UMD NFLC Hausa Lessons/136 Government Accountability in Nigeria

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Title: Government Accountability in Nigeria

Description: This is a May 2014 radio interview featuring a prominent Nigerian politician who discusses his views about the democratic and constitutional processes in Nigeria. WinXP users should install Arial Unicode font.

Speakers: Ado Sale, Alhaji Sani Hashim Hotoro, Alhaji Ada'u Isa Rano

Program: Not available

Publisher: Freedom Radio Nigeria

Publication Date: 2014-08-20

Source Text Type: Radio


Language: Hausa

Level: 2+/3

Topic: Economics/Politics

Cultural Notes: Yes

Modality: Listening

Core Competency: Comprehension

Estimated Duration: 45 minutes

Preparatory Activity: Constructed Response

Based on your own prior knowledge, describe Nigeria's current form of government.

Model Response: Nigeria is a federal republic with a central government that has executive, legislative, and judicial branches. There are thirty-six states in Nigeria.


Source Text Translation

ADO SALE: Alhaji Sani Hashim Hotoro, shugaban Jam’iyan ANPP na Jihar Kano. An yi shugabanci, kuma alhamdililahi. Maguɗin zaɓe duk wani maganganun da muka tauttauna, an ta maganar irin waɗannan abubuwa, amma ba kai tsaye ake magana magudin zaɓe. Mi ke sa yan siyasa su tsaya kai da fata a yi maguɗi zaɓe dan a ce su suka ci zaɓe?

ALHAJI SANI HASHIM HOTORO: To, ah! alhamdulilahi ni dai, Allah cikin ikonsa mu jam’iyanmu, ba mu a maguɗin zaɓe.

ADO SALE: Haka dai ake ce. Mai yiyuwa, zaka bada shaida cewa baka yin hakan.

ALHAJI SANI HASHIM HOTORO: Kwarai kuwa. ALHAJI ADA’U ISA RANO: Na ji wani abu yau, mai ta da hankali yau a BBC, in da wani yake cewa suna bada Naira ashirin ashirin, a kwano, kwanon abinci, sun ɗangwala kuri’a su zuba a kwanon, su tura. A BBC kam, na ji makamancin wannan. Wato a gaskiya, kamar yadda shi Alhaji Ado yake faɗa, tsarin da aka taho da shi da ya gurɓata, abunda ya gurɓata shi, ba jama’a Nijeriya ne suka zauna ba suka tsara kundin tsarin mulkin.

ADO SALE: Yauwa! ALHAJI ADA’U ISA RANO: Sojoji ne suka yi kundin tsarin mulki n, su kuma suka ce, yanda suka sa shi, haka kuma suke so a bisu. Da a ce yanzu, wannan ƙoƙarin da majalisa take yin a gyare gyaren kundin tsarin mulkin nan, ya kamata a bada dama ta duba ta ga ina ne ya kamata a shigo da harkan jama’a. Duk abunda aka ce soja ya zauna ya yi, to dama sai ka samu kuskure.

ADO SALE: Amma, amma, mutanen ƙasa, akasari na cewa.


ADO SALE: A ƙasar na cewa, duk abinda ake a ƙasar nan na tafiyar da doka da oda,


ADO SALE: Wanda tsarin mulki yana a ciki. Ba magana, ba dokan ba ne ba. Masu aiwatarwa ne ke komawa gefe su ce: ba wanda ya isa ya ce mana mu yi kaza.

ALHAJI SANI HASHIM HOTORO: To ai, shi ne ya sa, duk ɗan siyasa, ɗan siyasa da za ya koma gefe guda ya ce ba wanda ya isa sai mun yi abu kaza, ba ɗan siyasa ba ne. Ai, wanda aka sani ɗan siyasa, shi ne mutumin jama’a cikin jama’a kullum da jama’a, kullum jama’a. kuma jama’a su kariya maka ra’ayi da kai ka tsaya a kanshi domin jama’an kake yi wa. Amma, idan ɗan siyasa ya ce dole ne, sai an yi kaza, to, ka faɗa dai tsarin mulki soja kamar yanda ni ke faɗa ma ka. Kuma maganar sojoji, ko 'yan sanda, shigo da su ma cikin ma’amala. Ai a tsarin mulkin domokra’iya. Bai kamata ka shigo da su ba. Don me ƙasashe da suka cigaba suka cigaba? Ai, sun ci gaba ne saboda institushon din da suka sa, kamar tsarin jigajigen wurare Kaman sojoji sibil sarbant ma’aikatan gwamnati, 'yan sanda, an ware nasu wata harkan kuɗi, an ba ta wata mahimanci da aka ajiye ta gafe guda. In an ce soja ne, wannan haraka, to ta sojoji ce. In 'yan sanda ne, su ne za’a shigo da su cikin mutane ayi ma’amula da su. Idan an ce harakan fainans ne, to 'yan kasuwa da sauransu, suke wannan harakan. To, amma da a ce jama’a ne suka zauna, suka tsara wannan mulkin duk waɗannan abinda nike gaya maka, sai an shigo da shi.

ADO SALE: Tau, ya ya za ayi?

ALHAJI SANI HASHIM HOTORO: Amma, yanzu, kowa, da ya hau, idan mutum ya hau mulki, sai ya zama shi ma ɗan karamin soja ne. Abinda Obasanjo ya yi kenan. Abinda shi kan shi Jonathan kan sa yake yi kenan. Da farko, an ɗauka shi ɗan siyasa ne shi, ya yi deputi gwamna, Jonathan za ya yi, abi tsarin demokaradiya, a bi tsarin mulki. Amma, me ya faru? Maimakon mutane su ci gaba, sai mutane baya suke ci. Maimako arziki ya ci gaba, arziki, sai ƙasa yake yi, maimako tsarin jama’a da ake domin su, a ce suna gani a ƙasa, sai su ka daina gani.

ADO SALE: Alhaji Sani Hashim Hotoro, the chairman of ANPP [All Nigerian People’s Party— Trans.] in Kano State. There was good leadership, and we are grateful to God. Election rigging, all of the discussions we have been having, we have talked about all sorts of things, but we have not directly talked about election rigging. Why do politicians ardently support electoral rigging so they can say they won the election?

ALHAJI SANI HASHIM HOTORO: Well, ah! Praise be to God. As for me, by the power of God, our political party, we do not participate in election rigging.

ADO SALE: That is what they say. Is it possible for you to provide evidence that you do not do so?

ALHAJI SANI HASHIM HOTORO: Certainly, yes. ALHAJI ADA’U ISA RANO: I heard something today, something disturbing on BBC today. Someone was claiming that they were offering twenty naira [Nigerian currency— Trans.] in bowls, food bowls, to people who cast votes, placed them in the bowls, and sent them over. It was actually on BBC that I heard something of this sort. As a matter of fact, just like Alhaji Ado is saying, regarding the policy that was instituted and failed, the reason for its failure is that the Nigerian people were not the ones who drew up the constitution.

ADO SALE: Exactly! ALHAJI ADA’U ISA RANO: It was the army who drew up the constitution, and they are the ones who said that we must follow the constitution the way they have written it. Now, this attempt by the parliament to modify this constitution, they [lawmakers— Trans.] should be given the opportunity to see where they ought to include the affairs of the people. Whenever a task is given to a soldier, well you can be sure there will be mistakes.

ADO SALE: But, but, most of the populace say—


ADO SALE: The populace mostly says that, whatever is being done in this country involves law and order—


ADO SALE: —of which the constitution is one. It is not a case of there being no law but of those who are supposed to uphold the law stepping aside and saying, “There is no one who can tell us to do this or that.”

ALHAJI SANI HASHIM HOTORO: Well, that is why any politician, any politician who takes a side and says, “There is no one who can confront us, and we can do whatever we like,” is not a true politician. The truth is, the person who is a politician is the one who is a man of the people, is among the people, and is always with the people, and the people are the ones who have given you the opportunity because you are serving them. But if a politician says it is mandatory to do this or that, well, you have gone back to military rule just as I was telling you. But on the issue of soldiers, or policemen, even involving them in the democratic process is unnecessary. Why are developed countries developed? Well, they are developed because of the institutions they have put in place, like the policies in place regarding soldiers, civil servants, and police. They have allocated some funds to them, and this is given importance to the extent that it is funded. If a soldier is involved in something, then the army handles the situation. If it is the police, then the police are the ones that are brought in to handle the situation. If it is a financial matter, then businessmen and others will handle it. If it were the people who sat down and drafted the constitution then all these things that I am telling you would have been included.

ADO SALE: Well, what can be done?

ALHAJI SANI HASHIM HOTORO: But, right now, everyone who takes the reins of power, if someone assumes an office, he then becomes a small soldier himself. That was what Obasanjo [former Nigerian army general and president Olusegun Obasanjo— Trans.] did. This is even what Jonathan [President Goodluck Johnathan— Trans.] himself is doing. Initially, we thought he was a politician; he was a deputy governor. Jonathan will come to power, democratic rule will take hold, and the rule of law will prevail. But what happened? Instead of people progressing, people are regressing. Instead of the economy improving, the economy is declining. Instead of the people seeing obvious examples of development, the reverse is the case.


Comprehension Check Activity 1: Constructed Response

What is Alhaji Ada'u Isa Rano's tone when he discusses the military?

Model Response: Rano's tone toward the military is contemptuous. This is especially evident when he says the military cannot be trusted to do anything without making mistakes.

Comprehension Check Activity 2: Multiple Choice

Which of the following statements best represents what the speakers imply about the public's stance on constitutional reform?

  1. [ ] The public is angry about corruption. They are engaged and actively seeking reform.
  2. [ X ] The public is apathetic. Their main priority is law and order, and they currently have that.
  3. [ ] The public is intimidated. They are unhappy with their leaders but unwilling to fight for change.
  4. [ ] The public is happy. The constitution gives them true freedom and they feel well represented.

Feedback: Correct. The speakers imply that the public is most concerned with law and order and is satisfied with the fact that there is a constitution at all. The speakers imply that the people are not concerned with the fact that the constitution was drafted by the military or that the military and elected officials do not always abide by the laws in the constitution.

Comprehension Check Activity 3: Multiple Choice

Alhaji Sani Hashim Hotoro says a model politician is someone who is able to be a liaison between the common people and the military and political leadership.

  1. [ ] True
  2. [ X ] False

Feedback: Correct. The statement is false. Hotoro says true politicians dedicate themselves to the people. He describes a leader who is a man of the people, stays among the people, and remembers that he is accountable to the people because they are the ones who gave him power to begin with. Hotoro only mentions politicians' responsibilities to the people and does not say a politician should be a liaison for the military or other political leaders.

Comprehension Check Activity 4: Multiple Choice

Which of the following statements best summarize Hotoro's opinion about why developed countries have been successful in governance?

  1. [ ] They have more financial resources at their disposal.
  2. [ ] They have more robust laws and enforcement actions against corruption.
  3. [ X ] They allocate responsibilities and funds to different institutions.
  4. [ ] They have a more engaged civilian population.

Feedback: Correct. Hotoro asserts that developed countries are successful because they have policies that dictate which institutions are responsible for which affairs. In other words, the military handles military affairs, the police handle crime, and business experts handle commerce. Hotoro also mentions that developed countries allocate funds accordingly to enable institutions to carry out their responsibilities.

Comprehension Check Activity 5: Select All that Apply

What can be inferred about Hotoro's position on Nigerian President Goodluck Johnathan?

  1. [ X ] Hotoro thinks Johnathan is taking the country in the wrong direction.
  2. [ ] Hotoro thinks Johnathan has allowed corruption to flourish.
  3. [ X ] Hotoro supported Johnathan initially but no longer agrees with his policies.
  4. [ ] Hotoro supported Johnathan's stance on diplomacy during the election.
  5. [ X ] Hotoro thinks Johnathan was elected as a true politician but is now a military dictator.

Feedback: Correct. At the end of the interview, Hotoro says that he expected Johnathan to behave like a politician because he was a deputy governor. From this statement it can be inferred that Hotoro was initially a supporter of Johnathan but no longer is because Johnathan has not lived up to Hotoro's expectations. It can also be inferred that Hotoro thinks Johnathan has become more of a military dictator than a politician. Hotoro also criticizes the general direction of the country under Johnathan, arguing that the country is regressing. Hotoro does not directly address the issues of corruption or diplomacy.

Comprehension Check Activity 6: Constructed Response

Summarize the main argument made by the guests in this interview.

Model Response: The guests' main argument is that the public should be involved in governing the country and in crafting the constitution because when the military or those controlled by the military write the laws and control the government, the country suffers and becomes less of a democracy.


  1. ANPP <> abbr. for All Nigeria People’s Party
  2. tsaya kai da fata <> (lit: to stand head and skin) ardently support
  3. mai ta da hankali <> (lit: which raises the mind) disturbing
  4. ɗangwala kuri’a <> cast votes
  5. kundin tsarin mulkin <> (lit: book of ruling sytem) constitution
  6. da ya hau <> (lit: as he climbs) takes the reins of power
  7. gani a ƙasa <> (lit: to see on the ground) seeing obvious examples of development


The Notes provide cultural and linguistic information helpful for comprehending the text.

Nigeria's Military Dictatorships

During the post-Independence era, from 1966 to 1999, Nigeria was governed by a series of successive military dictatorships with short periods of civilian government. The first military coup took place in January 1966. General Sani Abacha is perhaps Nigeria's most notorious leader. Abacha ruled from 1993 until 1998 and was accused of widespread human rights abuses, including the execution of activist and playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa in 1995. Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka was also sentenced to death during Abacha's rule, but escaped the country and remained in exile until 1999. Nigeria has been under civilian rule since 1999, when former military ruler General Olusegun Obasanjo was democratically elected president. Although Nigeria officially remains a republic, many elections have been contested amid accusations of voter fraud and vote rigging. Peaceful elections have been complicated by distrust and charges of unfair treatment by different ethnic and religious groups.


Awde, Nicholas. 1996. Hausa–English, English–Hausa Dictionary . New York: Hippocrene Books.

This bilingual dictionary includes terminology relevant to users with interests in computing, information technology, business, and telecommunications. It includes over eighteen thousand entries.

Newman, Paul. 2007. A Hausa–English Dictionary , Yale Language Series. New Haven: Yale University Press.

This Hausa to English dictionary includes appendices on grammar and calendar terminology.

Newman, Roxana Ma. 1990. An English–Hausa Dictionary , Yale Language Series. New Haven: Yale University Press.

This English to Hausa dictionary includes appendices on grammar, pronunciation, and currency systems.

On-Line Bargery. n.d. A Hausa–English dictionary and English–Hausa vocabulary. Accessed October 14, 2014.

This online resource features approximately forty thousand Hausa to English entries.

Additional Information

For an analysis of the political situation in Nigeria, read "Nigeria in 2014," by Opeyemi Agbaje, published on January 8, 2014, by Nigeria Politics Online, and available at the following URL:

For information about former president Obasanjo's comments on the 2015 elections, read "Ex-President Warns Against All-Muslim Ticket for 2015 Elections," by Jola Sotubo, published on October 27, 2014, on, and available at the following URL:

For more information about the Nigerian military, read "Nigeria's Military Targets Newspapers Over Security Fears," distributed by Agence France Press and published by the Eastern Mirror on June 7, 2014, and available at the following URL:

For more information about contemporary Nigerian politics, read "Masu Ruwa Da Tsaki" (The Influentials), published to Facebook on August 14, 2014, and available at the following URL: