“Keep knocking on the devil’s door long enough and sooner or later, someone’s gonna answer you.”
The above phrase, spoken by American actor Terrence Howard in the popular 2005 movie Four Brothers, clearly depicts the unfortunate, untimely but not unexpected demise of the political career (at least for now) of Kano’s Commissioner of Works, Engr. Muaz Magaji, popularly called Dan Sarauniya.
Yesterday, the country was plunged into mourning, following the death of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, who passed away in a hospital in Lagos State after battling unsuccessfully with the novel coronavirus disease. (May his soul continue to rest in eternal peace).
While people of goodwill mourned, Dan Sarauniya took to his Facebook page where he penned a series of posts expressing his “delight” over the death of the late Kyari. Despite being notoriously famous for making very controversial and unnecessary provocative posts that were unbecoming of the office he occupied, such as those against the deposed Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, and one in which he made mockery of the Kaduna State Governor for expressing loyalty to his bossom friend, the emir, during his brief sojourn in Awe town, these particular posts were beyond his usual and expected standard. He went a step too far and this time around, the door he kept on knocking, was surely answered. Not long after he was basking in his self-admired handiwork, which sparked the ire and wide condemnation of the public including the media handle of a Presidential aide, the State Governor, announced his sack with immediate effect.
Although the swift reaction of the government attracted pockets of praises, we should not lose sight of the fact that it does not exonerate it whatsoever from sharing the blame of bringing the office and the state in general, into disrepute. As a matter of fact, this individual did not begin his show of uncouthness after resuming office. Rather, he has always been referred to as one with an erratic, and sometimes, extreme behavior. All one needs to prove this, is to take a stroll on his social media timelines.
But despite the public knowledge, the government still went ahead and appointed him, most likely in a bid to spite the opposition or maybe to even utilize him as a vociferous tool. Whichever reason it was; it was evident he enjoyed a free pass from the powers-that-be to not only ridicule himself but also denigrate the sanctity of the office he occupied, without giving any thought or respect to civil service rules. Ironically though, the letter effecting the sack, stated that: “The action of a public servant, personal or otherwise, reflects backs on the government and therefore, the Ganduje administration would not tolerate people in official capacities engaging in a personal vendetta or otherwise”. This underscores the skepticism some have expressed about the intention behind the sack.
While his appointment as commissioner was merited on the basis of his academic qualifications and experience, he evidently was not qualified on the basis of character and temperament. The office of a commissioner is exalted. It is one that requires not just an occupant with the requisite paper qualifications, but one with composure, focus, professionalism, emotional intelligence, interpersonal skills and a sense of awareness and realization of the fact that the office he occupies is a burden of responsibility that must be effectively discharged while at the same time projecting a positive image of the government. Clearly, it is not an office meant for the proverbial “bull in a china shop”.
Therefore, this presents an opportunity for the state governor, if he so wishes, to undo the oversight committed during the appointment of the disgraced former commissioner. At present, he is spoilt for choice as there are quite a number of suitable and competent candidates to choose from. Some of whom, in a short period of serving in government, have shown signs of promise. Most importantly, this presents an opportunity to entrust the youth constituency within the administration with such a responsibility. The choice of a replacement should not be subject to the usual political intrigues and wrangling. Although consultations are necessary, it should not be allowed to drag on unnecessarily. It should be done and over with. With the state struggling to battle COVID-19, it cannot afford a distraction.
As for the former commissioner, I hope he uses the time he has been afforded to reflect on his character faux pas and make necessary adjustments. Surely, karma served him a cold dish. And should he choose to go ahead with some of the threats of “revelations” he made in subsequent posts after he was sacked, he should know that is also welcomed. Perhaps, it might just serve as a first step towards redemption and also offer an opportunity for the people of Kano to know what truly occurred in the 2019 gubernatorial election.