The current generation of youth will not know Senator Sabo Bakin Zuwo. The youth voters, about 76 million of them, will vote in the election that will hopefully take place in February 2023. Many of them will be voting for Senator Bakin Zuwo without knowing they are voting for him. Therefore, an introduction to Senator Bakin Zuwo may be necessary so that these huge numbers will take informed electoral decisions and cast their ballots intelligently so that Nigeria will be better.
Bakin Zuwo was a little schooled. He began primary school at the age of 16 at an adult literacy primary school in Kano, Kano State. He also attended an Igbo community school in Sabon Gari, in Kano. He later attended a course in local government at the School of Administration of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. But he was so proud to tell whoever cared to listen that he attended Aminu Kano school of politics. Aminu Kano was the 'talakawa' politician in Kano that gave the Northern Peoples Congress, NPC, the party that held sway in the vast north, a run for its money in the first republic. Aminu Kano took sides with the talakawas' which means the poor. He led them against the oppressive rule of the oligarchy in the North - the emirs whose authority derive from religion and custom and not the ballot box. They were and still are autocratic and their word is the law. Aminu Kano led the talakawas' against them and called their bluff.
With this very little education and with vast experience in Aminu Kano politics, Bakin Zuwo made it to the senate of Nigeria's second republic. You wonder how a man with no more than a primary school education is in the Senate! That's the Nigeria magic; in the North and through the North to the entire Nigeria, you can become anything whether you went to school or not. In fact, the less education you have the better for you. If you speak turenchi, (English) too much, an ordinary trader or peasant in the North will ask you for the address of your father's house in London. Despite Barkin Zuwo's little 'turenchi,' he not only made it to the Senate, but he also became the governor of Kano State, one of the most complex and politically fiery states in Nigeria. At the Senate, Bakin Zuwo was reported to have sponsored more bills than any senator. And as governor of Kano State, he made a mark. He became governor in October 1983, and was until December 31, because Major General Muhammadu Buhari and his team terminated Nigeria's second republic in a coup that day.
Those three months were enough for Bakin Zuwo to show his style. When a rude journalist had the temerity to ask him how many minerals his state of Kano had, he answered boldly: “We have Coca Cola, Danta Cola, Fanta, Pepsi Cola and so many.” When the military went to search his house, they found a princely sum of N3.4 million, the equivalent of our billions today. Another rude journalist asked Bakin Zuwo why he kept that huge amount in his house and with gusto, he answered the reporter: “Government money in Government House, what's wrong with that?” Promptly the military tribunals created by the no-nonsense Buhari jailed Bakin Zuwo for 300 years. He tucked Zuwo away perpetually, he must not see the light of day again, Nigeria must be rid of Bakin Zuwo.
Bakin Zuwo was an above-six-footer. He was as bulky as he was tall. He was a man mountain. He walks with majesty and his figure and tone of speech could drive fear into any man. By 1989, Bakin Zuwo had died. The coup of another general, the gap-toothed self-styled Prince of the Niger, Ibrahim Babangida that toppled Buhari had saved Bakin Zuwo from perpetual jail. But 32 years after, in 2022, Muhammadu Buhari who was sacked in a palace coup found power again as president of Nigeria. Bakin Zuwo too has resurrected. And he is resurrected with more power and has given Buhari more run for his money than he gave him in 1983. They say when a man resurrects, he does with more power. It seems that Bakin Zuwo has not only resurrected, but he has also mutated. General Muhammadu Buhari dealt with one Bakin Zuwo as a military leader, but he is dealing with more Bakin Zuwos now. Bakin Zuwo has cornered power in all the government houses in the 36 states and Abuja, the federal territory. Bakin Zuwo is not only in the Government Houses in the states, but he could be found in the senate, and the House of Representatives; he is in the federal Cabinet, even the State Assemblies, and also commissioners in the states. Bakin Zuwo has mutated in the rank and file of the civil service and parastatals. He is an official of NNPC, the nation's oil corporation and he is stealing crude oil and even imported petroleum, selling them and keeping the money away in his numerous houses or in dug-out pits or overhead tanks.
Nigeria has no crude oil to export again, to the extent that Nigeria is broke. Bakin Zuwo is very angry and is revenging the evil that Buhari did to him in 1983 by committing him to jail for 300 years. He won't even show mercy to Buhari for the pardon given to him by IBB, the pardon itself from the perspective of Bakin Zuwo demonstrates that Buhari is wrong and vindictive, that there was no justice in his actions. Bakin Zuwo is bent on revenge and Buhari is in deep trouble. With gusto, Buhari in cahoots with Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, concocted a strategy to tame the Bakin Zuwos. The naira must be redesigned so that all the monies the Bakin Zuwos have either stored in their homes or buried in soak-away pits will become useless if the Bakin Zuwos do not return them to the banks before 31 January 2023. Muhammadu Buhari does not have absolute power now, unlike in 1983, he shares power with the two houses of the legislature, the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the judiciary. And resurrected Bakin Zuwo has mutated in all the members of the legislature and even the judiciary. The senators rose to fight the naira design policy. They almost won as they threw the chamber into chaos in the course of debates. Luckily, the Bakin Zuwos lost out as the Senate, always bowing to Buhari, managed to provide legislative support to the policy. Meanwhile, Abdulrasheed Bawa, the chairman of EFCC, the nation's anti-graft agency keeps telling the nation that the rank of resurrected Bakin Zuwo is swelling. First, it was three states which nosy reporters found out to be Zamfara, Benue, and Rivers, now Bawa has announced that the number he has now is huge although he will not give specific figures or name the amount. Also, Zamfara, Benue, and Rivers States lie stashed away in various Government House more than 230 billion naira. Definitely, Buhari and Godwin Emefiele have a huge battle with Nigeria's resurrected Bakin Zuwo; so also the youth voters. Who will win? But if the youths allow these resurrected Bakin Zuwos back to the government, they would have ruined their future.
Tunde Akande is both a journalist and pastor. He earned a Master’s degree in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos.