Francis Sardauna in Katsina
The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Katsina State, on Thursday, faulted the Emir of Katsina, Dr. Abdulmumini Kabir Usman’s open endorsement of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Dr. Dikko Umar Radda, for the state’s exalted seat in the 2023 poll.
The state Chairman of the coalition, Abdulrahman Abdullahi, in an exclusive interview with THISDAY, said the endorsement of Radda by the monarch contravened the neutrality of the emirate and put it in jeopardy.
Usman, in a statement by the Director, Media and Publicity of the state’s APC governorship campaign council, Ahmed Abdulkadir, titled: ‘Katsina Emir Endorses APC Gubernatorial Candidate’, endorsed Radda when he received him at his palace recently.
But Abdullahi explained that the emir ought to maintain political neutrality and work assiduously for the betterment of the society rather than endorsing politicians for elective positions.
The chairman of the CSOs noted that the involvement of traditional rulers in partisan politics under any guise is not only an aberration but a desecration of the nation’s traditional institutions.
He said: “For us as civil society organisations in Katsina State, even though we recognised that the emir is entitled to his opinion, such a stand is wrong and unexpected from him.
“He (Usman) should consider the position he occupies. As a father to all, he shouldn’t side with any of the candidates because all the candidates are his sons. It is just like a father taking preference for one of his children over the rest and this is not good for the traditional system.
“If a leader of a traditional institution, an emir for that matter, can side with a candidate, that means the institution is at risk. Also, the fatherly and the neutrality of that institution has been jeopardised.
“The implication is that people will begin to think that the emir or the emirate belong to a given political party because the general illusion is that if you support a particular candidate, it is equally that you support his political party.”
He, therefore, urged traditional rulers in the state to refrain from partisan politics and champion the peaceful co-existence in their domains, as well as treat all contestants in the forthcoming election equally “as royal fathers, they should pray for successful election not endorsement of candidates”.
However, the state vice-chairman of the APC, Bala Abu Musawa, described the endorsement of the APC governorship candidate by the traditional leader as a harbinger of better times to come.
While noting that the emir only chooses what is best for the citizens of the state, Musawa added that his decision did not contravene the nation’s constitution and the Electoral Act.