From Paul Orude, Bauchi
The news of the death of former deputy governor of Bauchi State, Mohammed Garba Gadi, a dyed-in-the-wool- supporter of President Muhammad Buhari on August 1, 2017, came to Nigerians, especially those in the north, as a rude shock. Gadi died at an undisclosed hospital in India after a protracted illness. He was aged 70.
The late Gadi was the National Chairman of the Merger Committee that supervised the fusing of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) with other political parties that gave birth to the All Progressives Congress, (APC).
When Daily Sun visited the deceased’s house at New GRA, Bauchi, on Wednesday, family members, sympathisers and supporters gathered outside the late politician’s compound, to pay their last respect to the deceased. Although the late politician’s son, Dauda, declined to speak, one of his associates, Captain Bala Jibrin confirmed that Gadi died around 4:00 am Nigerian time on Tuesday, and that his corpse would be flown back and buried on Friday.
Prominent Nigerians speak on Gadi
President Muhammadu Buhari in a condolence statement issued in Abuja, by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said Nigeria has lost one of its “finest men of principle and integrity who set an enviable standard worthy of emulation.”
Also, Chairman of the Bauchi State chapter of APC, Alhaji Ahmed Uba Nana, in a telephone interview with Daily Sun, described the death of Gadi as a huge loss to the state and the country at large.
He said: “His type is difficult to come by. He was an honest man full of integrity and these are the qualities that Nigeria is in dire need of. We will miss his advice and contributions to nation building greatly”
Senator representing Bauchi South, Ali Wakili who urged the state government to immortalise Gadi added that Gadi had done everything possible to settle the crisis in the Bauchi APC.
Daily Sun gathered that Gadi, who held the title of Danburan Katagum, was deputy governor under in administration of Isa Yuguda from 2007 to 2011. He gained popularity as a “man of integrity” in January 2009 when he refused to decamp to the Peoples Democratic Party alongside his principal, Yuguda, who dumped the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), the platform on which they were elected. Yuguda’s defection came shortly after he married Nafisa, the daughter of then President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
The marriage to the Yar’Adua’s daughter, it was further gathered caused a rift between Yuguda and Gadi, who swore to remain in the ANPP, insisting that it was a betrayal of the trust and the millions of voters that elected them to decamp to another party.
His action was to cost him his job, as the crisis between him and Yuguda eventually led to his impeachment by the State House of Assembly in August 2009. According to the House of Assembly, Gadi was removed “for gross financial misconduct.” But analysts insisted that he was removed because he remained faithful to the ANPP.
The legal battle
Dissatisfied with the process of his impeachment, Gadi challenged his removal in court. In June 2010, he won the legal battle and a Bauchi State High Court presided over by Justice Haruna Tsammani ordered his reinstatement. The trial judge held that the action of the seven-man panel that recommended the impeachment was unconstitutional and therefore null and void.
Justice Tsammani held that Gadi was not given the benefit of fair hearing and ordered the Speaker of the state Assembly, Babayo Garba Gamawa, who replaced him to vacate the office of Deputy Governor of Bauchi State.
However, when Gadi arrived the office to resume work based on the court ruling, he was denied access to the offices.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media Affairs, Sanusi Mohammed, at the time said that the government was dissatisfied with the judgement, and had filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal, Jos.
Police remain indifferent
Gadi’s quest to reclaim his office was marred by the indifference of the police. The then Commissioner of Police in the state, Danlami Yar’Adua said that the officers with Gadi when he went to the Government House were not police escort, but merely accompanied him for the purpose of protection.
“When he petitioned us that his life was in danger, we made available two uniformed men to guard his house. How they escorted to him to the office remains a surprise to me,” the police boss said.
Also, the then state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Al-Mustapha Suleman Hassan had described Gadi’s action as illegal, adding that “Gadi does not have the power to resume office by himself. It was the same authority that reinstated him that should provide him Sheriff to take him to office. However, that could not be done since there was an appeal in Jos, so the status quo should be maintained.”
However, in June 2012,the Supreme Court struck out the appeal filed by Bauchi State Government and ordered Governor Yuguda to pay Gadi, his entitlement amounting to N215m through the court within 30 days from the day judgement was given.
Last moments and death
Despite the court ruling that ordered the Bauchi State government to pay Gadi all his entitlements, he was yet to be paid at the time of his death.
Daily Sun learnt that the late former deputy governor battled diabetes before he finally succumbed to the disease in India where he was being treated. His ill-health did not however dampen his spirit as he remained at the forefront of fighting for the masses.
He lived a simple and contented life, his third wife; Lami Mohammed told Daily Sun that he “was a very honest and very principled man who carried the problem of the masses on his head. He lived and died for them.”
Lami who is the Chairman of the Association of Women Builders in Nigeria, said her husband believed in the unity of Nigeria and “he was frank to a fault. No matter whose ox is gored, he wouldn’t change his principle and we saw this demonstrated when he refused to follow his boss Yuguda to the PDP,” she said.
The late politician’s first child, Mrs. Fatima Surajo Dada, said that she received the news of her father’s death with total submission to Allah though the family was really shocked at the news.
“My father was a father, not only to his children but the masses. He always took every body as his children. There was never a time that he discriminated between his children and others and as far as I am concerned, he was a father to everyone in the sense of the word,” Mrs. Dada said.
Gadi is survived three wives and 15 children.