BY COL. ALBEHU GORA DAUDA (retd)
‘The North is the headquarters of poverty, banditry, terrorism and illiteracy comparable with Afghanistann – Gov el-Rufai
I picked up the above statement credited to the governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir el-Rufai on social media and, therefore, cannot assure of its veracity. If the statement turns out to be true, I should be right to see it as the sermon by Saint el-Rufai. Unlike the famous sermon on the Mount that Christians are used to, this one was delivered to youth groups from the North of this country. Whether true or not, I have chosen to believe it to be true, given El Rufai’s proclivity for reckless and utterly irresponsible speech.
Being a leader by my understanding does not and should not amount to being a vuvuzela. Good leaders, particularly in a democracy, rely on what they see, what they hear and based on these, they carefully articulate their position which is to say that they speak less, but act more. It is only in the Military that the thinking is done mostly at the strategic level to be carried out at the tactical level without questioning.
Not so in a democracy which is driven by what the people think and want done. Sadly, the Kaduna State governor is running this State as if it is a Military Garrison with him as Garrison Commander much in the mold of late Adedibu, better known in political circles of that period as the Garrison Commander of Ibadan politics.
Again given the manner this character flaunts himself around, I wonder if anybody in his cabinet will dare make a contribution that is contrary to his opinion. In the end, the Garrison Commander simply reads out what he wants and heavens bless you if you think otherwise. I am so happy that my tent is with the opposition in the politics of Kaduna State, otherwise, how would I have fitted into the scheme of things if I had remained in the APC? As things now stand, the opposition has given me a voice which I cherish so much.
It is so tragic for those politicians of repute from Kaduna State who jumped ship at the eleventh hour to the APC. If such were looking for something in the governing political party, they are already sore disappointed as el-Rufai has come clean to let them know that they will not get anything. He went on to excoriate them and letting them know that their joining the APC did not help in any way in winning the 2019 governorship election. He has made them know that whether they came in or not, he would have won the election anyway.
The next general election will not be happening until 2023 which is less than four years away. However, it is common knowledge that el-Rufai is already scheming and strategising to contest for the presidency. He has, therefore, identified youth groups as the core groups in this endeavour. The Kaduna State Governor thinks so lowly of everyone else, starting from Kaduna State and extending to other Northern States by saying very demeaning and despicable things about them.
For the youth groups he is speaking to, there is no better way of insulting them than by the statement supra. Surely, the youth groups should at the very least be matured and confident enough to have asked the talkative el-Rufai what he has done in the four years of the first term as governor that gives them hope. If anything this character has technically pulled the carpet from under the feet of the Kaduna youths he was addressing. He may be right to say that the North is basically illiterate, aside him and his close family members who are schooling abroad while he is busy retiring primary school teachers when more should have been employed to give hope to the youths whose innocence he is surreptitiously exploiting.
Is it not the same el-Rufai who, in demonstrating his new found power back in 2016 without any cogent reason(s), decreed the closure of all tertiary institutions in Southern Kaduna under the guise of insecurity? Is this the kind of individual that is passionate about giving quality education to our kids as to lift them out of illiteracy, ignorance and subsequently out of poverty? How many schools has he built since becoming governor? Kaduna has never been in such a ruinous state as under el-Rufai because after four years of his first term; there is nothing to show that has accrued positively to the State except tears, sorrows and blood.
If the youths failed to ask el-Rufai what exactly his achievements, starting with in Kaduna State, they missed a golden opportunity. After the auction of Kaduna State landed and other property, did Malam’s government declare what amount was realized from the sale? Has his administration to date told the people of Kaduna how such monies were spent?
Have Nigerian youths so early in the day forgotten how reckless governor was with power as Minister of the Federal Capital Territory? Have they also forgotten so quickly how this man, while he held sway at the Bureau for Public Enterprises, colluded and auctioned our collective patrimony to friends, family members and cronies? Have the youths also forgotten that an enquiry indicted him on account of his stewardship as FCT Minister and he had to flee abroad to escape further possible consequences? Is this the character that northern youths will wish to invest their future in? God forbid bad thing, as disappointed and dejected Nigerians are always wont to say in resignation.
El-Rufai’s policies are playing directly into creating the terrorism he is gleefully speaking about. For example, when Kaduna has become the Almajiri capital of Nigeria, what is his government doing to get these lovely children off the street and back to school? Whenever he goes about in his tinted vehicles around Kaduna, does he not sometimes look out through the window to see the unfortunate children scavenging for food sometimes from dustbins? Did Malam not promise in his 2015 campaign manifesto to outlaw street begging as well as the Almajiri system. If he already does not know which is pedestrian knowledge even to the unschooled people do not beg for the pleasure of it (that is assuming there is pleasure in begging) they are compelled to beg because of the excruciating poverty they are in and a condition his government is so lethargic in tackling. What about el-Rufai’s combustible and incendiary speeches which have played into the insecurity for which Kaduna has become famous? This is a man who is unable to figure out how his highly combustible statements bordering on religion could be, whenever it serves the narrative he is pursuing he speaks it any way.
Have the youth forgotten how this man excoriated the likes of the late Prime Minister of Nigeria Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and others whose efforts made Nigeria gain independence from Britain for, in his words, doing nothing to grow this nation? If the youth he is so desperately trying to win over in his inordinate over ambition to be president come 2023 not a bunch of idiots, how will they forget his boasting to be a Superman of sort, having triumphed over late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua who he sent to the grave and former President Goodluck Jonathan who he sent packing back to his village Otueke.
Do some or all of these paint the picture of a decent man that can be trusted with power? If el-Rufai has any ideas about giving hope and a bright future to Nigerian youths, he will not be seeking to mortgage the future of these same youths by desperately seeking to secure a dubious foreign loan which, if eventually secured, will almost certainly be squandered by the hordes of economic vampires around him, leaving the repayment to unborn children.
Because el-Rufai even as governor of Kaduna State does not believe or obey court rulings or due process of law what manner of a country will he be president over? Recall how in flexing his muscles as governor he ordered the demolition of a property which belonged to a fellow political party member over a minor disagreement. Similarly, he ordered the demolition of another property at No 11 B Sambo Road also belonging to another perceived political adversary even when the issue was in court. Is this the kind of leader Nigerian youths will wish to have in 2023?
Coming back to Kaduna, if the youths have been following the governor’s trajectory, they should have known that he has been inflaming largely the insecurity in Kaduna State. Do not the youth recall that immediately after becoming governor in 2015 he went solo undertaking foreign policy on behalf of the Federal government by sending emissaries across the West African sub-region to seek out his supposed kinsmen who lost property during the 2011 post-election violence that was not limited to Southern Kaduna alone for compensation? How will the youth interpret the deliberate balkanization of chiefdoms in Kajuru and other local government areas of Kaduna State to create emirates in other people’s ancestral lands? If el-Rufai as a leader had the capacity to lead a people, Kaduna would not have been so insecure. He will certainly spread some filthy lucre in attempting to buy over the youth who as it is are mostly unemployed on account of policies his government is pursuing. My humble advice is that the youth should not hesitate to pocket whatever amount is on the table because it is their money after all, but they must guard their future jealously, otherwise they have not seen anything yet.
Col Dauda (retd) wrote in from Kaduna