IT could perhaps be the bad side of history when last week, the 92-year-old immediate past Wazirin Bauchi, Alh Muhammad Bello Kirfi was dethroned from the office he was hitherto occupying in the Bauchi Emirate Council for what some schools of thought perceived as mere political machinations.
So, that was history as it tells both the good and the bad sides of an event or happening, depending on through which window it is portrayed. And it has to be built on whatever it comes with for posterity to historically judge its outing, whether good or bad.
Eventually, it happened on Wednesday, January 4, 2023 when people learnt from the airwaves that the probably longest serving Wazirin Bauchi, Alh Kirfi was removed. The word ‘remove’ was so used by the state government to put the emirate council’s senior counsellor out of office.
It all started, based on a report from the corridors of power, that the state governor, Sen Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed instructed the Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs to write a letter to the then Waziri, Muhammad Bello Kirfi, taking him the portfolio of the senior counsellor and member of the Bauchi Emirate Council.
It was also the copy of the letter that was sent to the emirate council to not only endorse it, but also officially replicate it, thus lending credence to the sacking from office of Waziri Bello Kirfi as it partly reads: “I am directed to refer to the letter received from the Ministry of Local Government Affairs of reference No: MLGA/LG/S/72/T dated December 30, 2022.
“The content of the said letter indicated your disloyalty and disrespect to the executive governor of the state and the government. It therefore directed for your removal with immediate effect.
“In view of the above, you are hereby removed from office as Wazirin Bauchi and also as member of Bauchi Emirate Council.”
The state commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon Abdulrazaz Nuhu Zaki while fielding questions from the press, confirmed the dethronement of Waziri Muhammadu Kirfi.
Hon Nuhu Zaki said that, “Yes, they brought me a letter about the removal of Alhaji Muhammad Bello Kirfi as the Wazirin Bauchi, and he was replaced with Garkuwan Bauchi who was promoted to the traditional title of Wazirin Bauchi.”
However, one Nasiru Ibrahim Darazo who spoke on behalf of the dethroned Waziri family said that the removal of Kirfi was politically motivated because the act was not perpetuated by the Bauchi Emirate Council, instead, the council was instructed by the Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs to strip the Waziri of his traditional title.
A resident of the Bauchi metropolitan area, Suleiman Hassan Isa Ba’agale while reacting to the incident, described it as unfortunate, but urged the removed Waziri to accept the fate, saying however that as an elder statesman who has attained the age of 90, he should digress from partisan politics.
A close associate of Bello Kirfi, Mr Lawan Muktari Ladan told LEADERSHIP Weekend that the removed Waziri as an elder statesman and member of the Northern Consultative Forum (NCF) and a confidant of the former vice president and had counseled the Bauchi State governor to step down for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the 2023 presidential race.
“The political misunderstanding between the removed Wazirin Bauchi and Governor Bala Mohammed started preparatory to the conduct of party primaries in the country, when the governor and former vice president, Atiku Abubakar both members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the North East geopolitical zone, each indicated interest to run for the office of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“This issue of the presidential race between the duo was compounded when the governor refused to close ranks with Atiku for him to stand in the presidential race. The two political gladiators eventually started their electioneering campaigns for the primary elections in earnest, moving round the country to canvass for support.
“Since the conduct of party primaries in which the former vice president, Atiku Abubakar emerged the presidential flagbearer of the PDP, the political relationship between Governor Bala Mohammed and the removed Waziri who was a confidence of Atiku was distasteful, likewise between Atiku and Bala who refused to step down for him.
“The removed Waziri was said to have campaigned to some party faithful to elect Atiku as the president of the country in the forthcoming general elections. He however told the faithful that as for the election of the governor of Bauchi State, each eligible voter can choose to vote for any candidate of his choice, adding that all the gubernatorial candidates in the state across party lines are his sons. Hence, he cannot single out any one of them to be voted for.”
It was probably those political machinations coxed by the removed Waziri that provoked or irritated his son and governor of the state to fume for the dethronement of perhaps the longest serving Wazirin Bauchi, Alh Kifi, and his immediate replacement a day after the incident with the then incumbent Garkuwan Bauchi, Muhammad Kari who was said to have been promoted to the higher traditional title holder and senior counsellor of the position of Wazirin Bauchi; his turbaning ceremony took place 48 hours after the Kirfi’s removal.
The removed Waziri has however responded to his sack in a press signed by the spokesperson of the family, Barr Yakubu Bello Kirfi saying that “Unambiguously, the matter is currently before a competent court of jurisdiction.”
In the statement, the legal practitioner said, “Our attention has been drawn to the publications on the 8th and 9th of January, 2023 respectively, by some media organisations quoting Alh (Dr) Muhammad Bello Kirfi (CON) to have said that, he would unseat Gov Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed (Kauran Bauchi) in the forthcoming governorship election in Bauchi State.
“The story is unfounded and not genuine. Religiously, as strong believers in the Islamic Article of faith, we believe power belongs to Allah alone. He Gives it to whom He wishes, and takes it when He wishes.”
It said the issue of removal as Wazirin Bauchi and council member by the state government via the emirate council has generated controversies in and around the state, as people from all walks of life trooped to the house of Alh Kirfi on sympathy and solidarity visit. “It’s much appreciated,” the barrister said.
“Now that the issue for the removal of Alh Muhammad Kirfi as the Wazirin Bauchi has laid before a court of competent jurisdiction, the outcome or verdict of the court(s) is to be anxiously awaited, not only by the removed Waziri and his family members, but even by family members of the promoted Garkuwan Bauchi to the title of new Waziri, as well as members of the general public.”
Also, the dethroned Wazirin Bauchi, Dr Muhammad Bello Kirfi said Wednesday in Bauchi that he regards his removal from office in the Bauchi Emirate Council as a simple incident.
“I regard the incident as a simple incident. As you know, I’m one of those who stood for him to become the governor, and instead I was a little bit disappointed that this is the worst he can do to me,” he said.
While fielding questions from journalists at his Bauchi Ahmadu Bello Way residence, Alh Muhammad Kirfi said, “But it doesn’t matter because I’m not getting anything with the office which I have been holding in the emir’s palace. Yes, I’m not a paid officer; I don’t take any salary. I’m a part-time member of the council.”
Kirfi explained that the removal does not move him at all, saying “The way I brought him in will also be the way he would get himself out of power. I leave everything to Almighty Allah; He will judge what is between me and him.
“When I saw the reported statement credited to me that I would remove him out of office, I was highly disturbed because everyone knows that I’m a true believer of the Islamic faith and I fear God in all my doings.”
The 92-year-old said, “It’s God that gives power. When we are trying to remove that one, it’s to Allah that we prayed; we didn’t ask any person. So, when I saw the reported statement credited to me, I was terribly disturbed.
“I’m not the one that created him. What I actually know is that I assisted him, and God in His desire gave him the power. So, why should one say I would remove him from power when I was not the one who gave him? Maybe, the reporter acted in that way only to get money or to please other people. You know some people do not know the majestic, magnificent God.
“Some people, many of whom I don’t know, that publicly demonstrated their frustrations over the issue who were hitherto not interested in performing their civil rights to vote have now turned out to collect their PVCs at the INEC distribution centres or polling booths truly to cast their votes on the election day because of the support they have for me.”
He attributed the people’s demonstration to the understanding about his patriotism and the desire to assist those in need of his favour or counselling. “So, it is a blatant lie that I said I would remove the governor from office.”
Kirfi however thanked journalists who besieged his residence to hear his version of the incident, saying “God knows that I didn’t utter those words credited to me, but Allah is the ever-knowing. I’m not an illiterate person and I know everything depends on God the Almighty.”