If it is possible for the people of Kano to turn back the hands of the clock, they would have done so just to bring back their late former governor, Abubakar Rimi, who died nine years ago. Writes BASHIR MOHAMMED.
Last week was exactly nine years Nigerians and indeed residents of Kano received with shock the demise of a man whose pedigree on the political space of the nation served as a role-model to those who consider politics as their chosen career.
His death, although not a surprise to anyone considering the fact that as mortal, he was destined to die and return to his creator. The circumstances that preceded his death was, however, the only thing that baffled everyone as it happened a day he returned from the coronation of the Emir of Dass, Alhaji Usman Bilyaminu Usman who happened to be the son of his late bossom friend, Alhaji Bilyaminu Usman.
Blueprint can recall that the late Rimi was in the palace of the late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, to greet him before his departure to Dass for the coronation, however, none of them had a premonition of what would happen that day as they never met again.
This late first civilian governor of Kano was reported to have developed a heart failure on his way back to Kano following the attack by armed robbers. Even though no injury or gun shot was inflicted on him, Blueprint gathered that the development caused a severe psychological trauma on him.
Having been widely recognised as a man of exceptional humane person whose influence and populist appeal was unprecedented, he was buried amidst tears running down the cheeks of those who knew his antecedents as a politician who left an indelible mark on the sands of time.
At the time his corpse was brought to the palace of Ado Bayero for final burial, even the monarch never had the opportunity to catch a glimpse due to the unprecedented crowd seeking to bid farewell to the man they widely touted as one of the nation’s most popular politicians in contemporary history.
A man of unparalleled history
It was, however, the contention of those who had been living witnesses to the burial of eminent personalities in Kano over the years that the burial of Rimi was undoubtedly unique in the sense that no burial had ever attracted a mammoth crowd like his own, since it took the convoy conveying the corpse to the emir’s palace 10 hours.
For those who considered the 9th anniversary of his death as worthwhile, they were quick to pronounce that being the first civilian governor of the state, he had appreciably effected a unique paradigm-shift in making Kano a formidable bastion of excellence in leadership and good governance which had served as a role model to his admirers who had served along with him.
With his monumental strides still making positive impact on the lives of the people of Kano, the late Rimi had also been acclaimed to be a true champion of rural transformation, considering the stunning pace with which he made the lives of rural dwellers comfortable through the provision of the most basic infrastructure like electricity and water.
He was also acknowledged to have focused attention on making the metropolitan city of Kano unique and a fountain of attraction to tourists and other citizens across the country.
His contribution to the academia was also unprecedented given the frequency with which he attended various academic workshops convened to brainstorm on knotty issues affecting the political future of the country, knowing that he had a spectacular role to play in proffering lasting solutions to myriad of woes permeating the nation.
At the time he parted ways with his mentor, the late Malam Aminu Kano on what was believed to be the result of ideological altercation, the late Rimi responded to his ardent critics that despite such an altercation, he still cherished the good side of his mentor, saying that in politics, misunderstanding even occurs between a son and a father.
However, with the advent of the Fourth Republic and the military junta handing over power to civilian, Rimi demonstrated his capacity to assert his relevance on the political scene by attempting to contest for the seat of the presidency along with other leading political heavyweights who are also believed to possess the wherewithal to pull a surprise.
Using his vocabulary to scare those he believed should be sent packing, Rimi fought Obasanjo to a standstill at the time he blatantly sought to extend his tenure in office beyond the stipulated constitutional provision, believing that allowing Obasanjo to perfect his game-plan would be a great disservice to the nation’s democratic system.
With no looted funds traced to his bank account at the time he relinquished power in 1983, Rimi had continued to enjoy the tremendous goodwill of his ardent loyalists, political associates and admirers, knowing that his amiable disposition was what endeared him to the people.
Mourning him nine years after had noticeably revived the pain, sorrow, anguish and tribulations in the minds of those who utterly believed that a maverick political colossus is gone and his maverick ideological disposition is still being used to reawaken the confidence of those treading his footsteps in the politics of the nation.
With the 9th year anniversary being observed, prominent opinion leaders have paid glowing tribute in an aura of pathetic emotional frenzy.
According to Alhaji Musa Danbirni, a prominent politician in Kano, the late Rimi lived a worthy life considering the giant strides he made in the saddle of authority ranging from building high profile infrastructure and various edifices that can stand the test of time.
He pointed out that without his absolute show of patriotism, Kano would not have risen to greater height, affirming that he propelled the state to a greater height with the meagre grants received from the federation account and that the quantum of projects he executed were enough to call him a patriot.
“As far as I am concerned, Rimi was honest in managing the resources of Kano with no traces of brigandage linked to his person. He was honest because of his low-profiled living style. If he had wanted to accumulate ill-gotten wealth, he would have done so but he simply refused to be swayed by the lust for money.
“His ideological disposition made Nigerian politics most enticing and attractive. He was hated by his critics for what he stood to protect in the face of the grueling excesses of the forces of tyranny and savage exploitation. H was loved by his millions of admirers for standing to fight for their rights, liberty and. exploitation under the tutelage of some centrifugal forces.
“I still find it most expedient for both the federal and Kano state governments to name some prominent places after him for the citizens to remember and cherish his unforgettable stewardship. He was a rare gem and a personality of great substance.” he said.
Speaking in the same vein, a political admirer of the late politician, Malam Ibrahim Gabari said no civilian governor in contemporary political history has satisfactorily lived up to his billing than the late Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi for what he did for Kano people with the little grant he received from the federation account. He said with looting being promoted to high heavens by the present crops of politicians, public treasury is only left at the mercy of some unpatriotic Nigerians.
“What we are witnessing today is pathetic. The nation’s treasury is not secured to guarantee our future. The politics of ideology and patriotism is over. What we now have in power is a legion of looters not patriots. Rimi had indeed passed the litmus test of his personal integrity and belonged to the ages. What is now most needed is for the rest of us to emulate his exemplary character.”
However, with the 9th anniversary of his death being observed across Kano and other notable places, what is now on the lips of political pundits and other respected opinion leaders in Kano is whether the federal and state governments would expedite action on the clamour for naming prominent places after him in order to make his immortalisation a reality.