Three hours after the impeachment of Mahadi Ali Gusau as deputy governor of Zamfara state, a senator, Hassan Muhammadu (known as Nasiha), walked with his supporters into the Ibrahim Mallaha Legislative Complex that houses the Zamfara State House of Assembly.
He was not there for a meeting. It was rather in a new capacity as the nominated deputy governor of the state.
The Assembly simply asked Mr Nasiha to submit his CV, take a bow and go. He was ‘screened’ and confirmed in five minutes.
In Zamfara State, Mr Nasiha is a name that rings a bell because he is widely known to be a man who can make ‘political sacrifices’.
Before he was appointed commissioner in 1999 by then Governor Ahmed Yarima, Mr Nasiha successfully ran a chain of pharmacies in the state with the name: Nasiha Pharmacy. He also started the first table water business in the state, named Nasiha Table Water.
Born Hassan Muhammadu on December 12, 1960 in Gusau, the new deputy governor is a professional nurse having bagged a diploma in Nursing and Midwifery from School of Nursing, Sokoto.
He got the name Nasiha from his business but before he delved into business, he worked as a bedside nurse in General Hospital, Gusau, for years after which he left to establish his pharmaceutical business.
In the build up to the 1999 general elections, Mr Nasiha was said to have supported the candidate of the then All People’s Party, Ahmed Yarima, with money.
He also provided drugs and medical services to party loyalists free of charge. When Mr Yarima was elected governor, Mr Nasiha was amongst his first set of appointees as commissioner.
First, he was posted to the health ministry and then commerce and Industries. He was also commissioner for environment, water resources, land and housing as well as local government and chieftaincy affairs from 1999 to 2003.
In the build up to the 2007 general elections, Mr Nasiha and other politicians from the Zamfara Central Senatorial zone, specifically Gusau, the state capital, began an underground campaign for the seat of the state governor to be shifted to Gusau.
Mr Nasiha, then speaker of the house of Assembly, Mamman Bawa; Bature Umar – Sambo (two terms Commissioner); Danbuba Gusau (two terms Commissioner) among others were determined on making Mr Yarima pick the next governor from among them. As destiny would have it, Mahmud Shinkafi emerged.
Mr Nasiha, who had by then become more influential, was ‘compensated’ with the ticket to represent the senatorial zone.
At the Senate, he was appointed to committees on Science & Technology, Public Accounts, Marine Transport, Health, Gas and Employment, Labour & Productivity.
But he was there for only four years (2007 – 2011) when the Yarima – Yari ‘political tsunami’ wiped them off after decamping from ANPP to PDP. He was defeated by Kabiru Marafa of the ANPP in 2011.
For the eighth years that Abdulaziz Yari ruled Zamfara State, Mr Nasiha remained with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and was its Chairman from 2015 to 2019 when he won the Senate seat again under the PDP.
Several political pundits may find it weird for a senator, and chairman of Senate Committee on Ecology and Climate Change, to leave his position and accept to be a deputy governor.
Others may argue that with the kind of influence he has on Mr Matawalle, the new deputy governor would not have had any problem retaining his Senate seat. So why then accept to be deputy governor, a job usually widely derided in Nigeria as that of a ‘spare tyre’?
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that Mr Nasiha has been eyeing the governorship seat of the state since 2007.
It is believed that his decision to fight for the seat was an effort to get himself better positioned in the politics of the state to fulfill his ambition of becoming the governor in 2027.
PREMIUM TIMES had extensively reported how Mr Gusau was impeached by his colleagues months after he parted ways with Governor Bello Matawalle after he refused to join him to defect to the APC.
They were both elected on the platform of the PDP after the Supreme Court disqualified candidates of the APC, who was initially declared winner in the 2019 governorship election.
The House had served Mr Gusau the impeachment notice through the Secretary to the State Government before asking the Chief Judge to constitute an investigative panel to verify the allegations against the deputy governor.
The House, through its Chairman, House Standing Committee, Shamsudeen Basko, accused Mr Gusau of three offences.
These are “abuse of office, criminal self-enrichment using public funds and failure to discharge official duties.”
Mr Basko said: “Abuse of office. This includes Constitutional breach of sections 190 and 193 (1), (2) (a)(b)(c), of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
“Criminal self-enrichment using public funds; includes criminal diversion of state funds, conspiracy to defraud the state and approval of dubious retirement in his office.
“Failure to discharge constitutional duties, which give rise to insubordination,” he added.
Mr Gusau insists he is being victimised for refusing to join the governor in the ruling APC.
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