BY BOMBA DAUDA
I have never being to the horn of Africa. I learnt from a Djiboutian friend that Qandala in north-east Somalia is defined, in its recent history by marauding than its prospects and political stability; it is unlikely destination for holiday seekers because of piracy and vicious brigands. Instead of travelling to Dubai (a safe haven to cool off tension) having being dazed by the confusion of losing the 2019 election, Qandala with all the queers could be a top choice destination to Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai and his bandwagon. A period where El-Rufai may hardly decode intonations, the name of Jimi Lawal will sound like Shehu Musa Yar’Adua.
This sort of confusion is reminiscent of a potter who drank water from a broken mug on his wedding day and is akin to Governor Nasiru El-rufai’s visit of 15th July, 2017 to Southern Kaduna, a geopolitical zone that he has treated with so much laziness. The visit came when El-rufai’s political atmosphere across the state looks blurry and the best option left is to swallow his vomit – swallow his pride, too, and go to the region. Many commentators argued that, the whirlwind visit was an attempt aimed at mending broken fence.
Swing back, even being unpopular prior to the 2015 election, El-Rufai chalked-up the election because of three major factors: the then incumbent, Governor Ramalan Yero was unpopular among core PDP stalwarts from southern kaduna (PDP’s stronghold) especially, late Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa’s cohorts/boys who were aggrieved by Yero’s political machination that flung them off the inner circle. They shifted allegiance to the APC while some remained in the PDP and involved in anti-party activities to ensure Yero’s defeat. Secondly, the synergy between Hunkuyi and El-Rufai emboldened El-Rufai, which further enhanced his political mobility from a barely an unknown politician and gave the movement a broad base support across the state. Thirdly, the Buhari factor was a pivotal leverage that finally propelled El-Rufai to victory.
El-Rufai 2019 ambition is already devoid of all of these privileges unless we wish to take a step away from the reality. How El-Rufai will meander through the mountains of political turmoil rocking his world will be an uphill task, however, solving the puzzle requires humility than being politically arrogant.
APC apologists and pro-El-Rufai campaigners in 2015 election used his academic credentials as their most lucrative selling points. Right now, the paraphernalia used in assessing him have not made any spectacular difference in both qualitative and quantitative development nor guaranteed trickle-down in the distribution of state-owned resources and even security of lives and properties. Rather, they have proved to be aesthetical value and superficial. 2019 electioneering campaign will be a practical class for Marketing Students on how to market a generic product. El-Rufai’s poster in southern Kaduna will not only be cursed but, will robotically jerk market feasibility to entropy. In a recent visit to Kudan in Kudan LGA of Kaduna state, El-Rufai was booed and rejected like a marque that lost its shelf viability.
His school feeding programme has come under severe condemnation by public observers. To me, it was a hoax! In a story published by Sahara Reporters, entitled, “Bazaar: How El-Rufai’s Wife, Children, Kaduna State Government Official Shared N3billion Contracts,”
The story revealed how the state have been in a messy situation.
This is not the first time El-Rufai was accused of favouring his family members. In 2011, a petition was written to the EFCC accusing him of allocating government land to his friends and family members, the petition also accused him of distorting the Abuja master plan and that between 2003-2007 he allocated ten plots to his family members, including his wife, Hadiza Isma El-Rufai, who got two plots- one each in Asokoro and Kubwa districts.
In the same vein, the Kaduna Restoration Group (APC splinter group) chided El-Rufai on the same allegation, saying, “… your administration largely exists for itself and a few band of core loyalists with mercantilist tendencies…”
The contentious issue against El-Rufai’s administration is not even the alleged self-aggrandizement and cronyism as put forward by Sahara Reporters and Kaduna Restoration Group but, the inability of the government to finish and commission projects. As the current INEC chairman is symbolic to inconclusive election, El-Rufai is synonymous with uncompleted projects. Recently, he commissioned the Zaria Water Project; yet, the pipes are still running short of water. Instead of the pipes to gush out water they are producing hollow sounds with multiple pitches.
I doubt if any factor other than insecurity will be the central theme of debate en route 2019 election and if insecurity does, El-Rufai occupying Sir Kashim Ibrahim House beyond 2015 looks indefinable. Prolonged kidnappings along Kaduna-Abuja expressway, Chikun LG, Birnin Gwari and the freestyle killings by Fulani militia in southern Kaduna is the clear case of ineptitude by his government.
In any case, insecurity is the cheapest word in Southern Kaduna. It makes rounds than what the people have achieved as political gains since this government came to being. While El-rufai’s popularity is at its lowest ebb in t he region, the face-off between his government and Zaria Emirate will add up more odds to the conundrum that steer him in the face.
His recent sackings of District Heads on the ground of reducing the cost of governance have been written-off by many interest groups. They claimed that, the objective of the policy is to debase what they believed are PDP structures at the grass-root and appoint those that will be loyal to his government.
Lately, El-Rufai has not been enjoying the support of the people of the state, the newly introduced Residency Card, for instance, have been jettisoned. And in governance, when people keep revolting against government policies and programs it is a fact that his popularity has waned and the legitimacy of his government to lead the people is in doubt. But then, how Kaduna state electorates will use the power of their votes in 2019 will define how their future looks like – for good or for worse.