LANRE OLU, Special Correspondent of Verbatim Magazine , x-rays the character and landmarks of the Governor Nasir El-Rufai administration in Kaduna State in three out of the four year tenure that will terminate on May 29, next year. Highlights of the issues raised include exhibition of arrogance and elements of dictatorship by the governor, and inability to manage rising cases of violence which claimed many lives in the state, especially in the Southern Kaduna part of the state.
Triumphant Entry Of El-Rufai Via APC
Without equivocation, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai of the All Peoples Congress (APC) was the choice of the Kaduna electorates during the 2015 gubernatorial election. His popularity was high and he was able to beat a sitting governor, Alhaji Ramalan Yero of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and other aspirants, when the result of the election was released.
His successes in the polls were not unconnected with some factors.
Firstly, his acclaimed good performance in the Bureau of Public Enterprises as the Director General. Again, his high level performance as Minister of the Federal Capital Ministry, Abuja, under President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Also, many of the Nigerian electorates seemed to have been tired of PDP’s administration which started dwindling right from the center and across some states of the federation . This culminated to the loss of Presidential election by the incumbent , President Goodluck Jonathan of PDP ,to President Muhammadu Buhari of APC.
Also, many people clamoured for something new , change they called it, which they felt they can get in the newly formed APC as the economic law of diminishing returns had set in, in the administration of PDP that had been in the fore-front since 1999. So, when El-Rufai eventually won, aspirations of the people were very high; and, with the hope that he would transform the crocodile city better that he met it in the hand of PDP that held sway for good 16years, (1999 – 2015).
On resumption of office on May 29th, 2015, El-Rufai embarked on series of reforms in the state.To save cost of administration, he pruned down the number of ministries by merging few ones together while ghost workers were fished out and fired. He made those lurking around government house for one favour or another to realize that it was not going to be “business as usual” . He cancelled undue ceremonial gifts and free pilgrimages to the holy land which characterized the previous administrations of the PDP and have been draining the treasury of the state.
Structurally, he completed some uncompleted inherited projects from the past administration; renovated some old roads and constructed few new ones while government schools and hospitals were not left out. For beautification of major towns and upholding rule of law, some government agencies were empowered more while few ones were also established.
For example, Kaduna State Urban Planning Development Authority (KASUPDA) takes care of illegal structures and registration of lands and houses. Kaduna Environmental Protection Agency (KEPA) takes care of daily sweeping of major highways while Kaduna State Traffic Enforcement Law Agency (KASTELA) was established to handle road offences by motorists.To spur enrolment in schools across the state and reduce illiteracy, free feeding in primary schools was introduced.
Paradigm of Change in Style 0f Administration
After acquiring power and having sat down firmly in office, El-Rufai changed his colour. He started taking actions and made pronouncements that painted image of him as a dictator. His many actions indeed tallied with the political axim, “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”, the best known quotation of the 19th Century British politician, Lord Acton which he borrowed from other writers now.As El-Rufai’s power increased, his moral sense seemed to diminish. People (electorates and party chieftains) who were instrumental to his success at the polls now became immaterial to him while taking decisions on fundamental issues affecting the state and her citizenry. This is because, as beautiful and lofty some of his reformation exercises looked, they did not have “human face”. A number of his activities and programs became“anti – people”. A number of Kaduna residents suffered a lot in the hands of El-Rufai since he assumed office.
Indeed, there emerged many ugly sides of the El-Rufai’s administration later . With time thereafter, many people and groups such as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), members of PDP, the foremost opposition in the state and even factions of the ruling APC in the state, pitched their tents against him.
ARROGANCE IN POWER:
To say that Governor El-Rufai is an arrogant person is to say the obvious. Arrogance in him is manifested in his actions and utterances. He also does not believe in shifting posts.
Virtually all APC members in the state who at the on-set worked towards the success of the party in 2015 election are known to have been jettisoned with their lofty ideas as he does not listen to their advice on vital issues affecting the state and most especially selection of cabinet members. This has led to serious crisis in APC and which may affect the fortune of the party in 2019 elections.
Even, the Tinubu led reconciliation team that came to Kaduna could not resolve the crisis as Hunkuyi’s faction (APC AKIDA) refused to join them at Government House as they preferred a neutral venue. To save the party from imminent collapse, it was alleged that Senator Hunkuyi was nursing the ambition of succeeding the governor come 2019 gubernatorial election. And that is why the governor pitched his tent against the senator.
IDEOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES: APC as a new party do not have a clear cut ideology as it was a marriage of inconveniency that evolved as an alternative to dislodge PDP in 2015 polls.
Lack of ideology reared its ugly head up in Kaduna State APC when Senator Shehu Sani, a socialist, could not cope again with governor El-Rufai, a capitalist with all his reforms in the state which is “anti – people”. For instance, demolition of houses, undue sack of workers and the likes.
Inflicting Pains On The People: virtually all segments and sections in Kaduna State have suffered undue attacks from Governor El-Rufai since inception of his administration and up till date. For instance:
Destruction of what the governor termed “illegal structures” without adequate compensation was the first act that pitched Kaduna residents against the governor. While some were raining curses on him, others were threating that he would die diabolically.
And, to this end, the governor replied his critics that if he should die at his age, he has outlived his late father who did not live up to his present age before he passed on. What a funny man !
By reducing chiefdoms in Kaduna State and sacking of district heads, he had castrated some chiefs, their assistants and aides as they were not compensated.
About 40,000 workers including local government staffs and teachers have been sacked in the state. And, end is not yet at sight on sack saga as it is a continuous exercise.
Despite all pleas and protests by the teachers and labour union, the governor was adamant on the sack issue.
The Ayuba Wabara led Nigeria Labour Congress protest of 11th January fell on the deaf ears of the governor as in his usual garrulous style while speaking with State House Correspondents in Abuja after his closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on 12th January averred that the protest of the NLC would not stop him from sacking the teachers.
El-Rufai even turned down the offer of re-training or re-deployment suggested to him as done in states like Kano and Kwara in the pass.
Market men and women were not also left out El-Rufai’s unscrupulous policies as it was alleged that those traders who were asked to pay registration fees for soft loans were not given while market stall fees have increases from N30,000 to between N120,000 and N150,000.
Insecurity: Although, past administrations in Kaduna State had witnessed a lot of sectarian crises starting from 1992 Zango-Kataf crises, sharia I and II crises of the year 2000 and that of Miss World of year 2002 when scores of people were killed, several wounded and properties razed down.
However, the ones being witnessed of recent are alarming as the Fulani herdsmen are wrecking a lot of havocs on the people and most especially those of Southern Kaduna extraction with sophiscated weapons.
It was alleged that El-Rufai being a Fulani by tribe would raise alarm an quickly dispatch security men whenever the community attacked by the Fulani herdsmen have upper hands on the latter but kept mute when reverse was the case.
Out of about seven local government councils in Southern Kaduna Senatorial District, not less than five of them had been attacked from the beginning of his administration to date.
In Jema’a Local Government Area, some of the communities attacked by Fulani herdsmen were Gidan Waya, Fatsa Kori, Bakin Kogi, Ninte, Goska, Aso and Dangoma.
Fadan Chawai had been attacked in Kauru Local Government Area and likewise Madauchi in Zango-Kataf. The same thing happensed in Bundona and Fadan Atakar in Kaura Local Government Area. In Sanga Local Government Area, we had nandu, Kobil, Fadan Karshi, Arak, Takaura, Ningu, Aboro, Unguwan Dauda and Anjol.
In most of the areas attacked in Southern Kaduna Zone as gathered by VERBATIM residents do not usually have the premonition of such attacks as the herdsmen do wage their wars in the middle of the night when people were asleep or on Sundays when the residents who are predominantly Christians would be worshiping in their churches.
Most of the areas attacked were razed down completely and an average of 10 to 30 people or more were killed in a community. Some of the areas were visited by government officials why others were not at all including supply of relief materials.
Those killed included women and children and some burnt beyond recognition. The governor’s disposition towards the attacks it was alleged was in support of the herdsmen.
To lay credence to El-Rufai’s action in support of Fulani herdsmen, he had been quoted once on tweeter on 15th July, 2012 that: “We will write this for all to read. Anyone, soldier or not that kills the Fulani takes a loan repayable one day no matter how long it takes”.
Therefore, El-Rufai’s action s or in-actions on Fulani herdsmen attacks in Southern Kaduna should not come as a surprise to anybody because he had said this about three years ago before he became governor of the state in 2015.
Clamping Down On APC Members: Governor El-Rufai cannot deny the fact that he always attacks his purported enemies in the party whenever the opportunity arises in the state because of several incidences among which were the one Senator Shehu Sanni and Suleiman Hunkuyi experienced. The duo have paid the supreme prices for criticizing his style of governance.
For criticizing him on demolition of structures, Senator Shehu Sanni had his Senatorial office attacked by unknown men.
Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi’s house located at Sambo Road, Anguwan Rimi, Kaduna was bulldazed by official of KASUPDA on the premise of non-payment of ground rent for eight years. The house was being used as a parallel APC State Secretariat (APC AKIDA) championed by Senator Hunkuyi before the arrival of the envisaged reconciliation committee meeting to Kaduna and headed by APC chieftain and former governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Hunkuyi was served a notice not up to 24hours. Why the notice came by 3:49pm on 19th February, the house was demolished by 4:00am on 20th February, 2018. As gathered by our correspondent.
The question on everyone’s lip is: was Hunkuyi the only one in the state owing ground rent by then if not for politics.
Implications Of El-Rufai’s Wrongdoings
Most of the actions and in-actions of governor El-Rufai in the state since inception and up to date have destroyed the reputation of the governor himself and the structure of APC built several years.
And, these have made lovers and sympathizers of the party to lose interest as the governor has hijacked it and pocketed those party members he could. He has also drew the battle line between him and those he could not control.
Also, the economy of the state is in shamble because the sacked people cannot afford to go to the market and buy while market men and women are languishing in agony because of exorbitant market stall fees.