Celebrating Kogunan Katagum at 50!

These are quite perilous times, where our political landscape is barren from leadership that truly exemplifies transparency and accountability. Integrity as a main trait, in the characters that gun for the highest office in the land, is particularly missing; and what we can hope for at the most, is a patriotic Nigerian, who has the nation at heart, and who will be altruistic in driving policies and programmes that would ameliorate the problems of the common man. The actors of the PMB administration have not worn the integrity bracelet that describes Mr. President’s most valuable leadership quality; and so most times we become bewildered by their inactions, and sometimes their untoward actions. Nigerians will no longer be interested in campaign slogans of integrity, as that has had its own unintended casualties. What Nigerians will look for is a track record of performance and patriotism. You must be a talk and do persona. You must have a strong sisu — a very strong tenacity of purpose, to deliver what you promise.

My visits to Kogunan Katagum’s social media feed, encourages me, that all is not lost, in the future generations of leadership to come our way. In one post, he posits, “until we solve insecurity, nothing in this country will work at this material time. And we cannot solve insecurity in the midst of insincerity.” While identifying that most of the insecurity problems are in the North, he points out that, “if insecurity is the crux of the problem bedeviling the North, perhaps we can see a possible and immediate way, out of the problem. But insecurity is just a by-product of the problem. The causatives are unchecked population growth, loss of family values, collapse of the agricultural economy, drug abuse, religious fundamentalism, large sparses of ungoverned areas, and a failure to train a blooming pool of youth population, for a productive livelihood.” He further explains — “there was a time the rapid population growth of the North could be of political advantage, and of economic potentials, but the lack of training, which would teleguide them and control their behaviour; has turned it into a huge existential threat unto the North.”

Koguna rightly places the blame on the elites of the North, as he feels that, “Nigeria is a factory for giving birth and raising the poor. People give birth and get 500 naira donations. Children of the poor go to Universities and spend 8 years for a 4 year course. Poverty has been criminalised by the Nigerian society, and used as a weapon by the elites.” While agriculture is supposed to be the mainstay of the Northern people, it is under threat by banditry. Koguna laments that, “education in the North is under threat as institutions are being attacked, and students kidnapped on a daily basis. Travelling has become a death wish also, due to banditry. The bandits have become the de-facto authorities in many North Western areas, controlling social and economic structures.” Bello Mustapha, The Koguna of Katagum proffers that, “The way to fight a war is to go all the way, with an all out approach. If you fight piecemeal, then you will easily get tired and worn out, and the price of victory becomes higher than that of a surrender. Our present approach will not take us beyond where we started.”

Mr. President recently spoke on equipping the security agencies and giving them all they ask for. He has done his part with all the approvals and guarantees. Victory is in the custody of the security agencies if they so wish. The other part of this success is in the hands of the Northern elites, if they strive to cultivate their populace and train them to fully achieve their potentials as a region. Otherwise, its the same dull game of numbers when an election year beckons, and many more years of penury after that.

Despite Koguna being comfortable at his desk as an Executive at the Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF; his heart and mind yearns for the betterment of the lives of the common man. This he actively expresses in word and in deed, on a daily note. Pastor Sunday Adegboro has this to say about Koguna; “I have critically watched you over the years and your display of empathy to everyone who comes across to you, regardless of tribe and religion, has put you in a different class from most people. Your view on burning national issues shows your large-heartedness. It is no wonder you have two titles in both the North and South; as Kogunan Katagum in Bauchi state, and as Iyi Wara Na Mba Akokwa, by the Obi of Akokwa, in Imo state.” Mine is a simple ” best wishes to Koguna, and a prayer that we have a summit of minds from the North, like Bello Mustapha, who have the reach, concern and forthrightness; to conquer the North from its slumber and self-desolation”, ameen.

Tahir is Talban Bauchi.

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