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The man lives in Dawisu

The man lives in Dawisu
March 02
12:44 2021

BY ADAMS ABO’NU

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Upon a casual introspection of the issues that have bedeviled Nigeria recently, the name of Salisu Tanko Yakassai should gather significant reckoning for having the sheer guts to speak truth to power. Salisu, also known as Dawisu in popular parlance is the erstwhile Spokesman of Kano Governor Umar Ganduje and son to second republic politician and venerable statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai. Without denying that the acclaimed giant of Africa is passing through the most turbulent waters threatening to rock her ship of state, at a time when the courage of conviction of many wax low, the examples in patriotism being led by some Nigerians at the corridors of power are quite assuaging.

Nigeria’s dance around the brink is fueled by the inaction or ill-time response of those who swore an oath to safeguard the lives and properties of her citizens as typified by the incoherent approach of President Muhammadu Buhari at the face of national apprehension. From the savannas of Sokoto to the creeks of the Niger Delta, Nigerians are being massacred and their individual dignity trampled on by a bandit of terrorists, yet the incumbent regime carries on with reckless abandon.

It’s widely expected that an administration that rode to power on a populist goodwill garnered albeit through divisive propaganda should approach governance with a human face. However, what obtains in present-day Nigeria where terror seems to have held every organ of state hostage runs far short of any reasonable expectations. That President Buhari, a supposed champion for change, would have to be prevailed upon before he finds it apt to address and allay the tensed minds of his countrymen does not only amount to maladministration but is as callous as it comes. No single day passes these days of nightmares that the lives of Nigerians are not extinguished in the most bizarre manner akin to a country at war with herself.

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When Dawisu defied the narrow expectations of elements of his All Progressives Congress (APC) party last October and called on the president to come out and address the nation at the face of nationwide protests by youths demanding an end to police brutality and bad governance in Nigeria, his principal responded, rather cowardly and suspended him from his position. Though he was to resume back at his post with the responsibility to defend his boss after a few weeks, Salisu had made a bold statement and exhibited the DNA of courage passed down to him from the elderly Yakassai. It’s the hallmark of noblemen to speak against a tide that afflicts their nations and the Yakassais have demonstrated this trait in their courageous interventions regardless of the consequences.

By removing Dawisu from his appointment, Governor Ganduje has inadvertently relieved the gentleman of the burden of defending a political system that has failed in their primary aspiration of safeguarding those they seek to lead. While wallowing in their alternate planet where they think nothing out of the ordinary is happening in Nigeria as regards the near state of anarchy in the land, it is safe to remind organs of the APC about the futility of trying to gag dissenting opinions who seek to save this macabre dance to the abyss of chaos. Nigeria is in crisis and if it takes the ranting of people with a conscience to wake our leaders to their responsibility to salvage the circumstances, then so be it.

When our venerable Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka aptly asserted that “the man dies in all who keeps silence in the face of tyranny,” in his prison notes published in 1971, he was referring to those, unlike Dawisu who are in positions to speak the truth no matter whose ox is gored but chose to cowardly defend the incompetence of their principal authority. Forgetting the transient nature of power, there are those media aides around the powers that be at Aso Rock who chose obeisance to the constituted authorities of their principals above patriotism to their fatherland. It is encouraging to see that the man did not die in Dawisu when he asked these constituted authorities to resign if they continue to fail in their oath of service in preventing the debacle afflicting Nigerians from the terror of insecurity ravaging the land. The man lives in any compatriot who stands in the interest of the majority of countrymen without minding the loss of the perks of being in government or the fury of the oppressive consequence of dissension.

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That institutions of state who should accord more priority to tackling the menace plaguing the land than trying to shut down a dissenting voice of reason tells of the nature of our national response and further gives verve to the widespread suspicion of insincerity on the part of constituted authorities. In taking custody of Dawisu, the authorities have demonstrated an adage in popular parlance that while you could force the horse to the river, you cannot force it to drink water.

Dawisu’s courage of conviction that emboldened him to speak up against the insincerity of the government’s response to the reign of terror in Nigeria, a government he gave the best of his sound intellect to defend these past harrowing years is an example of patriotism and is worthy of making a rallying point. Though there is the tendency of opposing political interests to harp on this example, its exemplary significance deserves emphasis.

In the Nigeria that would evolve after these perilous times, the courage to stake the lures of political patronage at the altar of national sacrifice would be essential. The times are queer and make a demand for those who mean well for the continual existence of the country to rise to the occasion.

Bravo, Dawisu!

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Abonu, a development journalist and political activist, wrote from Asokoro, Abuja via [email protected]

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