By Simon Reef Musa
He turned 60 on Saturday June 6, 2020 and that date marked his formal retirement from the federal civil service as the Director of Finance, Federal Ministry of Works, Abuja. Described as a humble technocrat with his eyes fixed to what he wants, he rose to the peak of his profession amidst the vicissitudes of life made passable by the divine grace of God.
Chief Tony Hassan is not your regular guy that is scared of dreaming. Like the late Senator Robert Kennedy, who unlike others dream of things and ask why, this technocrat from Jaba chiefdom dreams of things and ask why not. I was taken aback the first time I met some two months ago. He is devoid of the arrogance that is often associated with some influential Southern Kaduna people.
Early in life, while recalling his early years, he was not the anointed child to go to school as that opportunity was for the first child of his mother. Somehow, fate favoured him as he made it to the four walls of the class rooms when his mother’s relations mounted pressure on his elder brother to step aside for him. It was this singular decision by his elder sibling that availed him the chance to escape from the drudgery farm work. Thereafter, he would later excel and fly on the wings of divine providence and scaled up to the hill of academic excellence. Looking back at his life of three scores, the humble top technocrat from the Jaba ethnic nationality has not forgotten where he comes from.
Unlike many prominent and successful indigenes of Southern Kaduna, Hassan is spearheading a new orientation and rallying forces to emancipate the zone from the backwaters of development and avoid the usual blame game that has continued to stultify the growth of the area. Getting out of the mud of backwardness that has held down the zone for too long has been his major pre-occupation for many years. The retired director is at pain in rationalising why his homeland has been plagued with poor political representation and enshrouded permanently in the backwaters of development.
Just before attaining three scores of his life, Hassan has thrown his hat in the political ring in order to aggregate efforts at changing political consciousness of his people. He craves for the emergence of a new political thinking that would kick out selfish political class that has always promoted intense greed for pecuniary interest.
The inability of the power elite to entrench quality political representation, the Dokajen Jaba insists, remains the albatross of underdevelopment that has plagued the people of the southern axis. In the face of present political realities, Chief Hassan sees the adoption of a rainbow coalition steeped in unity of purpose where politics is seen as an all-inclusive platform aimed at rescuing indigenes of the area.
Anchoring his dream on the engagement of our teeming youths, among critical segments of the zone, he believes that the dynamism of youths should be the bastion upon which true growth must be anchored. Developing the potentials of our youths, Hassan declares, cannot be without developing their capacity and promoting their career development and realisation of their full potentials.
Attaining the peak of these potentials by these youths must be hinged on empowerment with requisite skills in advancing beyond the present gloom in order to change the uninspiring narrative of a land that is so blessed but yet populated by the most wretched of the earth despite an exclusively rich elite class that has been appointed to privileged positions at both state and federal levels. It is upon these yearnings to change the darkness of our existence that Hassan has finalised plans to roll out empowerment programmes to lit a candle of hope upon a hill that has suffered groaning darkness.
Developing the society without engaging the youth in meaningful ventures could as well turn out a mirage that may never be achieved. To attain fruition in this endeavour, the retired federal director advocates for strong and active participation of young people to exit the cold winter of despair and unending lamentations ripping across the zone.
For those who see the prospects of our exit from our self-inflicted tragedy of political quarantine, made possible by the manipulation of a few politicians and appointees milking the cow on our behalf, the Dokajen Jaba contends that only a broadening of our political space for more engagements across ethnic and religious divide holds the key.
Chief Hassan does what he believes in and is conscious of mortality. Considering his credentials, he possesses what it takes to lead in reshaping our old story that has turned us into lamentable sight. It is not only politics that Chief Hassan is interested in changing, he has taken steps to ensure the founding of an indigenous university to serve the youths whose prospects for choice courses in our nation’s ivory towers are becoming increasingly frustrated. This singular move to establish a university in Southern Kaduna has set him apart from others who, having the capacity and wherewithal to assist save us from embarrassment by mind-boggling wealth have resorted to acting the poor and now members of a wailing team that is enmeshed in the sing song of alleged marginalisation they were once part of.
Having identified the need for empowerment and broadening academic opportunities for the Zone, the new political entrant is about stepping into new grounds where the end justifies the means. In the game of politics that the Dokajen has declared interest in, he must be willing to hunt with the hounds and run with the hare.
Having ended his outstanding service career as a top technocrat where the rules of engagements were clearly defined, one would have thought that the best for him is to concentrate his energies in actualising his university dream. However, men with empathy are often lured to come to the rescue of their suffering men and women. That perhaps explains why he has declared his intention for active politics.
Will Hassan make a mark in his new passion and turn the tables against retrogressive politics that has left his people poorly represented? Will his participation in politics not affect the university project many see as an indelible opportunity to provide hope for our teeming youths who are daily frustrated in reading courses of their choices? Will his entrance into the All Progressives Congress (APC) change the portrait of a party that has shown open disdain and remained unperturbed over the incessant killings ravaging his people? How capable can he upturn politics in the southern axis that has turned the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) into a religion?
For a man who is not desperate, he is least disturbed by the hurdles that lie ahead of his dream. Despite the chicaneries of some Southern Kaduna APC politicians whose dispositions are most unfavourable to attract new membership, it is not yet certain how the Dokajen Jaba can go in challenging a party that gave so much appointments to Southern Kaduna indigenes without a single federal sign board to show for it.
One thing is certain: the need for change in the politics of Southern Kaduna is desirable. But, with the old order still clinging to power, the road may be rough but not unsurmountable. To retool the politics of Southern Kaduna, Chief Hassan must unlearn the old tricks of the old brigade and engage new ideas capable of destroying old altars and their old priests whose vision never wander from personal achievements.
For now, Southern Kaduna is a political wasteland with no political leadership. Five years of Malam Nasir el-Rufai has thrown up frightful uncertainties for the future. The underbelly of our weaknesses has been exposed and Hassan must be wary of political minions whose job is mainly to serve their stomachs.
For now Chief Hassan possesses all the required credentials to make s difference but that will depend on how he plays his game amidst the sharks and under-the-table conspiracy that is the trait of political intrigues. He stands a chance if the wobbling profile of the PDP is not addressed.
As Chief Hassan turned three scores on Saturday June 6, 2020, here is wishing him a bumpy ride in changing the story of a Zone that is so blessed but cursed by absence and leadership and vision. Those close to the Dokajen Jaba should please extend my belated birthday wishes.
May the commercial hawks of our political class not cast a blight on the dream of to establish a university for our people.