LETTER BY KADUNA RESTORATION GROUP TO GOV NASIR EL’RUFAI
26th June 2017
The Executive Governor,
Kaduna State of Nigeria,
Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, Kaduna
Kaduna State: Matters Arising and The Growing Trend of Civilian Dictatorship
On behalf of the Kaduna Restoration Group, a Political and Ideological coalition of different stakeholders in the polity of Kaduna State in particular and Nigeria in general, it has become necessary to write you this letter alerting you of the fact that Kaduna State under your watch is fast sliding into the abyss, a deep and seemingly bottomless pit which portends grave danger to the socioeconomic fabric of the State due to some autocratic actions being blatantly exhibited by your government.
Sir, our group has painfully observed that despite your government’s saintly and pious declarations especially in your midterm report read on your Democracy Day speech, of having delivered in terms of your Party’s Manifesto especially in the area of welfare delivery for the poor, the reality on ground is that the so called achievements are nonexistent, rather your administration largely exists for itself and a few band of core loyalists with mercantilist tendencies imported into the state. Your so called positive and high credit ratings are therefore trivial, feeble and delusional.
Sadly, your government has failed to unveil any pragmatic agenda that will convince skeptics that it has a functional master plan, rather all its energies have been dissipated on how to make life more depressing to the hapless and poor people of Kaduna State. From its wrongly thought-out school feeding programme which by your government’s own admission, gulped more than N10,000,000,000 (Ten Billion Naira) in 8 months (excluding so many schools in some villages) to the commissioning of the so-called Zaria Water Works which has failed to provide water to end users and to the mindless demolition of houses of citizens and perceived opponents, the story in Kaduna State has remained a tale of woes on the populace especially the poor that came out in droves to vote for the APC led government in anticipation of positive change. We appreciate the level of inherited decay in the polity before the advent of this administration however two years is sufficient for any responsible government to implement and execute its marshal plan if any that will ameliorate the depressing conditions of the poor.
Sir, the list of your government’s anti people’s policies is endless. From contract scams as revealed by Sahara Reporters even though your government came out with a vague and unconvincing defence, it is evident from the style of its delivery that the said government has eschewed, violated and excluded financial rules and regulations, all relevant and extant laws, due process, human resources and governmental institutions from governance.
The Civil and Unified Local Government Services in Kaduna State has been thoroughly bastardized, discredited and replaced by an amorphous contraption called “Consultants” whose terms of reference are at variance with bureaucratic culture that triggers development. The multitude of these imported and rampaging consultants parading the political and economic firmaments of Kaduna State are unknown to the locals and because of their backgrounds as economic vampires, their function is to dispossess the locals from participating in the economic activities of their States and allow these set of people who do not ordinarily live in Kaduna State to by way of capital flight move resources of the people out of the State thereby making the populace politically redundant and economically exploited. Little wonder that on paper there is development, while in reality there is stagnation.
We have noted also that you hardly stay in your duty post in Kaduna. You are more or less a Governor in Diaspora at the expense of the time and commitment of governance. This is the reason why some non-state actors have imposed themselves on governance and can sit in the comfort of Government House to overrule decisions that come out of the State Executive Council. We are told that you have gone back to school abroad, which is an anomalous situation i.e. a deviation from what is standard, normal or expected. A Governor faced with the arduous task of transforming a dysfunctional economy and also faced with myriads of security challenges at this critical juncture has no business going abroad for lessons. We expect that just like the President, you would have transferred power to your Deputy via submission of instrument to the State House of Assembly. This lacuna no doubt sir, continues to reinforce the belief and also represents a clear indication that the State House of Assembly has failed woefully in all its responsibilities.
We note with dismay the sacking of close to 5000 traditional title holders on the excuse that government cannot pay them. This is also dubious and manifestly anti people. If anyone benchmarked the millions of Naira allotted to Senior Special Advisers, emergency Government Consultants and other coterie of Political Jobbers, the salaries and emoluments of these traditional leaders pales to insignificance and nothingness.
Under your watch sir, as an A listed professional project manager capital projects initiated are mostly never completed, and those projects like roads that were completed despite huge expenditure have been washed away by the rains. So many dug culverts remain uncompleted and the flood that comes as a result of the rains has made Kaduna city an eyesore. The touted solar street lights development in the state still remains a figment of imagination. The lightings on Kaduna Streets are so inferior that residents refer to them as “tokumbo”, that expression normally being used in local parlance to depict substandard items. This no doubt defeats the expectations of Kaduna State citizens in anticipating “the Dubai enactment” as promised by your humble self during the campaigns.
Another indication that your government has divested itself from the governed can be seen in the barrage of Court Orders and Injunctions being obtained against the government on a daily basis by people of the State. The explanation is simple: most of the government’s policies are anti people. The over 2000 houses built right from colonial era have also been earmarked for sale which is not only arbitrary but illegal. It is on record sir that the Supreme Court of Nigeria has in landmark cases held that dispossessing the people of their land or houses to sell to others is akin to robbing Peter to pay Paul. But this government from its previous antecedents has always been “in love” with selling public assets to the elites thereby shortchanging the poor. We don’t know why you regale in making the poor not only to suffer but make them also poorer.
It is based on all of the above that we feel the need to caution you to restore your derailed administration back on track and remind you also of the trust and burden of the social contract between you and the people of Kaduna State, a contract thrusted upon you on oath, and by God and history. Kaduna State people and indeed Nigerians are wiser now and if these policies that tend to task the poor are not reversed then the future of APC will no doubt become jeopardized.
Sir, we need also to inform you that abolishing indigene/settler issue in Kaduna State to purely residency is unconstitutional. Section 14(4) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended provides:
The composition of the Government of a State, Local Government Council or any Agencies of such government or Council and the conduct of the affairs of the Government or Council or such agencies shall be carried out in such manner as to recognize the DIVERSITY OF THE PEOPLE WITHIN ITS AREA OF AUTHORITY and a need to promote a sense of belonging and loyalty among all the people of the Federation.
As a result of disobedience of your government to the above, bonafide indigenes are denied scholarship for their education thereby making the pursuit of knowledge by the poor unattainable. Also, the composition of your team offends the above section as most of them are not within the area of authority. They are imported solely for governance. We appreciate that Kaduna State is highly pluralistic because of its diversity; however, we have a lot of materials from the indigenes and those that have a long history of settlement. Therefore surrendering the institutions or allowing them to enact policies when there is no interconnectivity between them and the locals is not only unlawful but highly regrettable. Full residency rights implies that those who wish to stay or live in a particular place would be allowed to do so but cannot partake in governance until they are fully assimilated with the locals.
We are by this letter urging you to seriously look into your administration because its performance has been lackluster and also some of the practitioners are fatigued hence the drudgery in your government. You should be wary of hangers-on, praise singers and bootlickers who will always tell you what you want to hear because it is not in the nature of parasites to tell the truth. However it becomes the responsibility of government to know that the price of greatness is responsibility, by this, please be guided by the immortal words of Sheikh Uthman Danfodio who said “conscience is an open wound and only truth can heal it”.
On our part we are also motivated by the words of the French playwright Jean Baptiste Poquelin known as Moliere who said: “It is not only for what we do that we are held responsible, but also for what we do not do”.
Our group is further piqued with the level of secrecy involved in the auctioning of some state government properties i.e. the Legislative Quarters, the State House Kawo, Kaduna State liaison office in Lagos and some other essential government holdings. There is also the refusal by your government to issue a timetable for the local government elections in the state despite a subsisting court order. We view this as an onslaught against the good people of Kaduna State
Most of your promises to the State have remained largely unfulfilled. The Local Government Autonomy that you promised Kaduna State has remained a mirage and in view of all the aforementioned distortions being deliberately fueled by your administration and other antagonistic postures, we hereby advise that you review and change your pattern of governance which is “family and friends” based.
In essence, the government has derailed from its primary purpose of welfare delivery to the good people of Kaduna State has been abandoned. We hereby make the following suggestions to you as to how to recant and recover from this mis-governance with the hope that if such can be embraced by you, the State might recover from its present lethargic position.
Implicit in any social disorder and distortion occasioned by any leader lies the solution to the crises. It is upon the above precept that we herein proffer the way forward with the belief that the slide can be stopped if your Excellency will have the courage and fortitude to own up and embrace amends. The following therefore represents our advice:
- The hostile reforms of your administration should be revisited for the purpose of re-evaluation and reworking. Examples of such hostile actions that has profound negative consequences is the refusal to adopt a much more liberal and inclusive economic agenda that will involve the people of the State. This of course involves massive industrialization in Kaduna State or effective synergy with the Federal Government to restart the moribund textile industries in Kaduna which has the potentials of employing thousands of people. If the government had within the last 2 years put up a lot of thinking in this regard, so much achievement could have been recorded. It is our humble view, the concept of privatization of government companies will not bring about the desired trigger of industrialization. It will only promote the takeover of our people’s economic patrimony and hand them to a band of capitalist marauders who will simply run them aground or take whatever remains of the value of those assets and share them. The privatization PHCN by the Federal Government is a clear example. To resolve this agriculture, mining and the development of SMEs should assume immediate priority.
Therefore for the common people to feel the pulse of true governance, they must be part of an industrial revolution. This can be done. It has been done before. For example, the N10,000,000,000 wasted on school feeding can kick start an industrial revolution in Kaduna State especially in SMEs. It is hoped that your government will in the next two years assemble a crack economic team whose interest will be altruistic, to proffer suggestion on how to achieve this rather than the yearly jamboree of Investment Conferences, simply a talk show whose agenda for development remains a mere promissory note.
- Your government’s refusal so far to conduct local government elections and also to allow for its autonomy to flourish despite your promise before you assume the mantle of leadership is a policy that is not in line with progress. Since your assumption, local government administration has remained undemocratic which is an anathema to democratic norms. Do not forget sir, that your refusal to obey a valid and subsisting Court Order with regards to this portrays you as a dictator. The courts remain a stabilizing factor in our Democracy. This is very apt and elementary and any leader who treats court decisions with scorn and derision is helping to entrench a Hobbesian culture of rule of man rather than rule of law. The effect of this is that the local government funds in Kaduna State are being subsumed into an illegal State account. In fact, the State due to this factor has begin to play the role of the local government councils by making policies and rules with regards to taxes on markets and parks and that is why most people are not aware of the bogus claim of increase in Internally Generated Revenue by the State which includes that of the 23 local governments. It is our humble view that, you should remedy this.
- We herein also call for the re-opening of all the closed institutions in the Southern part of Kaduna State as this is not only inimical to the human capacity development of the area and other parts of the state, but also remains ad hominem. As the Chief Security Officer, we implore you to give adequate security to the zone in particular and the state in general, but not to deny them the opportunity to be in school.
- We also note that accountability and transparency in the appropriation of State funds is shrouded in secrecy. The Paris Club refunds and bailouts amongst others accruing to Kaduna State and how it is being expended are unknown. It becomes imperative for the public to know the extend and status of local and external borrowings and a cross match of the debt components incurred by this government and a repayment plan so as to avoid mortgaging the future of the state and that of generations yet unborn. We are also concerned that most major contracts in Kaduna State go to people who are neither here nor there and their government surrogates as published by Sahara Reporters. We have a condition of economic invasion by locusts in Kaduna State. Sir, you have to take charge of this gross economic anomaly and deprivation of the people of Kaduna State and reintegrate them back to be part of the economic activities of their State.
- With due respect sir, you may have to re-jig your cabinet. The structure of government in Kaduna State looks more of El-Rufa’i and Partners than a reflection of the local government councils that make up Kaduna State. You will agree that this has always been one of the tensions created by your administration; Kaduna should be governed by its own people not outsiders. Also the array of inexperienced people hovering around you shows one thing, you do not intend to expand the leadership base beyond your family and friends and close business associates. We therefore advise that you should immediately re-jig your administration from the template of outright cronyism towards true democratization of office holders.
- May we also suggest that the political party at least at the State level should be released from your stranglehold. Your holding unto the party has further precipitated political and legal crises and as things stand now, APC in the State is in dire strait. We hope you will restore internal democracy in the party.
- Another advice in this regard is for your Excellency to adopt a much more democratic means of dealing with co-participants in our democratic odyssey in Kaduna State. In this respect, compromise is the keyword. The language of your government is unnecessarily combative and your approach to dissent is to roughen your opponents. The threats of prosecution or punishment by you at the slightest opposition are unbecoming of a leader. The language of government must be civil and temperate or the polity will be unnecessarily overheated. Also may we herein advice that you should always be a man of your word. In our society, promise kept confers honour and respect. You once told the State that you and your deputy will be on half salary. We don’t know whether that has been complied with. The last time you made your pay slip public, we were unable to discern this fact. We hope that you will continue to comply until you choose to do otherwise since that is your prerogative. We need to remind you also of your promise that your cabinet will in line with social responsibility enroll their children and yours in public schools. We remind you of the need to inform us if all have complied. Don’t forget a man is bound by his words.
Conclusively, please do kindly note that this letter is informed by our selfless concern for the welfare of our State and not motivated by parochial or trivial concerns. We also chose to write you because you do have a history of writing to other leaders whom you may have perceived to have derailed and since we know that we share this common trait of activism with you, rather than be offended, you should take it as a good and well intentioned gesture aimed at assisting you. After all, you have declared in many for a that you want more criticism than praise singing.
Sir, development is about collectivism and not “I Know It All Syndrome”. You must therefore listen to other views if indeed your mission is to make Kaduna great again. Your body language in which you don’t brook opposition largely remains the reason why your aides are not telling you the truth and that is why up to this moment you continue to exhibit a toga of “all is well” in Kaduna State. We make bold to say that all is not well. We however shall leave you to ruminate over this quote by the famous English political philosopher John Dalberg-Acton who said: “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely”
Please do accept the assurances of our best regards.
Alhaji (Dr.) Ahmed Tijjani Ramalan (Chairman)
Yusuf Dankofa, Ph.D (Professor of Law) Secretary