Kabiru Tanimu Turaki
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Danmasanin Gwandu (SAN)
Kabiru Tanimu Turaki
Official portrait, 2019
|Political party||People's Democratic Party|
|Parents||Alhaji Tanimu Turaki|
|Alma mater||University of Jos|
Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, SAN, FCIArb, FABs, FCIDA, HCH.Hm, MPIS, MHCA (Dan Masanin Gwandu, Zarumman Kabbi) (born 3 April 1957) is a senior advocate of Nigeria, a former Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernment Affairs, former supervising Minister, Ministry of Labour, having served from 2013–2015 and 2014–2015 respectively and current[when?] Chairman of People's Democratic Party former Ministers’ Forum of Nigeria.
A practicing lawyer and a politician, he contested for Kebbi state governor's seat three times. He is presently[when?] a member of People's Democratic Party's Board of Trustees.
Early life and education
Kabiru was born at the Nasarawa area of Kebbi to the family of Alhaji Tanimu. Like other children of his age, Tanimu was sent to the Qur'anic school. In order to acquire Western education, he was further enrolled into Nasarawa Primary School, Birnin Kebbi, where he was appointed as the deputy head boy and timekeeper of the school.
Turaki attended Barewa College, Zaria, and was the deputy house captain at Suleiman Barau House and president of the Young Farmers Club.
To further his education, Kabiru went to the College of Arts and Science, Sokoto for his I.J.M.B., and then earned admission into the University of Jos, to read law. He graduated with honour and proceeded to the Nigerian Law School, Lagos where he was called to the Nigerian bar in 1986.
Turaki is married and has children. He is a Muslim, Hausa Fulani from Kebbi state. He is the first lawyer from Kebbi state and the entire former northwestern states to become a senior advocate.
He was appointed the Dan Masanin Gwandu by the Emir of Gwandu in February, 2002, in celebration of his achievements, and support for the development of his community. He was also conferred with the traditional title of Zarumman Kabi by Argungu Emirate in 2012.
Turaki has been a member of the National Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association, Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Committee on the Judiciary, and a member of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Judicial Institute. He was also appointed as the Chairman of the Nigerian Copyright Commission by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2012, a position he held until 2013 when he became a minister in the government of Nigeria with the responsibility of piloting the newly recreated Federal Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs and as the Honourable Supervising Minister of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity in 2014 and 2015. He was also made the Chairman of the White Paper Committee on the Report of the Presidential Committee of Experts on Interprofessional Relationships in the Public Health Sector. President Jonathan also appointed Turaki as Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North.
In recognition of his contributions to the development of Nigeria, Turaki has been honoured with the following honours and awards:
- Honorary Life Member, Law Student Society, Bayaro University, Kano
- Patron, Law Students Society, University of Jos
- Patron, Kebbi State Student Association
- Patron, “Tashi Mana” Theatre, Literacy and Debate Club, Waziri Umaru Federal Polytechnic, Birnin Kebbi
- Patron, Association of Deaf and Dumb, Kano State Branch
- Patron, Gwandu Emirate Student Association
- Life Patron, National Association of Nigerian Students
- Sheikh Abdullahi Fodio Award
- National Association of Mathematical Science Student of Nigeria Award of Excellence
- National Association of Kebbi State Students Star Award
- Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award by SUG, University of Jos
- Distinguished Personality of the Year Award by Law Students, University of Jos
- African Meritorious Service Award for Good Leadership
- Nigerian Youth Ambassador Award
- Arewa Publishers Union Distinguished Merit Award
- BEEMA Communications Ltd. Golden Star Award
- Barewa Old Boys Association Merit Award
- Zenith International Award for Excellence
- Icon of Hope Award by National Association of Polytechnic Students
- Nigerian Bar Association, Kano Branch, Merit Award
- Nigerian Students Merit Award
- Glibalink International Leadership Gold Award
- NYLF Exceptional Leadership Award
- LAWSAN Merit Award
- 2009 Kwame Nkrumah Distinguished Leadership Award
- AIDO Communication African Outstanding Leader and Philanthropist Award (Ghana)
- African Role Model Leadership Gold Award for Excellence
- African Credibility Award
- Association of Zamfara, Kebbi and Sokoto States Student Merit Award
- Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Loan and Risk Management of Nigeria Award
- Fellow of the Civilian Institute of Democratic Administration Award
- Distinguished Award by Body of Senior Advocate of Nigeria – Abuja Branch
- Nigeria Union of Local Government Award
- Special Award by Belarusian Security Organization
- Special Recognition Award by BAREWA Old Boys Association National Secretariat
- Special Letter of Commendation for National Service by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan
On graduation from the Nigerian Law School, Turaki opted to be a private legal practitioner. Instead of remaining in his hometown, he went to Kano where he became a senior consul with Alhaji Tijjani Abdullahi and Company (Solicitors and Advocates) in 1987. After two years, he formed to K. T. Turaki and Co.
As a lawyer, Turaki has practiced in virtually every court and tribunal in the country, including Magistrate Court, High Court, the Court of Appeal, Armed Robbery Tribunal, Miscellaneous Offences Tribunal, Election Petition Tribunals and even the Apex Court, the Supreme Court of Nigeria. He has been a retained external solicitor and legal adviser to many organizations throughout Nigeria.
Turaki was appointed a member of the Kano State Law Reporting Committee in 1999 and a member of the Committee for the review of legislation in Kano State. The following year, he served in the committee that reviewed the Northern States Penal Code Law in 1992.
When the Nigeria Bar Association was going through one of its trying moments, Turaki was one of those called upon to resolve its crisis in 1993.
Turaki was a member of the National Political Reform Conference in 2004, as well as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Team Nigerian Trust Fund, a body that was set up to galvanize private sector participation in the sports development and financing in Nigeria.
When the defunct Bank of the North was in murky waters, Turaki was on the intervention board that was set up by the regulatory agencies to restore the bank that was on the verge of collapse to profitability.
He was at various times a member of the Council of Legal Education, as well as member for the review of investment laws in Nigeria. He was also a member of the Ministerial Committee for the Implementation of Reforms in the Nigeria Police Force as well as the committees set up by the Body of Benchers to review the laws regulating legal practice in Nigeria. His contributions led to his appointment as a notary public by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, and his elevation of the prestigious rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2002.
Turaki is a member of many professional bodies, including:
- Nigeria Bar Association
- African Bar Association
- Commonwealth Lawyers Association
- International Bar Association
- Lawyers in Defence of Human Rights
- Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
Turaki's political career began during his school years, when he was chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the Students’ Union of SCAS, Sokoto. At the University of Jos, he was a member of the Senate of the National Association of Nigerian Students and a member of the Students’ Representative Assembly of the University and President of the Federated Organisation of Sokoto State Students and President of Birnin Kebbi Youth Association.
After graduating, Turaki continued participating in politics. He was secretary of the Youth Wing of the National Party of Nigeria in 1981. He joined United Nigeria Congress Party in 1996 where he stood as Kebbi State Gubernatorial aspirant for the party. In 1998, Turaki joined All Peoples’ Party where he was member of its National Executive Committee and in 2000 he was elevated to its Board of Trustees.
However, as the political arena in the country shifted, Turaki decamped to United Nigerian Peoples’ Party and contested for the seat of Kebbi State Governor in 2003. After the 2003 elections, he decamped to People's Democratic Party the same year and was the Party's Kebbi State gubernatorial aspirant in 2007. Following series of betrayals and numerous controversies, Turaki decided to join ACN in 2011. This, however, did not last as he later returned to People's Democratic Party the same year. In 2014/15, Turaki was appointed deputy director general (North) of the People's Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Organization.
In 2013, Turaki was chosen by President Goodluck Jonathan for the rebirthing Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs. The President added the responsibility of Supervising Ministry of Labour and Productivity in 2014. Turaki managed the two ministries until 2015.
When the need arose to open up dialogue with the Boko Haram insurgents, Turaki was the choice of the federal government and was appointed chairman of the Presidential Committee for Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North. A committee which for more than two years engaged the insurgents in discussion that saw many leaders of Boko Haram accepting the dialogue option as a means of resolving the insecurity situation in the northeast geo-political zone of Nigeria.
Tuaraki was chosen to lead government delegations to Niger, Senegal, and Belarus.
In 2014 he was chosen by President Goodluck Jonathan to serve as the deputy director general of his campaign, and in 2015 was appointed to the board of trustees of the People's Democratic Party.
Dialogue with Boko Haram
On April 24, 2013, President Goodluck Jonathan inaugurated the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North to be chaired by Turaki. The committee was to open talks with Boko Haram within three months, and work out modalities for an amnesty for the insurgents and compensation for its victims.
The committee immediately began work and was able to engage some Boko Haram larders and already repented members into dialogue.
On June 16, 2013, the committee made first public statement detailing how the federal government planned to begin the process of disarmament and de-radicalization of Boko Haram members who surrendered their arms as well as ensuring that they were rehabilitated.
On July 11, 2013, the committee announced ceasefire deal with Boko Haram. Turaki stated that the ceasefire deal had the blessings of Sheikh Abubakar Shekau, the sect's leader. He further gave assurance that all Nigerians would be privy to a ceasefire agreement that would be signed in due course. In his words:
“We’re still working on the framework where we’ll sign an agreement and we’ll make that public. Wherever and whenever we agree on the time and place, the international and local media as well as all Nigerians will be privy to it.”
On the terms of the ceasefire agreement, he said it was still being worked on and the broader framework being discussed, after which Nigerians would be duly informed.
However, on July 13, 2013, barely 48 hours after Turaki's statement, Shekau punctured the federal government's claim that the Islamist extremists had agreed to a ceasefire deal in the spirit of Ramadan.
On July 22, 2013, nine days after Shekau released his video, Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria called on President Goodluck Jonathan to immediately disband the Turaki-led committee. The association claimed that it would amount to grave disservice to the public for the committee to continue to exist after Shekau had debunked Turaki's claim that his committee has secured a ceasefire deal with Boko Haram. They further described the exercise as a “huge scam and a scandalous contraption that ought not to have been set up in the first place”. On July 31, 2013, another Pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, called for the immediate disbandment of the committee, saying recent events had overtaken its usefulness. They also called for an urgent probe of Turaki, who was also the Minister of Special Duties, to ascertain where his hoax of a ceasefire came from. Afenifere expressed concerns over renewed violent campaigns by the radical Islamist sect which claimed scores of lives in separate attacks in Borno and Kano States within 48 hours.
However, these calls by the two separate organization felt deaf ears as President Goodluck Jonathan extended the timeline of the committee by two months. Turaki said the discordant tunes coming from the sect represent the various dynamics within them. There are people who are engaged in it on the basis of ideology or dogma. Some people are doing it on the basis of economic benefits. He added that some people are fifth columnists, who will make sure you don't succeed in whatever you do.
After six months, the committee submitted its report to President Jonathan.
Gay Marriage Rejection
In August 2013, the Nigerian government rejected gay marriage at the Federal Executive Council despite pressure from the international community to legalize it. Being the minister who gave an insight into how the federal government took the decision, a forum of individuals and organizations who support gay marriage channelled their grievance directly to Turaki. In a statement directly made by Turaki, he said:
“When we were at the Federal Executive Council and we were discussing the issue of gay marriage, we all said that it is very unnatural. How can we explain this to Nigerians? That a man will go and marry a man and a woman will go and marry a fellow woman. Then we also discussed the aspect of the psychological and mental trauma that the children of such union, whether adopted or not, will have to go through. For example when they go to school and they are asked; who are your parents? And they have to answer that their mummy and daddy are both men or are both female. This does not fit into a highly religious society like ours. There is nowhere in the world where God is worshipped like in Nigeria. Even traditional worshippers also take their religion very seriously, we pray a lot and that is why God has not forsaken Nigeria. We have been through situations that saw many counties went into pieces but whatever happens in Nigeria, like an elephant, Nigeria will only shake its body and move on”.
These words did not go well with those individuals and groups who supported gay marriage. They attributed his words as being too religious denial of human rights.
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