BY OUR CORRESPONDENT – Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal has accused Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai of being largely responsible for the worsening security and socio-economic crisis in Southern Kaduna.
Pointedly, Lawal said by his actions and utterances, the governor is not only unkind but also unsympathetic to the issues that have unfortunately turned the area into a killing field.
He said; “The problem I see in Kaduna is that the state government led by Governor Nasir el-Rufai is not sensitive to the issues. Their utterances simply indicate that they are not sympathetic to the issues.
“Like I saw a write-up by Shehu Sani, he said when it happened in Zamfara, government calls it banditry and they sympathized with the affected communities. But when it happens in Southern Kaduna, government starts to explain what is happening, rather than calling a spade exactly what it is and sympathising with the affected people”
Lawal, who condemned continuous marginalization of Christians in Kaduna State and other parts of the North, however gave credit to former governor of the state, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, who handled the crisis effectively and maturely during his eight years tenure.
According to the ex-SGF, Makarfi was more circumspect in governance decision because he saw and tried to address all the contentious issues from an ethnic rather than religious point of view.
Giving kudos to the former governor in an interview with Daily Independent on Sunday, Lawal said; “Initially, I think from 1980, most of the problems of Southern Kaduna are ethnic. When Ahmed Makarfi became governor, he understood that most of the issues were ethnic than religious and he was able to address it. Roads were being constructed equally in all parts of the state; traditional institutions were strengthened in all parts of the state.
“Everybody was getting his fair share of the resources that the state has and the matter didn’t get out of hand.
“So, it depends on how the government handles the issue at all levels; from the federal to the state to local government and ward levels. I remember when the banditry started in Sokoto and they overran a village, the state governor with all his cabinets went there to sympathise with the victims.
“They went with blankets, food items and other basic things. In some states, they don’t do that; rather than do that, they will even insult the communities that are the victims.
“That is what is happening. Incompetent governors and rulers in the North are responsible. The North is full of incompetent rulers. All they want is to ride in convoys and people are hailing and waving at them. When they come home, people sit on the mats while they are the only ones sitting on a chair because they are governors.
”They see themselves as Deputy ‘Jesus’. They are not interested in serving the people, all they care about is ruling”.
Babachir, who also faulted the exclusion of Christians from key political positions in Kaduna state despite their huge population, said the issue may boomerang as future generations may not accept it.
“Why should Kaduna end up with Muslim governor and Muslim deputy governor? The Speaker is Muslim as well as the Deputy Speaker. Two cabinet ministers are also Muslims. There are about six or seven local governments in Kaduna that are predominantly Christians”, he queried
Insisting that Nigeria must look at these contentious issues as they could one day explode and become largely unmanageable, the former SGF warned; “It will surprise everybody that while elders like us are willing to tolerate these things because of peace and harmony, our children may not be able to do so as they can’t continue to accept being northerners only during election periods and thereafter suffer neglect when positions are shared”.