Aliyu is one of the children of a former governor of Kano State, the late Aliyu Sabo Bakin Zuwo. He talks about his late father’s ideals and time in office with GBENGA ADENIJI
Can you tell us more about yourself apart from being a son of a former governor?
I am Aliyu Sabo Bakinzuwo, born in 1978. I am named after my father while he travelled. I attended both western and Islamic schools, earned a BSc in Economics, and now working in the private sector. I am the ninth of my father’s 19 children. He had four wives.
What memories can you recall growing up with your father?
I grew up with many different memories, because my father was an ambitious man who kept his people forward. He always gave them courage to stay strong and live with their difficulties. I learned many things from him despite the fact that I didn’t know him very well as all thought.
Did he take his family to some places for bonding?
Yes; sometimes, he used to take his family to visit some of his relatives to have fun and enjoyment. We also used the visit to enjoy some traditional meals.
Did your father encourage any of his children to join politics?
Of course, he did. But some of us do not have interest in politics. I am sure his courage kept the entire family strong and dealt with some difficulties.
What is the actual story about the N3.4m said to have been found in his home by the military during a search after he was removed from office?
(Laughs!) I am sure you’re aware of the political scandals. Sometimes, in order for some people to achieve what they are after, they set up conspiracy to jeopardise the chances of an innocent person. The stories about the N3.4m found in his residence were fabrication.
How many politician are set up nowadays for political confinement? Please tell me. This is in order to have an excuse to detain innocent people. I don’t care what they would say and what kind of story they fabricated about him. All I can tell you is that my father was innocent and he died the way an innocent does.
How would you describe his performance as a senator before he became a governor?
Of course, he did perform very well but I can’t say he was 100 per cent perfect. He did his best as he could.
Why did he remove the emir installed by ex-governor Abubakar Rimi when he became the governor?
Like I told you earlier, every politician has individual agenda to achieve. The ex-governor might have his own agenda to achieve too. But politically, what the ex-governor did was wrong and illegal. He used his power to remove the emir because of his political interest. But when my father came into power, he felt it was right to do the right thing. He reinstated the former emir (back to his people) because he did nothing wrong. He also didn’t deserve to be taken out from his people.
Your father’s conversion of the Palace Cinema, Kano, to a clinic was one of the popular decisions he took as a governor. Did he share the vision of what made him take the step with you?
He shared every single idea that came to his mind with us. When he wanted to take steps to turn the Palace Cinema to a clinic, he felt that the place would, one day, create chaos and mislead children from the right path and could hamper their future. It used to be a place where thugs struggled for things among themselves. He knew that it was vital to care about the future of children by bringing the future close to them. This was why he established the clinic for children’s future.
How comfortable would you say his family was as he moved up the ladder in politics?
His family was good and comfortable, because he taught them how to deal with political consequences. I think his family was strong enough to see him through.
How would you describe your father’s performance as a governor though his time in office was short?
Despite his short tenure as a governor, he performed well and his legacy is what people always learn from. He provided infrastructure, including in the education sector. He did perform well, and like I said, we are proud of his legacy despite the fact that his period as a governor was short.
What was his favourite food?
His favourite food was tuwo; our traditional meal.
What kind of father was Sabo Bakin Zuwo?
He was a father every child would love to have and be proud of.
How do you feel that the coup that brought Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari into power on December 31, 1983, aborted your father’s tenure as a governor?
Actually, it wasn’t only his family that was perplexed but also the people of Kano State because what happened to the politicians then was a tragedy. Nobody would ever feel flawless when something of such nature happened. Today, I am very proud of him because what made him to be detained has raised his legacy.
This is how every politician is supposed to be. Sometimes, one could be detained by a government for no reason. Let me tell you that the coup that brought Muhammadu Buhari into power then was nothing to my father. The experience made him to learn lots of lessons about government conspiracy. I cannot say that I regret seeing that my father’s tenure as a governor was aborted by the coup. I am proud of him.
What values did you learn from him?
I learnt life’s virtues from my father.
How does his name open doors for you when people discover you are his child?
This is the most important thing in my life. I am always proud of his legacy which opens several doors for me when people hear that I am his son. I thank God that I had a strong hero as a father.
Did he have preference for any type of music?
He used to listen to Mamman Shata’s songs, and more importantly, he recited the Qur’an. He always enjoyed reading and reciting it.
What did he tell you about the country’s politics?
He told me to watch and learn from good politicians and stay away from political scandals.
How was life in Government House?
This was one of his legacies and history as a governor. He never spent a night at the Government House. Rather than do that, he would stay in his residence after finishing his work in his office. He used to say that Government House is for the people and to do what is right for the people. And at the close of work for the day, one should spend the night in one’s house with one’s family.
How close were you to your father?
He was everything to me and we were closer than you can think of. My father’s legacy remains influential.
What precisely led to his death in 1989?
His death was caused by an accident. Every soul will taste death. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace!
How did his family cope when a special military tribunal sentenced him to 300 years in jail after he was removed from office?
It was funny though. But for God’s sake, can a human being live up to 250 years, not to talk of being jailed for 300 years? I think the military tribunal was a kind of joke at the time.
Does being the child of Bakin Zuwo put any pressure on you?
It does not and will not.
Would you have wished your father was anything else but a politician?
Every human being has his own destiny. Being a politician was his destiny. God knows the best for every man and He chose my father’s path for him.
What did he want to be remembered for?
The legacy he left behind, which is being remembered every day.
What was his favourite drink?
My father’s favourite drink was fura de nunu, which is our traditional diluted milk.
How did he love to relax?
He enjoyed having fun with his family every weekend and during holidays.
Does his family hold remembrance for him yearly?
Of course, we do because we miss him dearly.
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.
DOWNLOAD THE PUNCH NEWS APP NOW ON