After many years of seeming political hibernation, former Governor Saminu Turaki of Jigawa State took the country by storm last week when he launched what was tagged the “green cap” movement, something similar to kwankwasiyya “red cap” political movement of Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano State. The event, held in Kazaure, attracted a mammoth crowd of Turaki’s supporters from Jigawa State and beyond. In fact, one can say without fear of contradictions that the event in Kazaure was one of the biggest political events held in Jigawa State in recent memory. Former Governor Saminu Turaki, who went into apparent political inactivity for some time after the end of the 2011 general elections, has now re-launched himself with a bang.
Kazaure was seething with people on Saturday as the town was overrun by the political supporters of former Governor Saminu Turaki. The outpouring of affection and love for Turaki was unmistakably on display. It was a demonstration of genuine love for Saminu Turaki, whose compassion for the people is so overwhelming to be so easily forgotten. In fact, former President Obasanjo himself had realized the extent of Turaki’s enormous popularity and wooed him to the PDP from ANPP.
And like magic, Turaki’s defection to the PDP in Jigawa State was a major political game changer in 2007. General Obasanjo is a master political strategist who knows how to identify popular politicians from opposition parties and lure them to the PDP. Just like the defection of Governor Aliyu Wamakko of Sokoto State to PDP in 2007, Turaki’s movement into PDP in Jigawa State had boosted its wobbly political fortunes.
What exactly makes Turaki tick politically in the politics of Jigawa State? Since 1999, Turaki is undoubtedly one of the most formidably popular politicians in Nigeria. And the only secret of his political success is the fact that he identifies with the needs of his people. His compassion respects no political boundaries. In fact, his doors are so open that the ordinary people have no hesitation approaching him with their problems. A leader should not detach himself from the needs of his people.
Compassion is a strong virtue in politics. Robert Green, the famous author of the 48 Laws of Power, says “generosity can disarray the most hardened enemy.” One can easily liken Turaki to the late civilian governor of Sokoto State in the Second Republic, Alhaji Shehu Mohammed Kangiwa. The two men have one thing in common: boundless compassion. In fact, it is no exaggeration if one describes Saminu Turaki as a reincarnation of Shehu Kangiwa in the politics of the north in particular and Nigeria at large.
Former Governor Tuiraki is a young politician with a vision. During his tenure as the democratically Governor of Jigawa State, he had brought Jigawa State at par with the challenges of modern development. His introduction of Information Technology as a tool for creating human capital for modern development is one of his enduring legacies. No nation can afford to ignore the challenges of the computer age. He established the Informatics Centre at Kazaure to provide training of world-class standard.
The informatics centre provides training opportunities not only for the indigenes of Jigawa State, but also other Nigerian students. Although he left office since 2007, Saminu Turaki’s legacy will always speak for him. It takes vision and forward-looking attitude for a leader to recognize the importance of human capital development. Whatever may be Saminu Turaki’s shortcoming, which is human, his achievements by far overshadow those perceived weaknesses. And the interesting thing is that the people of Jigawa State had demonstrated at Kazaure that Turaki is still too close to their hearts to be so easily forgotten.
Abdulrahaman Arzika Hamza,
No. 69, Ahmadu Ahidjo Crescent, Asokoro, Abuja. Email:[email protected]