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How FG’s Cash Grant is being politicised in Kebbi

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Governor of Kebbi, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu

As the 2023 general elections draw closer, some 11 gladiators are aspiring to replace the current governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu.

Kebbi State, which was carved from Sokoto State in 1991, has had all its governors from Gwandu Emirate, one out of the four emirates that make up the state. The four emirates are Gwandu, Yauri, Arugungu, and Zuru. Past governors of the state are Senator Adamu Aliero and Usman Saidu Dakinari and the current governor, Bagudu, who all hail from Gwandu Emirate.

However, there is a clamour among other emirates for a change in this state of affairs. They are set to challenge the dominance of Gwandu and also have opportunity to govern the state. Our correspondent gathered that out of 21 local government areas in Kebbi State, Gwandu Emirate has the largest councils, with a total number of 11 while Arugungu Emirate has three councils, Zuru four and Yauri three local government areas, respectively. The odds of producing the next governor still favour Gwandu Emirate.

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Among those aspiring for the 2023 governorship position, five are from Gwandu, two from Arugungu, two from Zuru and one from Yauri Emirates respctively. But those from Gwandu Emirate have better chances on account of Gwandu’s numerical strength. The two top contenders – Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Jika Mallami and the National President of Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Nasir Idris – are from Gwandu Emirate while Kaura Gwandu, Abubakar Mallam, a former customs’ controller, General Bello Sari Yaki (rtd), and a state Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Alhaji Mohammed Duste Mari are also from Gwandu.

From Arugungu Emirate, there’s Mohammed Mera, a former Deputy Customs Controller and a younger brother to the Emir of Arugungu, Senator Issa Galaudu, Senator Yahya Abubakar, and the Chief of Staff to Governor Mohammed Suleiman. From Yauri Emirate hails the current SSG, Alhaji Babale Umar Yauri Mni, and from Zuru Emirate are Senator Bala ibn NaAllah and professor Kaoje.

Mallami has an NGO, Kadimya Foundation through which he assists the less privileged and communities across the state. Through it, he has built classroom blocks, a healthcare facility and continues to make financial contributions to needy communities. Also, Idris has supported vulnerable people through NUT members.

Recently, the Mallami Foundation donated over 300 wheelchairs and cash to people with disabilities while the state government, through the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs office, also flagged off cash grants for rural women.

While speaking to some of the youth in the state, a politician, Alhaji Kabir Gaiynt, said the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs’ programme has nothing to do with Mallami foundation, adding that Mallami Kadimya Foundation is supporting people because of the founder’s own governorship ambition. He, however, said that the cash grant is a Federal government initiative, which had also been launched in other states.

Gaiynt added that the only candidate that is salable is the NUT National President, Nasir Idris, because of his past record and his relationship with people at the grassroots.

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According to him; “I have full confidence that if the ticket of governorship is given to Nasir Idris, he can deliver the dividend of democracy to the electorate. But Mallami can only used his power and position to win the seat but not with the people’s vote.”

Also speaking, one of the supporters of the Kadmiya Foundation, Hon. Issa Hassan, said that Kadmiya has been in existence before the Federal Government’s cash grant, while the foundation has nothing to do with the owner’s political ambition.

He said; “You see, he is doing it to support the less-privilege and vulnerable people. Mallami is a man of integrity and he is a charismatic leader. Let me tell you this, even before Mallami became a minister he had been assisting people and donating items to communities and Mallami relies on God, not anybody.”

The Guardian investigation further revealed that the cash grant programme, which is supposed to reach target audience, has been hijacked by some greedy politicians and government officials. A source added that these unscrupulous officials allocated names of their family members as beneficiaries and not the real vulnerable women for whom the programme is targeted.

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Atiku BaguduKebbi State
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