Maman Taraba: the predicament of a decent politician

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Haruna Mohammed Salisu

This piece is neither motivated by the ardent love and deep seated passion I have for Maman Taraba nor it is by my curiosity to write on Taraba politics that is characterized by rascality, religious bigotry, money politics and the desperation of a few cabals who would stop at nothing to remain in power.

I am motivated to write this piece for three reasons: the political decency exhibited by the only woman who would have emerged as the first elected female governor in the event where the cabals were also decent democrats; the predicament that befalls any decent politician like her in a society where decent politicking is considered political miscalculation and cowardice and the murky waters of political godfatherism that has bedeviled the political landscape in the country.

Senator Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan fondly called Maman Taraba by her fans started active politics in 2010, contested senatorial position and was sworn in as Senator representing Taraba Northern constituency. Since she assumes politics in the state, her love and identification with the common man have catapulted her popularity and acceptance among the masses.

Though a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a party that impoverished Nigerians for 16 years of misrule, systemic corruption and disgusting political indecency, Maman Taraba defy all odds to be identified with such characteristics. She adopted, nurtured and played people’s oriented politics, decentralized her campaign strategies and gave listenership ears to the need of the common folks.

In the whole of Taraba state, without fear of any contradiction, no politician has contributed personally in the areas of empowerment like her. She did not only train women and youths, but also empowered them on different kind of businesses like tailoring, trained and empowered women and youths with more than a thousand computers, tricycles, motorcycles and other different kinds of businesses and all these were done in thousands.

Her political exuberance gave her the audacity to stand alone and defied the urge of repressive politicians who wanted to make her their subservient political agent who would represent their interest against that of the masses whom she found reason to treasure.

Maman Taraba stood firm, informed by her resilience and dogged political moves to embrace the masses, she established one of the most decent political movements devoid of political gangsterism. Her campaigns were mostly focused on issues that have direct bearing on the masses rather than attacking personalities.

Her refusal to be a political god-daughter to the desperados, her insistence on people’s oriented politics as confined in the character of a true democrat exposed her as a helpless political prey that is socially excluded from the crop of “the cabals”.

The true democratic characters exhibited by the trained lawyer turned democrat could not go down well with the cabals who saw that their tyranny would be brought to an end in the event that she is elected as a substantive Governor. And so from the time she emerged as the APC governorship candidate to the time she was “defeated” in the Supreme Court, Maman Taraba was hacked down by the cabals using all available means within their reach. Many factors were manipulated that lead to the predicament of this decent politician.

As I noted earlier, religion is one of the factors that was manipulated and subsequently became an Achilles hill against her. Although, as evident in the outcome of the election, Mama has wide popularity even among Christians, but some misinformed ones were convinced that a muslim governor in the state will work against them and favour their muslim “enemies”, therefore nemesis will befall them in the event such is allowed.

Money politics was used to hoodwink people in the political struggle in the state. Since Mama refused to be sponsored by some vested interest and political godfathers, she was left alone to fight her battle with only the support of the downtrodden whose voices are not heard in an indecent political arena that is at play in Nigeria and Taraba in particular.

Money was not only used to hire thugs, alter the decision of some election officials, subvert the right of the people to exercise their franchise and make damning destructions, but there were also allegations that some judges and lawyers were bribed with millions of naira to suppress justice against her.

All these boiled to the fact that the few cabals who saw that there would be a great “danger” that portends them, and that it will not be “business as usual” if Aisha Alhassan is sworn in as governor have indeed proven their worth in stopping at nothing to deny her the opportunity.

Many questions will be bagging for answers in the midst of the above controversies.  For instance, what would be the future of Taraba politics in the light of the above factors? How far would this administration of President Muhammadu Buhari go in shaping politics in the state and to whose favour? What would be the future of Maman Taraba as far as governorship race in state is?

An intelligent projection will postulate that she will remain active in the state politics; and the present administration known for its justice and change mantra may not fold it arms and allow injustice prevail at the expense of the masses.

Her current position as a Minister, her continued popularity among the masses, support from academics, technocrats, civil servants, well wishers and writers including yours faithfully will wait patiently for 2019 to join yet another political battle that will presumably turn the tide of things in the state and secure a place for Maman Taraba in the state and upturn the predicament of a decent politician like her.

Haruna Mohammed Salisu writes from Bauchi. He could be reached at 08063180608 or [email protected]

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