By John Ikani
Kaduna State is under siege by hordes of bandits and terrorists who technically have all routes to the state covered. Operating with impunity, the gunmen have made the Abuja-Kaduna road a highway to the afterlife where killings and abductions reign supreme. They have also succeeded in rendering the Kaduna International Airport as well as the Abuja-Kaduna rail route useless.
Amid the escalation of insecurity in Kaduna from regular ethnic/communal clashes and cattle theft to an epicentre of savagery, one would expect concrete actions – or at least tough words – from Nasir El-Rufai who had all the ideas of tackling insecurity in Nigeria before he became Governor of Kaduna state.
Unfortunately, the Governor, on Wednesday confessed to being “frustrated and feeling helpless,” among other recent statements that betray his – once perceived hardline but political motivated – stance on insecurity when criticism was very cheap under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Recall that on May 26th 2014, El-Rufai was quick to take shots at the then-president over the abduction of Chibok Girls, stressing that: “Our collective security is his primary constitutional responsibility. He has full control of the military, police and security agencies. He should do his job or exit quickly so more capable hands can do it in his stead.”
Isn’t it telling that amid the widespread insecurity that has become hallmarks of Buhari’s Presidency, El-Rufai not only fell ‘short’ of calling for the President’s resignation but recently blamed the Nigerian military with sister security agencies of “not taking action despite knowing terrorists’ hideouts and their plans?”
It’s interesting how the two-term Governor has now resorted to throwing tantrums and pointing fingers to shield himself from taking responsibility as the Chief Security Officer of Kaduna under whose watch terrorism and banditry conflated with long-running communal strife, un-checked Fulani herdsmen violence and deep feelings of alienation by a segment of the state’s population.
If there’s anything capable of making Nigerians collectively nod in agreement, it will be the fact that the politicisation of insecurity – with El-Rufai as one of the champions – led Northern Nigeria to the state it currently finds itself. In his quest to score cheap political points ahead of the 2015 general elections, El-Rufai’s accused Jonathan and the then-President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, of being Boko Haram sponsors “to spoil Islam’s name.”
Sadly, such politicisation of insecurity has harmed the country grievously, allowing jihadism to grow from a local irritant to a monstrous terrorist insurgency with their collaborators – Fulani militants/bandits now reckoned as the world’s fourth deadliest terrorist group.
If insecurity wasn’t politicised, it wouldn’t have snowballed to the point which El-Rufai will contemplate securing the services of mercenaries to neutralise terrorists/bandits. There’s also the question of whether military contractors will be willing to help secure Kaduna after El-Rufai labelled gunmen terrorising the state and other parts of northern Nigeria as mere “businessmen” compared to self-determination activists in Nigeria’s South East. Are private military contractors desperate to help a state rid itself of her “businessmen?” Definitely not!
Overall, El-Rufai lacks the refinement, decorum and polish that should come with high public office. This explains why the megalomaniac has many incendiary & inflammatory remarks to his credit including the promise of ensuring that “foreign powers who interfere in Nigeria’s 2019 General elections leave the country in body bags.” It beats the imagination of Nigerians as to how El-Rufai hopes to secure any form of foreign military aid with receipts of his unpatriotic & very reckless comments littered on the internet.
Vladimir Lenin is often credited with saying: “Honesty in politics is the result of strength; hypocrisy is the result of weakness.“ It goes without saying that until El-Rufai and – by extension – northern leaders have the courage to rid themselves of hypocrisy, we cannot expect things to be much better in the region and Nigeria at large.