Why am I writing about Nasir El Rufai?
I am writing this with all caution and more than a little trepidation. You see, I am not really a brave person. I am an ordinary family woman with small children. I am not particularly wealthy.
Also, I certainly cannot afford to go to court and fight a sitting governor (or even a standing one sef…forgive my dry joke. Could not resist it.)
But if you are a Nigerian, you would understand why writing anything about the governor of Kaduna state, His Excellency Nasir El Rufai is a tricky business.
The earliest incident that I recall would be his debacle with Audu Maikori that started in 2017. Audu Maikori made a social media post that went viral on the killings happening in Southern Kaduna. He was abducted by the Kaduna State government under the order of the governor; Nasir El Rufai in February of the same year. This was because the governor claimed that there were inaccuracies in the social media post by Audu Maikori.
Audu Maikori filed a suit against the government upon his release which he won. Also, he won the appeal against the judgment (permit my abridged version).
Taking it back a little bit. In 2016, John Danfulani, a huge critic of El Rufai, found himself in court a number of times. He was accused of criticizing the governor (according to Danfulani) on his Facebook page.
El Rufai may not have won these cases. But a message is being passed to the general populace loud and clearly. The governor does not like to be criticized. He will go all out to silence criticism.
This is curious for me. Is there any human being in politics that is spared criticism? Why, the governor himself has been quite vocal in criticizing past governments.
To quote Reuben Abati in his Tuesday With Reuben Abati column on This Day platform published on the 23rd of August.
“In Kaduna State which he presides over, anybody that criticizes him in any way is most likely to be slammed with a legal suit and detained. He has fought Shiites. He has abused the leaders of Southern Kaduna. (Also) he is said to be above the courts of the land because he does not respect their orders.”
So, you can understand why one writes about this governor with trepidation.
Trepidation or not, I am not one to shy away from uncomfortable conversations or discussions. For a long time, I have wondered about El Rufai. I, like a lot of Nigerians, have sniffed that he has presidential ambitions. I am not sure if he has stated them but I will not be surprised if he wanted to.
Do we want ElRufai as the president of this country?
Or perhaps, I should streamline it and speak for myself.
Do I want him to be the president of this country?
The answer is as plain as daylight.
I personally do not think that El Rufai as the president of this country would be a good idea. This may not be a fair article. I have not taken time out to itemize what would probably go down as what he has contributed positively to this nation and how he may have improved Kaduna state.
This is simply because the anarchy happening in Southern Kaduna; as well as the handling of the matter is screaming down our ears. During the Social Media Week in Lagos in 2017; the Kaduna governor was part of a session in which he spoke about the incident with Audu Maikori.
He said: “…My responsibility as governor of the state is to ensure the security of lives and property or the state… I will not allow anyone, even my own son, to do that kind of thing without consequence.”
The ‘thing’ being posting and retweet things that incite violence.
When he said this, my hopes were raised up. The energy with which El Rufai pursued the Audu Maikori incident made me sit up. Surely if he can go after people tweeting ‘falsehoods’ that have not actually been proven to have exacerbated violence; he will go all out to secure the people of Kaduna state including the hotspot of Southern Kaduna.
I have since lost hope.
The killings in Southern Kaduna have continued unabated.
I really cannot say what is happening or what the solution is. But I can say that Nigeria as an entity is incredibly diverse and our problems intricately complex. If the governor struggles to ensure that people’s lives are secure in Kaduna; how will he handle the country at large?
If there are talks of him being biased in his treatment of issues in the State; how will he handle the NORTH VS SOUTH dichotomy of this country? In a lot of discussions with people, I got the general impression that he is perceived as dictatorial and egotistical.
The most troubling of all is that the loudest conversation that should be coming from Kaduna should be about restoring peace.
Yet, the loudest conversation over the last few days has been the dis-invitation of the governor from the NBA conference. Northerners seemed more appalled at this dis-invite than at the loss of lives happening in that state. In fact, I would expect the governor to focus solely on his primary job as governor. All the brouhaha on his dis-invite should be the least of the worries of anyone.
If Nasir El Rufai can solve this old hydra headed conflict in Southern Kaduna; then he would have proven that he is capable of herding the nation. But if things remain as they are; suggesting that he would make a fine president is mischief at its saddest.
Something about his governance style seems polarizing. And if there is anything Nigeria doesn’t need right now, it is a polarizing leader.