Malagi: The New Determinant In Niger Politics?

By Mohammed Baba Busu

Indeed, last weekend was an eye opener as far as the politics of Niger state is concerned.

It was neither a political gathering nor a political rally, but it turned out to be the defining moment for the future politics of Niger State.

The day was the wedding ceremony of the daughter of the governorship aspirant of Niger State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mohammed Idris Malagi.

His daughter, Arch Thurayya Mohammed Idris’ wedding Fatiha to Engr. Fahad Isa Kaita took place in Kaduna.

Before delving into the crux of this piece, a brief snapshot of the dignitaries who attended the wedding, cutting across party lines, included the Niger state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Bello, represented by his Chief of Staff, Alhaji Ibrahim Balarabe Kagara, the state Deputy Governor, Alh. Muhammad Ahmed-Ketso

Mohammed Idris Malagi

Others are His Royal Highness, Etsu Nupe, Alhaji (Dr) Yahaya Abubakar, CFR, represented by the District Head of Edokota, Baraya Nupe, Alhaji Kpotu Shaba; Magajin Yaki Nupe, Alhaji Tanimu and Santalin Etsu Nupe, Abubakar Bello.

In attendance also included PDP Governorship Flagbearer, Alh. Isah Liman Kantigi, State PDP chairman, Bar Tanko Beji, former Speakers, Niger State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mohammed Tsowa Gamunu (PDP), Rt. Hon. Ahmed Marafa Guni (APC), as well as running mate to Niger State APC Guber Flagbearer, Comrade Garba Yakubu,

Others are APC State Party Chairman, Hon. Zakari Haliru Jikantoro; former member, House of Reps and two-term Niger South Senatorial aspirant, Hon. Ibrahim Ebbo; former Nigeria Ambassador to South Africa and APC stalwart, Hon. Ahmed Musa Ibeto; Alhaji Abubakar Magaji, Chairman, Chanchaga Local Government; Hon. Abubakar Lalalo, Chairman/CEO Ashraf Oil & Gas Limited; Alhaji Dantani Ashraf; former Council Chairmen, Alh. Ado Abubakar (Suleja); Hon. Yusuf Fuka Scony (Chanchaga); All the state’s Exco members from APC, PDP, PRP, and NNPP were in attendance.

Other top dignitaries from across the country who witnessed the wedding included, former Military Administrator of Borno and Katsina states and former Nigeria Football Association Chairman, retired Col. Abdulmumini Aminu; Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Niger state chapter, Alhaji Haliru Jikantoro.

Leaders and members of National Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) were equally in attendance.

Also, dignitaries from Kaduna, Kogi, Kano, Katsina, South-West, South-East and South-South among others, made the roll call.

In his remarks, one-time Deputy Governor of Niger State, Alhaji Ahmed Musa Ibeto, said: “I’m here to attend the wedding father of the daughter of my brother, Alhaji Mohammed Idris Malagi. It is an able father that Allah blessed with a daughter and gave him the wherewithal to train her up to a stage where he would give her out in marriage.

“It is a day of prayer and a day of giving thanks and glory to Allah for making the day possible.”

While offering advice to the new couple, the former deputy governor said: “ I will like to advise the couple to consider this marriage as an act of ibadah (worship) and every ibadah has its rules and regulations and if they follow the laid down rules and regulations, Allah will bless the marriage and make it a toy for the couple that would grant them Aljannah.

“So we pray to Allah to bless this couple with children that they also would train and marry them out one day.”

On his part, a friend to the bride’s father, Alhaji Bashir Chedi, said: “We are most grateful. Today is a turning point in the lives of our families.

“A friend giving out his daughter is a great thing to always remember and to be grateful to God. God endowed us with a daughter, we trained her through moral and conventional education.

“She has exhibited full knowledge and practice of what she has been taught.”

It would be recalled that Malagi, a business tycoon and philanthropist who is also the publisher of Blue Print Newspapers, contested for the governorship ticket under the APC but could not get it. What transpired during the primaries is a story for another day.

However, as things stand now, it is obvious that Malagi could not get the governorship ticket of the APC not because he is not popular but because of the high level of intrigues in the party.

While we agree that indigenes of Niger state believe in brotherliness, and solidarity and always identify with their brothers and sisters in every situation, the gathering at the wedding Fatiha cut across party lines as a sign of a new beginning in Niger State.

The fact remains that politics is exclusively a game of interest. Politicians don’t tend to gravitate to where there is no imminent or future benefit. Therefore, many keen observers of the people that converged on the wedding of Fatiha of Malaga’s daughter, is something that needs to be carefully studied.

On the other hand, some politicians in the state, have, however, bared their minds on what they thought was the reason for the gathering that cuts across major political parties in the country.

According to some of them, Malagi is no doubt a major determinant of who becomes the next governor of Niger State come 2023.

The gathering, according to them, is a signal that another god-father is gradually emerging in Niger state politics whose views must be sought on who becomes what in Niger state in the years ahead.

There is no doubt, that that that Malagi has the clout. With his grassroots base and touch over the years, with his philanthropic credentials over time which have impacted positively on many lives in the state, he has been able to attract ‘love’ from people across the board.

It is not out of place, therefore, to say that all political parties stalwarts that were at the wedding were there for two things: to rejoice with Malagi for giving out his daughter for marriage and to woo him to support their candidate to win the 2023 governorship election in the state.

It is, therefore, pertinent to advise that Malagi must take advantage of his current status in the state and ensure that the best candidate that will deliver good governance and dividends of democracy emerges as the new governor of the state comes 2023.

He must also act as a unifying factor and a catalyst for development to ensure that even after the election, the governor and indeed, the state government strives to put smiles on the residents of the state through the execution of people-oriented projects.

One must also add here that the new ‘Determinant’ in Niger politics must apply wisdom, and high-level discretion in giving his backing to whoever will become the next governor of Niger State come 2023.

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