His wasn’t the most eventful tenure as Minister of Information – certainly not as interesting as his successor, Lai Mohammed – but you must have found his name as fascinating as we did while he was a cabinet member during the GEJ years.
Labaran Maku served as the Minister of Information in President Goodluck Jonathan’s cabinet from December 2010 to January 2015 right before the elections that brought in President Goodluck Jonathan. At the time, Maku entered the gubernatorial race in his home State of Nasarawa under the umbrella of the All Progressive Grand Alliance against the incumbent, Tanko Al- Makura.
If elections were won solely on the power of the backing of incumbency and long term experience, Maku may have actually won as he maintained he did for a while after the results were released.
Labaran Maku attended the University of Jos where he earned a degree in History Education. As a student of the school, he was already leaning towards public service. He was the President of the University’s Students Union as well as the Public Relations person for the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS). And if those weren’t the roles that prepared him for the life of politics he was about to lead then his stint at USAID must have.
Labaran Maku finally joined Nigerian politics in 1999 when he served as the Commissioner of Information, Youth and Sports in Nasarawa till 2002 and then for one more year as the Commissioner for Information and Internal Affairs.
Taking no break, the former Information Minister ran on the same ticket as Adamu Aliyu under the umbrella of the Peoples Democratic Party for the gubernatorial seat during the 2003 election cycle. Labaran Maku served as the Deputy Governor of Nasarawa from 2003 to 2007.
Maku also spent part of his career as a political analyst and editor which probably explains why his cabinet portfolio was often that of Information. When President Jonathan called on Labaran Maku in 2010 to serve in his cabinet, he was again picked up for the role of Information Minister, first as a junior cabinet member and then as the substantive Minister.
Labaran Maku became somewhat more popular after the GEJ term. Starting from when he left the cabinet to run for the office of governor in Nasarawa under the APGA umbrella. He lost that bid to the All Progressive Congress’ Umaru Tanko Al-Makura and immediately assumed the role of Chief critic. First, the election results that didn’t declare him governor and since then, almost about anything related to the current administration.
However, it has been a while since Maku’s words filtered through to the national stage. In 2016, he called for the removal of the immunity clause from the Constitution. He also consistently blamed Governor Al-Makura for everything that went wrong in Nasarawa – from the dwindling economy to alleged Ombatse cult-linked violence.
Maku has however been mostly silent all year and we cannot help but wonder why.
Creative mind. Enthusiast. Learner. Multipotentialite. And here, an assistant editor.