Katsina: The Power State Of Nigeria?


Dr. Yusuf Bala Usman’s seminal thesis, “The Transformation of Katsina 1796—1903”, may be an intellectual pointer to the political stature of Katsina State in North-western Nigeria, but TORDUE SALEM in this analysis, attempts to unravel the enigma in its meteoric rise to power and distinction.

Niger State may have been coronated as the Power State between the 80s and the late 90s, when the genial general, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and his kinsman, Abdulsalam Abubakar held sway as military Heads of State, but it appears it has lost the crown to a seemingly unassuming

While the Kaduna Mafia (Prof. Mvendaga Jibo’s coinage) held economic and political court from the 60s, elements from the present Katsina State, lurked in the corners and at the same time called the shots in a medley of powerful military oligarchs, top bureaucrats, leading businessmen and political heavy weights.


Though the Jos and Kano capitals dragged hard from the Northern political periphery, Kaduna remained central and in a brief contention with Minna, which called its parallel shots as a result of the irresistible charm and amazing network of IBB.

Leading actors of the Kaduna Mafia, also included people who later become  indigenes of Katsina, like the current President Muhammadu Buhari, Late Umaru Musa YarÁdua and Shehu Musa YarÁdua, Isa Kaita, Yusuf Bala Usman, Mamman Daura, Hamza Rafindadi Zayyad, the leading banker, Umar Mutallab and several others.

Hassan Katsina, former Governor of Northern region, and the first Katsina indigene to rise high in the Army, and also one of the few people in the country to form the National Party of Nigeria (NPNP) in the Second Republic, also formed the Kaduna Mafia, before his death in 1995.

A notable Katsina State indigene, late Shehu Musa Yar’Adua is nationally seen as the most skilled Nigerian politician of Northern extraction. Having served as Vice President to the then Head of State, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, he went on to work as Minister of Transport in the government of ex-Head of State, Gen. Murtala Mohammed.

He was one of the prominent founders of the Peoples Democratic Party that took power from the military in 1999. His influence permeated the entire country, as he had political proteges not only in the North, but in the South-west, South-south and the South-east.

The bulk of Northerners who have exacted influence in the North and Nigeria, are the Late Shehu Musa’s father and former Minister of Lagos, Musa Yar’Adua, top business man Umar Faruk Mutallab, former Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Coomassie(1993-1995), former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Mohammed Bello, Mohammed Tukur Liman, and ex Majority Leader of the Senate.

Others are Abdul Yandama, Abdulmumuni Aminu, Sen. Abu Ibrahim, Ibrahim Ida, Samaila Mamman and Sani Daura.

The list also include  Muhammed Dikko Yusuf, IGP (1975-1979), Former Governor of Kaduna State, Abba Rima(1980-1983), and another Former Governor of Kaduna, Lawal Kaita.

These top Katsina heavy weights, also have blood links with power houses in Kano and Kaduna. Former Emir of Kano, Abdullahi Bayero (1926-1953), for example, has blood links with the former Emir of Katsina, Usman Nagogo, so the Katsina influence has since pre-independent Nigeria, spread across the North and Nigeria.

Some of these personalities who have constituted the power base of Katsina, nay Kaduna, are also part of the Sullubawa ruling class that over the years ruled a bigger part of the North and particularly Katsina state for a century From 1906—2006.

The return to democracy in 1979, was heralded by the influence of notable Katsina sons, namely M.D. Yusuf, Shehu Yar’Adua and several others.

Katsina has not only wielded influence in politics and the economy of the North, it has also dominated the academia for decades.

Late historian of northern extraction, Dr. Yusuf Bala Usman is the founder of the Kaduna-based Centre for Democratic Development, Research and Training (CEDDERT).

In life, he was an intellectual leader in the North, and had led the country towards a new way of looking at the country’s history. Besides being one of the founders of the revolutionary Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), he was a formidable intellectual force and a former Secretary to the Kaduna State Government under the rule of Balarabe Musa.

Shehu M. YarÁdua became such a force that in 1993, his caucus of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), was relied upon in the choice of Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Yar’Ádua’s influence would later envelope the entire North and to even the south, through protégés like former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Dapo Sarumi and Yomi Edu.

The late Shehu Yar’Adua, also extended his influence to the business sector, where he held stakes in manufacturing, banking and several others.

His political followers will later form  a cell within the PDP, named the Peoples Democratic Movement led by ex-VP Atiku Abubakar.

The PDM is now a political party on its own, with a reasonable influence in the North.

President Muhammadu Buhari today in Nigeria, also remains the most popular and powerful president since 1960. Despite the economic downturn, he still commands overwhelming influence in Nigeria and abroad.

Besides ex- president Olusegun Obasanjo, Katsina is the only State in Nigeria to have one man repeat the Presidency twice, as military Head of State and civilian president.

Katsina is also the only state to produce two civilian presidents. Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Buhari.

Katsina is also the only state in Nigeria to have one family produce a president and Vice President.

Could Katsina then be a mini America where multiple presidents would cone from families?