Farouk Lawan: Saint Or Sinner?

The occasion was meant to be an avenue where the people of Shanono/Bagwai Federal Constituency made their inputs into the ongoing constitution review exercise but it turn out to be a platform where a vote of confidence was passed on one of their sons, Honourable Farouk Lawan UCHENNA AWOM reports

It was ordinarily an occasion to get the people’s input into the on-going constitution review exercise, but it turned out to be more than that. It became a carnival of sorts.

The people came out in their thousands to celebrate their son. Nothing would stop them any way. Not even “those who designed evil against an innocent person”.

A teacher in the crowd, Haruna Adamu Gogori, was full of anger as he declared that those who designed evil against the “innocent person” being celebrated on the occasion would fail.

The mood of the crowd was in tune with the thinking in many quarters that a four-term member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Farouk Lawan was set up by some dark forces for political ruination.

The dark forces in this case are those bent on stalemating the report of the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee on petrol subsidy by raking allegation of bribery against the former committee chairman, Lawan.

The committee was apparently hard on the fraudsters in the subsidy regime by exposing the rot. This has now been confirmed by the reports of both Aigh Imokede and Mal Nuhu Ribadu whose findings and recommendations substantially tally with the Farouk Lawan report. The bribery allegation is seen as part of the move to rubbish the House committee report. Farouk defended his action.?

The lawmaker’s constituents in Shanono/Bagwai Federal Constituency, Kano State used the opportunity provided by the public hearing on the review of the 1999 constitution to give their son a clean bill of health on the bribery saga.

Perhaps there is no better evidence to prove that Farouk acted transparently on the petrol subsidy investigation than those that came from his people who know him intimately.

Prof M D Mukhtar, a professor with Bayero university described the allegations against the lawmaker as a concoction of lies to destroy Farouk’s reputation and career. He lamented the manner in which the system pulls down its best, noting that Lawan has become a first among equals even amongst his colleagues in the National Assembly.

?Another constituent, Alh Muhammad Tukur Gadanya a prominent wealthy businessman in kano who confided that he had known the lawmaker from childhood, said Farouk had always been above board and a dogged fighter who “simply is incapable of the wicked lies they concocted against him”. Aisha, also a constituent and petty trader, said it was inconceivable that Farouk “will do the sort of things they want us to believe he did”.

She added: “Allah is great. The truth is beginning to come out”. The crowd went wild when the serial lawmaker arrived the venue of the public hearing, chanting a victory song: “Shanono/Bagwai Sai Farouk”. For several minutes, Farouk could not disembark from the black SUV that brought him as the crowd surrounded the vehicle.

On alighting from the vehicle, the lawmaker, overwhelmed by the show of solidarity, could only utter a few words. “I thank … I am really grateful to you all. May Allah continue to be with you all. I bear no malice against anyone. Long live Nigeria,” he told the constituents.

Although the occasion was in connection with the constitution review, Farouk’s constituents made the point clear: Our son is our hero and we are proud of him. This became very clear when a thunderous applause greeted the remark by Dr Ayuba Ibrahim, a former director of the National orientation agency that the people identify with him and are very proud of his dogged fight against enemies of progress and good governance.

Addressing the constituents on the business of the day, the lawmaker told the gathering that the House decided to adopt a rigorous approach to the constitution review exercise in order to ensure the credibility of the process in a bid to give Nigerians the opportunity of contributing to a process that would give the country a better constitution.

“The programme is a consultative initiative of the House of Representatives aimed at ensuring a more participatory, inclusive and transparent review of the constitution.”

He, therefore, implored the people “to look critically at the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and suggest new areas they would want included or existing provisions they want amended or expunged from the constitution.”

However, many people from the constituency said they wanted real autonomy for local governments. They also favoured the creation of more states provided that population and land mass will play critical role as part of the defining criteria, but are opposed to the idea of state police.

In his remarks, representative of the Chairman of the Committee for the creation of Ghari state from the present Kano State, Alhaji Haruna Mohammed Shanono, renewed his justification for the proposed state. He said there was no reason that additional states should not be created from the present Kano State in view of its population and land mass.

The agitation for the creation of Ghari state started during the regime of the late Gen Sani Abacha.

The session was well attended with virtually all prominent indigenes of the constituency in attendance. They included traditional rulers, business community leaders, members of various unions, women, youths, physically challenged and people of all walks of life.

Among the dignitaries that graced the public hearing were, former Military Governor of Akwa Ibom State. Col. Yakubu Bako, who chaired the session, Alhaji Mohammed Sani Gadanya, Alhaji Ayuba Ibrahim Adamu, former director, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Alhaji Abdullahi Beza; former National Vice-President North? West, Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ), Hon Lawan Safiyanu Gogori and Alhaji Haruna Mohammed Shanono, Alh Zakari Ibrahim, Hon Ado Isyaku Daddauda, Dr Muhd Ibn Abdullah, Alh Adamu Said Ahmed.

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