By Bala Ibrahim
The dictionary describes a warrior as a person engaged in, or experienced in warfare. In my native Hausa language, a brave man who shows great vigour or courage in hunting, is given the name “Maidawa”. This is because of his constant courage and intimacy with the bush or forest.
There is a direct link in meaning between the hausa “maidawa” and the warrior, which the English dictionary envisages, or even endeavoured to describe. Both have aggressiveness as a common denominator, and it is that aggressiveness, as expressed by the provoked Governor of Kebbi State, His Excellency Abubakar Bagudu that prompted this little article.
Before last week, when some gunmen attacked the Federal Government College Birnin Yauri of Kebbi State, wherein they killed a police officer and kidnapped at least 80 students, along with five teachers, I never know His Excellency Bagudu is a warrior, or an indigenous “maidawa”. Thanks to the recklessness of the bandits, who provoked him into revealing his identity.
Irked by the attack, which was the third assault by armed gangs on a school or college in less than a month in northern Nigeria, Governor Bagudu, in the midst of two of his counterparts, the governor of Jigawa state, H.E. Badaru Abubakar and that of Ekiti state, H.E. Kayode Fayemi, made a vow before a large gathering of his supporters, who were in the Government house to commiserate with him over the ugly incident, that never again would they allow bandits to attack them and get away with it.
Addressing the crowd in hausa and in fury, Bagudu said, “Iam not joking, I have even extended an invitation, I would speak with the leadership of the security agencies and we shall storm the bushes, as well as invite the neighbouring states to join us in the forest. And for those who dont know, Hassan the warrior is my uncle. I have made an invitation for a jamboree in the jungle”.
The crowd busted into a shout for joy, in evident praise or endorsement of the governor Bagudu’s bravery.
Apart from Governor Bagudu, Kebbi state is known to have a large number of army generals, serving and retired, one of whom is the Emir of Zuru, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Sani Sami (rtd).
Like Bagudu, the Emir, short of going into combat uniform, admonished the bandits and charged the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 8th Division in Sokoto, Maj. Gen. U. A. Yusuf, to engage his men in more aggressive patrols and effective smart ambushes on the insurgents, with a view to cleansing the area and bringing back the students safely.
Emboldened by the bravery of Bagudu and the marching orders of the President, security personnel, supported by the local vigilantes, went in pursuit of the bandits, raiding their hideouts in the forests and villages, with remarkable success.
Reports have it that some suspected gang leaders were arrested, just as the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), which detected the bandits’ enclaves, helped in facilitating the smooth coordination of the troops’ operations.
As of yesterday, not less than 100 of the bandits were gruesomely murdered by the military, while a few of the students have been rescued. Although a student is said to be among the dead, the bandits have never had it so bad in any operation ever.
This is the second bravery Governor Bagudu is displaying this week. The first was leading the progressive Governors forum to pass a vote of confidence on Governor Mai Mala and the members of his CECPC, for a job well done. And the second is the disclosure of his hidden “maidawa” credentials.
I used to think Governor Bagudu is only an accomplished economist and experienced politician. Unknown to me that the man is also a great warrior, lying underutilized in the comfort zone of the Government house, Kebbi.