The New Waziri

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Daji Sani writes on the pomp and responsibilities that come with Atiku Abubakar’s new title in Adamawa

The appointment of former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, as the new Waziri did not come to many by surprise following his supports and patriotism to the development of the Lamido’s Emirate Council and Adamawa State.

By his appointment, the former Vice-President is the highest in the hierarchy of kingmakers and next to the Lamido of Adamawa, Dr. Barikindo Musdafa. When the king dies, he is also endowed with greater influence in determining the next Lamido by virtue of his position as the second in command.

Usually in the emirate, apart from being the most senior in the hierarchy of kingmakers, the Waziri also takes charge of the administrative affairs and other matters of the Kingdom before a new Lamido is enthroned.
The Waziri must command some level of respect and influence within and outside his community. He must be a man that is endowed with wisdom and has experience to be able to advise the Lamido as well; that is why the appointment is usually given to a man with vast influence, affluence and reputable character traits like Atiku.

The appointment came after the demise of the former Waziri, Alhaji Muhammad Abba in April this year. The emirate had to shop for a credible person to replace him and the mantle fell on Atiku Abubakar after a lot of deliberations and consultations within and outside the kingdom.
Atiku who was the Turaki of Adamawa before his elevation as the new Waziri had to relinquish his former title of the Turaki to his son, Aliyu, who was also appointed by the emirate as the new Turaki to step into his father’s shoes.

According to a close associate to the Lamido, “it took us about two months to come up with the name of the new Waziri.” He further explained that it was not one person that nominated the name of Atiku and his son but an agreement of the emirate following the duo’s huge contributions to the state. He said the selection followed due process and it was not sentimental because there were benchmarks set in place by the emirate for the selections.

Shortly after the letter of the appointment was handed to Atiku, the Information Officer of the Emirate Council, Mallam Muawiyah Abba, confirmed the development to journalists in Yola, noting that the Waziri is the most senior kingmaker in the emirate and serves as a close confidant and adviser to the Lamido.

Abba explained that the Council had also conferred the title of Turaki Adamawa, hitherto held by Atiku, to his son, Aliyu. “It is true that the emirate has appointed Atiku Abubakar as the new Waziri of Adamawa while his son, Aliyu, is also appointed as the new Turaki Adamawa to take over from his father; the new Turaki is also a grandson to late Lamido Adamawa, Alhaji Aliyu Mustafa,” Abba said.

On June 3, the Kingmakers, Councillors and District Heads of Adamawa Emirate Council paid homage and solidarity to Atiku over his appointment as the new Waziri of Adamawa.
According to them, the appointment of Atiku made him the next in hierarchy in the emirate to the Lamido of Adamawa. Speaking on behalf of the kingmakers and others, the Galadima of Adamawa, Alhaji Mustafa Aminu, congratulated Atiku and pledged their loyalty to him.

“Congratulations and may God guide you and give you long life and good health to discharge this deserving responsibility,” Aminu said. “You are fit for this position because of your total loyalty and support to the development of the emirate. Since independence of Nigeria, no citizen of the emirate had shown love and patriotism to Adamawa.
“You promoted Adamawa to the world and may Allah bless you and give you more health and long life to continue the good work.”

Responding, Atiku thanked them for the visit and called for more unity in developing Adamawa. “I want to thank God for this day and to use this opportunity to thank the Lamido of Adamawa for giving me the position of Waziri, and that of Turaki to my son, Aliyu who is the grandson of the late Lamido Aliyu Mustafa,” he said. “I want to thank you for this visit to pay homage and celebrate with me so that we can unite and work together for the progress of the land and our people.”
He promised that he was going to use his wealth of experience to design programmes to empower, mostly, the youths and women in the state. He also thanked friends and well-wishers in Adamawa, Nigeria and worldwide who felicitated with him over the new appointment.

Highlights of the occasion were the offering of special prayers and the presentation of the official number plate of the number two man in the emirate to Atiku.
However, his appointment and that of his son, Aliyu, have been attracting a lot of criticism and condemnation in the state. The former Vice-President’s critics were not concerned with why Atiku was elevated but they said it was too much for the father and son to occupy the two very important positions in the emirate council, adding that one day, in the future, it may result to a palace coup.

They further explained that the reason given that the former Vice-President’s son, Aliyu is the grandson of the late Lamido of Adamawa was not enough reason to give the young man the former title of his father when the father is elevated as the new Waziri because the late Lamido has a lot of illustrious grandsons and daughters who may be fit for that position.

However, some of the criteria used to come up with the new Waziri was the fact that Atiku has contributed to the emirate and the state and his loyalty to the emirate cannot be disputed by anyone.
Some of Atiku’s contributions to the economy of the state include the establishment of several business entities that have created job opportunities for more 10,000 people both indirectly and directly in the state and beyond. This has boosted economic activities in the state. For instance, Adama Beverages Company, the producer of Faro bottle and sachet water and Faro juice of different varieties distributed across the country is one of Atiku’s businesses. Other employment ventures include credible investments like the American University of Nigeria (AUN) and Gotel Communications, which comprises Gotel Television and Gotel Radio.

The advent of the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-east forced many school children out of school to roam the streets of Yola, the state capital and other safe cities in the state. It became challenging to accommodate the numbers of the school children and their parents displaced by the insurgency in the few government schools in the state. The development motivated AUN, one of Atiku’s brainchild, to seek supporters abroad to deal with the menace by introducing programmes like ‘Feed and Read’, ‘After School Project’ and the popular TELA programmes which uses radio as a medium to teach and reach out to more than 700 designated learning centres supervised by an instructor.
These AUN initiatives were able to help more than 20,099 out-of-school kids and children of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to be able to read in six months.

Atiku has also used AUN to donate relief materials to the IDPs severally and give out upgraded seedlings to farmers to enable farming activities, especially to the seven local government areas captured by the insurgents before they were liberated from the grip of the insurgency by the military.
However, the title of Waziri comes with enormous responsibilities and this could mean that Atiku might have to drop his presidential ambition to concentrate on the development of the state.