The emergence of 25 years old secondary school leaver, Ms Hindatu Umar, as the youngest local government Chairman in Nigeria, has sparked controversy over the social media platforms. It also sparked outrage among some Argungu natives. Meanwhile foreign media are also curious about the story.
In order to get to the bottom of what really happened and how Ms Hindatu Umar became the Chairman of the historic Argungu local government, we managed to track down a local activist, Alhaji Kasimu Sirajo Argungu, who gave us 30 minutes interview on the telephone.
According to Alhaji Kasimu, the decision to make Ms Hindatu Umar the Chairman of Argungu local government was entirely that of the Kebbi State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku Bagudu.
Up until her appointment as the Chairman, Ms Hindatu Umar served as the deputy to the former Chairman, whose tenure of office just expired. Under normal circumstances, she won’t be promoted to assume the office of the Chairman. Instead, the onus is on the state government to conduct elections in which new local government chairmen and councillors are elected.
For whatever economic or political reasons, Governor Bagudu decided not to hold the elections. Instead, he used his executive powers to promote all deputy Chairmen in the state, including Ms Hindatu Umar, to assume the positions of Chairmen.
Ms Hindatu took her oath of office on Thursday 22nd September 2016, following which she paid a courtesy call to the Emir of Argungu, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Samaila Muhammadu Mera, for royal fatherly blessings.
The appointment of a secondary school graduate as the Chairman of their local government did not go down well with some natives of Argungu, who felt shortchanged that an unmarried and inexperienced young woman is forcibly hoisted upon them as their Chairman.
One outraged blogger, Mr Naseer Augi, wrote:
“There is nothing to celebrate or pray for here. This is just another madness and insanity of Argungu politicians in Kebbi State political rascality. You just need to see the girl in question, or hear her speak or read about her to understand what I am talking about.
“She never married and couldn’t differentiate her right from left. Never worked or served in any governmental or private establishment. No administrative experience whatsoever. She can’t stand in front of you and explain any point, not even in Hausa language not to talk of English.
Another blogger wrote that the people of Argungu felt “ashamed, ridiculed and messed up” by the appointment of Ms Hindatu Umar.
One conspiracy theory suggests that her nomination and subsequent appointment was courtesy of her godfather, who is said to be married to her sister. Some people say their relationship may be more sinister than that.
Reaction by Nigerians
Since the news of her appointment broke out on Thursday, the vast majority of Nigerians, especially the youth, feel thrilled and empowered. A close monitoring of sample opinions on Facebook showed that most people believe that the appointment of Ms Hindatu Umar is right, and that more young people will get similar opportunities as the war against corruption takes a strong hold in Nigeria.
Unless we get to hear from the executive Governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, it is difficult to give credible opinion, devoid of conjecture, over this matter. We therefore call upon his Excellency, Governor Bagudu, to address the good people of Kebbi state, especially those from Argungu, explaining why there was no local elections, which inevitably resulted to Ms Hindatu Umar becoming the Chairperson (politically correct version of Chairman) of Argungu. This will go a long way in muting the local outrage.
Until such an explanation is heard from the State Governor, we are of the opinion that this young woman should be left alone to get on with her mammoth job. The tasks ahead of her are enormous. She needs all the help and prayers that she can get from fellow Nigerians.
Report filed by Dr. Idris Ahmed.
Pictures: Credit to Dalhatu Ahmad.
This story was initially reported here: Meet the youngest LGA Chairperson in Nigeria.