the benefit of the general.

To wrap it up, it is our wish that those shouldered with the responsibility of controlling the arms of government nowadays will emulate this wise attitude, so as to become shining examples in the midst of their various communities, particularly when their terms have elapsed.

Honestly, this is a fact that must be told, as sooner than later, they will come back and intermingle with the wider society. Without much ado, what you reap is definitely what you will sow.

Isyaku Ibrahim is a Kano-based journalist and public affairs commentator.

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