Salisu Maikasuwa, Ruqayyat Rufai Ahmed: Where are they now?

If records are not properly kept, in a few years from now, not many people would remember these three individuals who once occupied strategic positions in the country. ELEOJO IDACHABA in this report seeks to know they are now.

Salisu Maikasuwa

He is the man that the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, would remain forever grateful to for his role in his emergence as the leader and third most important man in Nigeria after President Muhammadu Buhari. Without him, it would have been impossible for the activities that took place on the floor of the upper chamber on Tuesday, June 9. As a result of this, both the All Peoples Congress (APC) and the Presidency accused Maikasuwa of double-dealing and connivance after ignoring instructions to put the inauguration on hold while APC senator-elects meet with President Buhari at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja.

His last known public appointment was as clerk of the National Assembly until 2016, after assuming the position in 2010. According to Samuel Odaudu, “Maikasuwa is a courageous technocrat and outstanding statesman who resolutely stood with Nigeria’s democracy and Nigerian people at one of the most critical times in the nation’s political vicissitudes.”

During his time as clerk in NASS, despite the turbulence in the two chambers associated with the demand on the lawmakers to invoke the famous Doctrine of Necessity in order to swear in Goodluck Jonathan in place of then ailing Umaru Yar’ Adua, he was able to stabilise the assembly. An astute administrator, this Nasarawa state-born public servant left an indelible imprint that made it easier for his successor, Sani Omolori, to follow. He, however, was not without any scandal as investigation revealed that between 2009 and 2015, the management of NASS led by Maikasuwa and his predecessor, Yemi Ogunyomi, violated the Money Laundering Act (2004, 2011) in banking transactions leading to the withdrawals of about N42 billion. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), however, said the Presidency and the APC were trying to intimidate the clerk over the election of the President of the Senate and House of Representatives speaker.

Long after he left office, not much was heard about him until sometime in early 2018, when he indicated interest to contest the governorship seat of his state on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). It was believed that stakeholders under the aegis of Coalition for Good Governance and Civil Participation from the southern zone, Nasarawa Youth Mobilisation for Good Governance from the northern zone and Nasarawa West Zone for Credible Leadership had called on him to throw his hat into the ring in view of his charisma. In accepting the challenge, he thanked the stakeholders who also indicated the party on which he was to run. Although he was not successful all through the primaries, indications emerged that he is someone who has the support of his people.

It is rumoured that he is now a lecturer in the Department of Public Administration, Nasarawa State University, Keffi.

Ruqayyat Ahmed

Until 2013, she was the minister of education under former President Goodluck Jonathan, a position she occupied in 2010. A university professor, she was at various times commissioner in her home state of Jigawa. As commissioner, she said she was always ashamed when faced with the challenge of low enrollment of the girl-child in Jigawa, and wondered why the state could not enroll more girls in schools. She was noted for banning the use of mobile phones in secondary schools due to their distracting influence on students. Following the defection of seven PDP governors and dozens of lawmakers which split the party, the President Jonathan relieved her and nine other ministers of their positions in 2013. Shortly after that, she told journalists that she was going back to the classroom to teach.

“I am going back to resume my job as a professor of Curriculum Studies at the Bayero University, Kano; that is where I came from on secondment. We should know that a time like this will come because if it does not, death is surely an end,” she had said.

Under her watch, there was a speculation that the University Matriculation Examination (UME) and the National Examinations Council (NECO) were to be scrapped. She, however, came out to deny the rumour, saying, “As far as I am concerned, it is a whitepaper based on the Orosonye committee, but the whitepaper has not been officially communicated to me. So, I am not in a position to take any decision or pass any comment on that. For now, we are not in a position to say anything.” She was to contest a position in the House of Representatives to represent her people of Ringim/Taura federal constituency in 2014.

She has not been in the public square for a while.

Isah Mohammed

He was a former military governor of old Gongola state under former Military President Ibrahim Babangida. He also won election into the Senate to represent Niger Central on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) between 1999 and 2007. Senator Mohammed can best be remembered as the lawmaker that slapped a female colleague over some disagreements that bothered on a dispute related to disbursement of funds outside the lobby of the National Assembly; a development for which he was suspended for two weeks.

While in the Senate, he was appointed vice-chairman of the Public Accounts Committee in October 2004. Senator Mohammed, the Wazirin Nupe who, it was gathered, turned 71 recently, is described as an ace politician who has greatly contributed to the socio-political development of the country in general and the state in particular. According to Governor Sani Bello of Niger state, “Senator Isah Mohammed has lived a fulfilled life as an illustrious son of Nupe Kingdom; hence, we celebrate with him as he attains the age of 71.”

It is believed that age is no longer on the side of this former military officer who is now retired to his home state, according to pundits.

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