The abrupt dethronement of former Wazirin Bauchi, Mohammad Bello Kirfi by the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed has been presumed a political miscalculation that might cost the governor his ambition in the coming weeks.
Elected as the governor in 2019, Bala is seeking reelection for a second tenure, but the recent face-off between him and the dethroned Kirfi could impede his plans.
Last week, Kirfi, a prominent stalwart of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was stripped of his title [Wazirin Bauchi] and delisted from Bauchi Emirate Council following a directive from the government. The decision stemmed from alleged disregard for the governor.
It was not the first time Kirfi would be disgraced by the state governors. However, this is the first time the ousted Waziri would be replaced after his removal.
SERIES OF SUSPENSIONS AND REINSTATEMENTS
Kirfi had suffered a similar fate in the past. He was first suspended by former governor Ahmed Adamu Mu’azu and reinstated by Malam Isah Yuguda after the latter emerged as the new governor.
In 2017, Kirfi was suspended by the then-governor of the state, Mohammed Abubakar for openly supporting the candidacy of Governor Bala at the Government House.
For the third time, Kirfi was reinstated on August 5, 2020, after Bala emerged as the governor in 2019, an election the embattled Kirfi put his weight on.
Because of his contribution to Bala’s victory, two of his children were appointed commissioners to reward the 91-year-old Kirfi — Barrister Yakubu Bello Kirfi as Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of the state and Saadatu Bello Kirfi as Commissioner for Cooperatives, Small and Medium Enterprises Development.
THE DRAMAS AFTERWARDS
Although Barrister Yakubu Kirfi was dropped from the cabinet before Sa’adatu was nominated, she, however, resigned from the cabinet following her father’s removal as Wazirin Bauchi.
Subsequently, Bala’s Senior Special Assistant SSA on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Harsanu Yunusa Guyaba, and the Deputy State Chairman of the PDP, Bala Hadith, also resigned.
A source close to Bala told WikkiTimes that the governor was chided by some aggrieved youths who attempted to deny him access to the palace even though it has become a norm for him to freely access the emirs’ palace on Fridays.
Sources say, the youths, during the wedding of the Emir’s daughter, barricaded the palace’s entrance until “his (governor) security personnel forcefully dispersed them.”
An ardent party loyalist believes that the faceoff would no doubt affects the governor politically. This is evident as Kirfi vowed that he would work against Bala in the forthcoming gubernatorial election. According to him, Bala would be removed from office the same way he was brought in.
WikkiTimes had reported that the residents of Gwabba and Ganjuwa communities in the state have pledged their political loyalty to Kirfi ahead of this year’s gubernatorial election.
Speaking during a solidarity visit to the elder statesman at his residence in Bauchi, they described Kirfi as “not only a father but also a leader who symbolises the yearnings of his people.”
This is to say that the elder statesman is getting public sympathy while the governor is being criticised.
GENESIS OF THE RIFT
While the state government is claiming that the former Waziri was ousted from the emirate council because of what it described as “disloyalty and disrespect toward the state governor”, the rift between the duo started last year, when Bala indicated his interest to contest for president under the umbrella of the PDP.
He reportedly consulted Kirfi, but the statesman advised him to shelve his ambition and allow Atiku Abubakar, the Wazirin Adamawa and former Vice President to claim the ticket.
Despite being in the same party as Atiku, Bala on several occasions alleged that the former vice president was treating him badly and working against his bid for re-election just because he contested against him in the party’s primaries.
Moreover, Kirfi held a stakeholders’ meeting at his residence in Bauchi just a few days before he was sacked and reportedly directed his loyalists to mobilise for the presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar “only”, but had not made up his mind on whom to support for the governorship election in the state.
This was the last in the row of why the governor directed Kirfi’s removal.
In no time, Bala picked a new Wazirin Bauchi Alhaji Muhammad Uba Ahmed Kari (who is not popular as the deposed Waziri), from another zone of the state — central in particular leaving the north, his home zone in regret and grievances.
Moreover, political analysts believe Bala will never get the votes he expects from the zone where the new Waziri comes from. According to them, that is not just because the new Waziri’s zone shares a border with that of Sadique Baba Abubakar, Bala’s closest rival and the APC gubernatorial candidate, but also because the sacking of Kirfi as Wazirin Bauchi is already creating nightmares for Governor Bala.
The fact is that things are going out of hand for Governor Bala with respect to Kirfi’s removal as the Waziri. The rift soured and a new Waziri was turbaned.
BUT THERE IS A WAY OUT
While the mild war lingers, Bala could only exploit other strategies for winning the election but for Waziri’s support “the one that brought him to power”, the red line has already been drawn and “missiles” have started firing. The competition on who will make and mar between Kirfi and Bala would only be assessed after gubernatorial polls. But analysts believe Bala could still wither the storm. One of the ways to do that is to align himself more prominently with the masses. It means more incentives, and more empowerment for the vulnerable, the less privileged and the youth. Many also believe he needs to raise new frontiers of powers that could decimate Kirfi’s influence, particularly in areas the former Waziri holds sway for ages. All these and more will help Bala Mohammed silence Kirfi’s influence. But it has to be done dispassionately. In doing so, he must defy emotions– but above all, he needs good advisers and political strategists who have a good sense of judgment and who are also ready to relegate emotions.