50 years on: Arewa stands still for Sardauna, celebrates NNN at 50
By; Abdull-Azeez Ahmed Kadir & Jacob Onjewu Dickson, Kaduna
The entire defunct Northern region now comprising of nineteen states today Thursday, 14 January, 2016 stood still to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Premier of the region, Sir Ahmadu Bello Sardauna of Sokoto, his wife Hafsat, the Prime Minister of Nigeria, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewan, Premier of Western Region, Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola and many military officers of Northern extraction who were all assassinated by coup plotters on January 15, 1966.
The three-day programme was declared open at the Arewa House, Kaduna, attracting the traditional, political and business leaders from across Nigeria under the leadership of Justice Mamman Nasir, Galadiman Katsina; the first Northern region Minister of Justice under the Sardauna.
The roll call included Special Guest of Honour, President Muhammadu Buhari represented by Kaduna State Governor, Mallam NAsir Ahmad El-Rufai, several governors, led by the Chairman f the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Abdulazeez Yari of Zamfara State and Chairmn of Northern State Governors Forum KAshim Shettima of Borno State, traditional rulers led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, intellectuals represented by the Dan Masanin Kano, Dr Yusuf Maitama Sule and Chief Executives of legacy organizations of Sir Ahmadu Bello, prominent among whom was the Managing Director of New Nigerian Newspapers, Malam Tukur Abdulrahman, Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University Professor Ibrahim Garba, Rector of Kaduna Polytechnic Dr Muhammed Bello Ibrahim, Ambassador Marina Muhammed from Jamiyar MAtan Arewa among several others.
In his welcome address, Justice Mamman Nasir went memory lane and gave a vivid account of how the late Sardauna led the north with justice, fairness and equity to all irrespective of religion, ethnicity and creed.
He stressed that the late sage was so passionate about the North that he refused to be the Prime Minister but rather allowed his second in command, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa moved to Lagos for that exalted position.
Justice Nasir urged current leaders to eschew greed, embrace service to the people through due diligence, equity, justice and fairness as exhibited by the late Premier and his compatriots who were mowed down in cold blood fifty years ago.
Also delivering a key note address, Dr Yusuf Maitama Sule said Sir Ahmadu Bello led the defunct Northern region like a herdsman to his flock. He stressed that bond, trust and loyalty between a herdsman and his flock make the creatures follow his directives, his steps and actions with little or no persuasion and the late Premier embodied all that.
He asserted that the late Premier’s leadership philosophy is the solution to all problems facing Nigeria today; political economic, social and religious.
He explained that the entire northern region had just secondary schools; Katsina and Keffi when Sir Ahmadu Bello became the Prime Minister, but before his death, the nooks and crannies of the region witnessed explosion of the establishments of many schools up to tertiary institutions.
He asserted that while Chief Obafemi Awolowo was allocating 64 per cent of Western region annual budget to education, Sir Ahmadu Bello was allocating 75 per cent of the Northern region annual budget to education.
The oratorical Dan Masanin Kano pronounced that Nigeria under the current leadership will overcome most of its problems.
Chairman of Sir Ahamadu Bello Memorial Foundation Board of Trustees, Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu traced the history of the Foundation and why they decided to establish it. He urged leaders to emulate Sir Ahmadu Bello’s leadership qualities which took the region a leap higher in short term under the leadership of the late Sardauna who he said died with his accounts in red.
The events also saw the launching of the 50th anniversary special edition of the New Nigerian Newspapers. Launching the newspaper, Governor El-Rufai who represented President Buhari praised the effort out into making the edition a reality. ‘I have read through and it is a collectors edition” he said.
Also in attendance were families of some of victims of the coup such as Hajiya Saudatu Sani and her siblings whose father Ahmed Ben Musa popularly known as Ahamdu Lere was killed along with the Sardauna. Maimailari’s family, Colonels Pam, Kur and others.
From General Inuwa Wushishi, General Salihu Ibrahim, Shehu Malami, captains of industries such as Alhaji Muatalib, traditional rulers, women leaders such Pauline Tallen, Khairat Gwadabe among thousand others graced the event.
The event continues tomorrow Friday with Juma’at prayers for repose of the souls of the deceased, exhibitions and visits to legacy organizations established by the late Prime Minister . Saturday will feature a panel discussion under the chairmanship of General Theophilus YAkubu Danjuma with the topic; “Sir Ahmadu Bello: The Man, His Vision and the imperatives of good governance”. Sunday would be marked with Christian Church Service and prayers.
As at time of filing this report, Kaduna is a bee-hive of activities as a result of visitors that thronged the city which is regarded as the centre of the North and its political headquarters.
Hotels are the biggest beneficiaries, while souvenirs sellers and the food industry in the city are also making brisk profits.