By Martin-Hassan Eze
If Nigeria is in wahala for lack of leaders with vision and foresight, the northern part of the country is in double wahala because she has produced most of the corrupt and ruthless leaders we have ever had, and, pitiably, the North is at the receiving end of the messy and pedestrian leadership of her sons. Say, the law of nemesis in full force if you like.
For some of us that have strong affiliation with the North and have witnessed and survived all forms of bloodletting and man’s inhumanity to man in Arewa, one prayer point has been on our lips: Allah in your mercy send us a Sarduana of a new Arewa and Nigeria. I doubt, if any right thinking person who has lived in the North for the past 20 years will not have this prayer point. Confronted with the excruciating poverty of the vast majority and the opulence of the tiny cabal, the primitiveness of the populace and the shameful under-development of Arewa, the mid-day criminality and lawlessness, helpless and hapless, the Cathedral is normally our point of call for Allah to descend from heaven or give us a helping hand by sending a messiah.
The late Professor Chinua Achebe in his famous master-piece of 1983- The Trouble With Nigeria heaped the blame of under-development on the doorstep of our leaders. Truth be told, Nigeria is where she is today because her leaders always choose to chase rat while the entire house is on fire and this explains the raw poverty of her citizens everywhere you go in the North in particular and Nigeria in general.
Are you already angry? Now, don’t misunderstand me. This is not a treatise against the North. Misunderstand me if you wish ‘na you sabi’. I don’t care if I am politically correct or incorrect, neither do I mind stepping on the toes of the famed Kaduna mafia.
I, for one, don’t believe in shifting blames and pointing accusing finger but the North cannot wash off her hands sanctimoniously like the biblical Pontus Pilate over the messy and sorry state of Nigeria today. The sons of the North through straight forward and various unconstitutional crooked means with the direct and indirect collaboration of the Crown have presided over the affairs of Nigeria for more than 40 years but each of them ( apart from my beloved Yar Adua) left Nigeria messier than he met her. Shameful enough, they did not also develop the North with their loots. Here, I will not detain myself with long history because what I am talking about is not rocket science. If Nigeria is nothing to write home about politically, socially and most importantly economically, it is because the political-military, capitalist-bureaucratic elites and criminal cartels, majority of whom are of Northern extraction failed woefully in terms of providing a visionary and people oriented leadership.
From one North, one people irrespective of region, rank or tribe of Sarduana days, the North have become the graveyard for Christians, the hotbed for all forms of unchecked crimes against natural justice and humanity , extremism and man-made poverty, making Northern Nigeria one of the sorriest region in the history of West Africa in the 21st Century.
Kaduna, the former political capital of the then Northern Region was one state that was gradually sliding into a Somalia before the election of Malam Nasir el-Rufai. When Malam picked up the APC gubernatorial ticket, I danced Azonto throughout the night. Though I have read his “Accidental Public Servant” and consider it a ‘ vade mecum’ for every student of political history, I have not met the Malam Governor of Kaduna state before. Anyway, I don’t necessarily need to meet him one on one. His actions and inactions as the minister of FCT speak volume. Since he left Abuja, Nigeria only have FCT ministers on paper because FCT is not working and nothing is happening apart from land snatching, grabbing and looting.
The Malam Governor’s fear of Allah, intellectual prowess and sagacity, patriotism, courage , vision , frankness and his ability not only to step on sacred cows but also to send them to the dustbin of political irrelevance like he has done in Kaduna has made me one of his fans. Before he cleaned the Augean Stable, Kaduna State was a den of political thieves and mafias. All manners of blood-sucking monstrous god-fathers held the state hostage. That apart, the state was balkanized into Christians and Muslim zones because the minions that ruled the state on behalf of the mafia were unable to provide true leadership. Put bluntly, Kaduna was a battle ground.
It is a pity that religion has been used to cover up the worst crimes and criminality in the North. How can we get it right when all it takes for you to commit a heinous crime in the North and get away with it is for you to build a mosque, share bags of rice and rams during Salah and sponsor a handful of fanatics to Mecca? Some people claim it is Zakat or helping the poor. Sho! Zakat my foot. You can’t steal or loot the money meant for the building of school, roads, hospitals and industries and turn back to share bags of expired rice to the people in the name of religious observance and obligation. I have taken time to travel round the country and found out that there is no region that is as lawless as the North because people hide behind religion to be lawless like the beast of the forest. There is practically no rule of law and constitutionalism. The maxim is: do as you like provided you involve Allah.
Religion can be an instrument of peace, prosperity and progress when the right leader is in charge and when religion is practised within the ambit of law and natural justice. Muslim leaders of the United Arab Emirate (UAE) with the wonders of Dubai have proven that most of our leaders are crooks who hide behind religion and use the name of Allah to steal and cheat the common man.
Good news! Old things have passed away since the coming of E-Rufai as much desired peace have returned and Kaduna state is on the march to progress and prosperity. Like a true leader he is, the Malam Governor is concerned about lasting legacies and not pedestrian policies and second-term politics.
I have followed the policies of his government and wish to summarise it into three key points. 1. To make Kaduna work in terms of agriculture, housing, public health, functional education, industrialization and rule of law 2. To make Kaduna great 3. To give everybody a chance. I will not go into details but will not also fail to bring to the square two bold steps he has taken so far that have established him as the philosopher king of Northern Nigeria.
The Malam Governor of Kaduna State has gracefully ended the ignoble Almajiri menace and street begging in Kaduna. This Almajiri of a thing is a plaque in the North that the political class and elite have refused to address because they want the people to remain uneducated and improvised so that they can be easily manipulated for political gains.
He has also abolished the state of origin wahala. Every Nigerian should feel at home anywhere in Nigeria. The so-called federal character and state of the origin wahala are twin evils that are cog in the wheel of true national unity and progress. They kill healthy competition, meritocracy and promote mediocrity. As obtainable in more advanced societies, every human person irrespective of his tribe, religion or political affiliation should be given equal opportunity and privilege.
With the present leadership posture and political philosophy of Malam El-Rufai, I clearly perceive him as the only sincere and just political figure in the North that the cap of the Sarduana fits. Of all 19 northern governors, he is the messiah we have been waiting for all this while.
Regrettably, the mafia are not comfortable with his Olympian height policies, projects and programmes and are using every canon within their disposal to make sure the governor does not succeed. It is a pity that a senator who should be lending the governor a helping hand has turned himself into a political delinquent and is busy pouring sand into Malam’s garri for cheap popularity. It is the mafia and their appendages in the various tiers of governments who pursue their selfish interest and pay allegiance to their godfathers instead of their states and nations that has made the North and by extension Nigeria take a step forward and a million steps backward.
El-Rufai has started a good fight and it behooves on us all to join him in making Kaduna our own Dubia. He did it in Abuja as FCT minister and I have no doubt that he will do even more in Kaduna. We must resist all forms of stomach infrastructure that the enemies of the people are dangling before us. The mafia and minions of the old order are only battling to truncate the mission and vision of the Malam Governor so that they will continue to lord it over us. On El rufai our Sarduana I stand. Et vous?
Martin-Hassan Eze, a Free-lance Journalist, Columnist, Writer (09056563790) wrote in from Kotangora, Niger State