They once occupied public offices and served meritoriously to the admiration of many, but long after that, even though they are still alive, not much has been heard about them again. ELEOJO IDACHABA asks where they could be at the moment.
Shem Zagbayi Nuhu
Dr. Shem Zagbanyi Nuhu was the deputy governor of Niger state between 1999 and 2007, during the administration of late Abdulkadir Kure. During their time, this Dikko-born Gbagyi man was also the commissioner for health, apparently because of his professional background. Zagbayi started his education at LEA Primary School Dikko in 1963 before enrolling at Government Secondary School, Kagoro, in Kaduna state in 1970, but transferred to Government Secondary School, Suleja, in 1973 and obtained his WASC in 1974. He was in Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria in 1975 and graduated in 1978 with a Second Class Honours (Upper Division) in Pharmacy.
He also did a postgraduate studies at the University of Bradford, England and graduated with a Master’s and Doctorate degrees in 1983 and 1985, respectively. Zagbayi who lectured at various times at ABU and University of Jos is said to be the first person to bag a doctorate in the entire Suleja Emirate. He had risen to the position of director in Niger state Ministry of Health before he joined politics in 1999. After he left office as a deputy governor in 2007, he went into a political hibernation. He, however, made a surprise return seven years after, precisely in 2014, this time as a senator representing Niger-east, a vacuum that was created by the death of Senator Dahiru Awaisu Kuta. His party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), shockingly gave him the ticket for the senatorial by-election which he won by defeating his main rival, David Umaru of the All Progressives Congress (APC). However, since Zagbayi’s tenure elapsed at the Senate in 2015 and he did not re-contest, nothing has been heard about him anymore. To that extent, no one knows where he is at the moment.
Isa Mohammed is a prominent international businessman before he joined politics immediately after the end of military rule in 1999. Shortly thereafter, he was elected to represent the people of Niger-south Senatorial District on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Born in 1948, Mohammed, who was a one-time chairman of NICON Abuja in the early 90s, attended Ansarudeen College, Isolo, in Lagos.
Popularly known as ‘Baba Director’ among the Nupe extraction, he was re-elected in 2003 into the upper chamber. While he was in the Senate, he was appointed as the vice-chairman of the Committee in Public Accounts. In October 2004, however, he made headlines for slapping a senator-colleague in the person of Senator Iyabo Anisulowo, who represented Ogun-west.
The fracas was reportedly due to committee funds. For his action, Mohammed was suspended from the Senate for two weeks. He later addressed a press conference and apologised to Anisulowo, her family, every woman and every Nigerian who were offended by his action. Speaking about it later, he blamed the devil for his action. In 2007, his bid to return to the Senate the third term was thwarted when Senator Zainab Kure defeated him at the primary election. In 2008, he bagged a chieftaincy title of Wazirin Nupe from the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar. Ever since, nothing has been heard about this ex-lawmaker who was about the most feared senator in the chamber on account of his fierce stance on national matters.
Bashir Bala, who is popularly known as Malam Ciroki, is one of the pioneers of Kannywood (the Hausa language film industry of Nigeria). Kannywood became popular in the 90s and Ciroki was a regular face on the screen mostly in comic roles. Born in 1969 in Kano, Ciroki stopped schooling as a teenager to join itinerant drama groups in order to eke out a living. Among the drama groups he plied his trade with were Rumfa, Tsintsiya, Nasiha, Hamdala and Zumunta.
His first TV appearance was on the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) in Kano as a dance actor in 1989. That same year, he was featured in a soap opera entitled, Duniya Kwallon Mangwaro. With the coming of Kannywood, he featured in over 200 films, but he became a household name across northern Nigeria when he featured in Daskin Da Ridi as a jealous guardian of his foster daughter. He got the name ‘Ciroki’ in the Cinderella-styled love story which also featured the late Hauwa Ali Dodo and Hafsat Mohammed. Among the hundreds of other movies Ciroki featured were Sumbuka, Tantiri, Abin Siri Ne, and Juyin Mulki. He also starred in Nagari, Jirwaye, Rusan Zuma, Linzami da Wuta and Dr Gulam which many critics continue to applaud them as his best.
However, since 2003, Ciroki who became a fan and delight of many Hausa film addicts is hardly seen in Kannywood movies. In an interview with the BBC Hausa, he attributed his absence to what he called directors’ lack of interest in him. This lack of roles had a serious financial strain on him to the extent that he allegedly resorted to hawking cheap soft drink known as kunun haya in Kano. When some his fans got the wind of his situation, he was supported with N215, 000 through a crowd-funding on Instagram.