THE UNSUNG HERO – A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY OF LATE WADA NAS
BY DR. USMAN WADA NAS
Wada Nas a father, grandfather, a politician of high repute, a principle commentator. To his adorers he was the great, fearless, eloquent and indomitable Wada Nas (Sarkin Yakin Arewa or Sarkin Yakin Talakawa), while to his critics he was the controversial Wada Nas, Wada Nasty, Wada Noise, Wada Nonsense or Wada Nadeco. In his personal life he lived a modest and humble life and his real mission in life was to contribute in one way or the other to the overthrow of capitalist society.
Muhammedu Hamisu (popularly known as Wada Nas) was born in 1938 in Nasarawa Funtua, Katsina State to Malam Ibrahim and Amina. He was the last in a family of twelve. He earned the name Wada by his aunty Asibi on his naming ceremony, the name was derived from WADATA in Hausa meaning Abundance. This was so because on his naming ceremony there were four Rams all for his naming ceremony, one booked by his father, two from Wazirin Katsina and one from the emir of Katsina. He lost his father at the age of two and his mother at the age of six, he was brought up as an orphan by his elder brother Late Alhaji Garba Nasarawa.
He began with the Islamic education (Makarantar Allo) but later enrolled into elementary school Funtua (1945-1949) where his name Wada Nasarawa was cut shortened to Wada Nas. He secured admission into KATSINA Middle school in 1950 together with Alhaji Umaru Mutallab, Late Alhaji Bala Abdullahi Funtua and Late Alhaji Ya’u Nasarawa but he was denied admission to KATSINA middle school due to some reasons and was offered MARU middle school as replacement of which he rejected reason being that in MARU, student were taught mostly in Hausa language while Katsina was in English, he prepared to wait for a year after which he got KATSINA middle school (1952-1954) and subsequently to KATSINA Teachers College (1955).
It was at KATSINA teachers college that he developed interest in politics which fronted him to write a letter to Malam Aminu Kano, the leader of Northern Element Progressive Union (NEPU) indicating his interest to join his party. Malam Aminu replied him that he should first finish his studies before venturing into politics (a Letter he kept and was proud of).
In 1958 upon graduated from KATSINA Teachers College, he was posted to Dutsinma in Katsina state as a school teacher. He joined NEPU and went to Dutsinma as a NEPU member. At that time it was a crime to belong to another political party apart from Northern People Congress (NPC) which belongs to aristocratic class. His NEPU activity didn’t go well with those in the authority because from the district head down to the village head belong to NPC, so the district head then saw him as a treat. He suffered all kind of humiliation and harassment just because he belongs to NEPU but that didn’t deter him from fighting for what he believes in, which was to liberate the masses from the tyranny of NPC. The district head was very uncomfortable with Wada Nas and requested the native authority to transfer him to somewhere else. So the native authority after due consultation decided to transfer him to KAITA where the district head Ladan Fari (also happen to be the son of the then emir of Katsina) who was considered to be tough and can curtail the excesses of Wada Nas and his NEPU ideology.
Upon resumption at KAITA his new duty post, the district head ask him “are you Wada Nas the NEPU man?” he replied yes then the district head told him there is no NEPU in this district and that he was not willing to have any and so he asked ”are you ready to abandon NEPU?” because you are sitting on a bomb which could explode in your face at any time if you continue with your NEPU activities. Without hesitation Wada Nas responded that he will never cease to be a member of NEPU for the fear of bomb explosion and added in the same way as the district head will not cease to be a member of NPC and the issue of bomb explosion is in the Hands of Allah.
After this encounter the worst to come a public announcement was made to the effect that anyone seen and found dealing with Wada Nas in any respect howsoever and whatsoever, would have himself to blame should anything happen to him. So no one was to associate with him in whatever way. Thus, traders were barred from selling their goods to him, he was not to join any public transport or hire bicycle for any travel. The short of it was that no one was to communicate with him including the school children after school hours. And during the hours he could not send a pupils to buy anything for him in the first place, and even if he sends one, nobody would sell it to him once his known that he was acting on Wada Nas behalf. He was forced into seclusion with no one to associate with, he was a prisoner of sort without staying in prison, indeed a prisoner was better in the sense that he communicates with his fellow inmate. This was a grim situation enforce on him by the traditional institution only on account of his political belief. If it was considered from the angle of feeding himself one would appreciate better how horrible the situation was. One may wonder how he managed to feed himself. In the beginning the option was for him to trek to the nearest town Katsina which was about 16 kilometers away to purchase his requirements. Overtime, however, some resident of KAITA started coming to him in the darkest hours in the night, asking for NEPU membership card, while some brought him food items and other requirements, others secretly undertook some errands on his behalf. The number of those coming kept on increasing day-by-day, he continued to organize lectures, educating and enlighting the masses about their right and how to say no to the oppression by the ruling class. This was how NEPU was established in KAITA town and environs. He was given the publicity secretary of NEPU in Katsina province.
Wada Nas was transferred to KANKARA and as the 1959 general election was approaching, late Malam Aminu Kano the then leader of NEPU and one who gave it fearless, purposeful and dynamic leadership and philosophical direction told Wada Nas that the party has resolved to field him as its candidate in the Funtua Federal constituency but Wada Nas advice to be fielded as candidate in KANKARA/KOGO constituency rather than the Funtua his place of origin. Malam Aminu kano wondered why and demanded explanation upon which Wada Nas explained “in KANKARA/KOGO there is crack in the wall, because each of the two district heads in the area want to be fielded but the NPC was not prepared for a backlash, so neither of them prepared to support any other candidate apart from himself, this therefore means, they will not interfere in the election. After rejecting all the two district heads, the NPC settled for the councilor for education who was my boss Alhaji Hassan Rafin-Dadi. I then calculated that having been all rejected, neither was ready to support a candidate that was brought from somewhere and enforced on them, nor would the district head of KANKARA support a candidate by his rival the district head of KOGO or the other way round. The greatest probability then, in my estimation, was that both will remain neutral and this was exactly what happens. It was not therefore a problem for me to penetrate into the house through the cracked back wall cause by their rejection and consequent neutrality. I won the election even though the NPC tried all they could to prevent the then resident electoral officer (who happened to be a white woman) from announcing the result but she went ahead to declare Wada Nas as the elected representative. My victory therefore, adequately demonstrate that without the base of traditional institution especially under the emirate system NPC wouldn’t have grown in stature the way it did.
The year 1959 was very important and dear to NEPU members because it was in that year that they first won and election to the federal house, NEPU had eight representatives in the house; Malam Aminu Kano from Kano, Yarima Balla from Adamawa province, Ismaila Bichi from Jos central, Muhammadu Alangade from Ikara, Yusha’u Muhammad from Kubau/Soba, Muhammadu Nalado from Gusau/Tsafe, Ali NaKura from Kauran NaModa and Wada Nas from Kankara/Kogo. Wada nas was in the house from 1959-1964 and he was the youngest member in the federal house of representative of the first republic.
After the 1966 coup he was back to his home town Funtua and ventured into farming. He later in 1968 became an account officer of Northern State Marketing Board in Zaria.
During the second republic (1978) he joined National Party of Nigeria (NPN) where he became councilor for health Funtua Local government then State party secretary (NPN) old Kaduna State (1981-1983). He was also a member Board of University Teaching Hospital Ibadan (1982-1983). Wada Nas went back to farm after 1983 coup and continue his farming activities.
During the third republic (1991) he joined National Republican Convention (NRC) and became the Katsina state chairman of the party. He was instrumental in the victory of Alhaji Saidu Barda, the first Executive Governor of Katsina state under NRC (1992) who defeated Late Umaru Musa Yar’adua (the former president). He was also then a director Board of Universal Bank Kaduna.
After the 1993 coup which Abacha became the head of state, Wada Nas was appointed as the minister of State for education. That was the beginning of his relationship with late General Sani Abacha, which he maintained up till his last breath. Following reshufflement of the cabinet Abacha again appointed him as Minister of Special duties and later Special adviser on special duties, a post he held till the death of Abacha in 1997.
In 1998 when the ban on politics was lifted Wada Nas was cautious and very observant and after analyzing the political terrain of that moment decided to quit politics and became a national commentator, Critic and a Columnist especially in the weekly trust newspaper. But when things went bad and he saw the detrimental effect of Obasanjo government to the nation and to the north in particular had no option than to stage a comeback in politics to fight injustice and corruption. He joined All Peoples Party (APP) that later became All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) and even contested for the National chairman of the party, the election that was cancelled on the eve of the Election Day. Wada Nas was the one that persuaded General Muhammadu Buhari to join politics (2002/2003) having the believe that the nation needed somebody with Buhari’s character and integrity to save this country (an aspiration he didn’t live to witness).
Wada Nas found that things were happening in ANPP which didn’t conform with his ideology and about the same time,fortunate for him, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) decided to register new political party, so he and people with his like-mind formed People Salvation Party (PSP Sawaba) and he became the pioneer National Chairman of the party. During the presidential election of 2003, his party PSP didn’t field a presidential candidate but the consensus was to support General Muhammadu Buhari the ANPP presidential candidate for 2003 general election. Wada Nas toured this country day and night together with General Buhari for the presidential campaign.Unfortunately they lost to the incumbent president, Olusegun Obasanjo but Wada Nas didn’t relent in criticizing Obasanjo’s government where it went wrong and make political analysis of event happening, also make political prediction of events about to happen in the country. Some of the prominent predictions are:
1. The third term agenda, Wada Nas was the first person to expose that there is a hidden agenda by Obasanjo and his cohort to extend tenure of the president beyond 2007 that is; beyond the two terms of four years each as prescribe in the Nigerian constitution.
2. Fuel increase; he said that there were plan by the Obasanjo’s government to increase the pump price of fuel gradually till it reach hundred naira (N100) per liter .
3. Tafa Balogun / Obasanjo; Wada Nas advice Tafa Balogun to work for Nigeria and Nigerians not for president Obasanjo because he can used him and dumped him, and Nigerians witnessed what happen to Tafa Balogun .
4. Audu Ogbeh / Obasanjo; Wada Nas warned Audu Ogbeh the then National chairman of PDP against his total submission to president Obasanjo at the detriment of the party because he will dump him when he no longer needed his services as he did to his predecessors.
5. Buhari / ANPP Governors; He write and argue that almost all ANPP governor where not with Buhari and in no time they will abandon him, so it happen and Buhari was left alone in the court to challenge a rigged election.
6. South-west Governors/Obasanjo; Wada Nas caution the Aliance for Democracy (AD) south-west governor on their alliance with president Obasanjo because it may risk their seats. We saw how they all lost to PDP except Bola Tinubu.
7. Atiku / Obasanjo; he advice Vice-preident Atiku to be careful with his boss president Obasanjo, because Obasanjo will not support his presidential ambition. Nigerians saw how Atiku was humiliated and Obasanjo did all he could to stop him from succeeding him.
8. Aviation School Zaria; Wada Nas exposed the plan of Obansanjo to relocate school of aviation from Zaria to the South.
Wada Nas gave his children the best that any father can give to his children, he placed so much emphasis on good moral, discipline, respect to elders and education, he used to tell his children that he is not a rich man and will not leave money or property for them but do all his best to give them education. He used to say that, even if it means to sell his own clothe to educate his children he will do, because he believed that education is the best asset he can leave for them. He equally believed that by educating a person you are empowering him so that he can be of use to his family, community and nation at large. He used to advice his children to do the right thing wherever they find themselves and always says the truth in whatever they are doing because truth is universal and immortal. And should they find themselves in position of authority or in any capacity shouldn’t see it as an opportunity to embezzle public fund and make money but as a trust given to them by Almighty Allah and they will account for their deeds before Him in the here-after. He used to say that a good name is better than millions of naira stolen from public treasury. Indeed Wada Nas left a good name worthy of proud for his children.
Thanks to Almighty Allah, most of his children are graduate and working comfortably in various capacity. Wada Nas died after a brief illness in the early hours of Monday, 3rd January 2005. He left two wives and nineteen children. Among his children are: . Alhaji Hassan (State Security Service, SSS), Alhaji Lawal (Woman Affairs Abuja), Nura (KEDCO Head office Kano), Bashir (NYSC Secretariat Kaduna), Dr Usman (National Orthopedic Hospital Dala, Kano), Aliyu (Manager FirstBank Airport Branch, Kano), Abubakar (NHIS Abuja), Captain Ahmad (Nigerian AirForce, Abuja).
“Wada Nas was a man with extra ordinary determination, his name will go down in history as a man who is concerned with moral and structural development of the North and who has dedicated his life to this course”.
May his gentle soul rest in peace, Amin