El-Rufa’i vs foes: Who will laugh last?

“Do not buy the enemy of one man for the love of a thousand men.” – Al-Hassan

Malam Nasir El-Rufa’i, Kaduna state’s controversial governor, is always enchanting to be living in a world of abnormalities without minding the consequences.

From what will be highlighted below, El-Rufa’i is uniquely obsessed with enemy creation and imagination to foster his political beliefs that he almost forgets other things entirely. It is an easy affair that he could be distracted by the endless thoughts of enemies, sometimes real but mostly imagined. For instance, he was said, “Even if you walk on water, your enemies will say you have raised some dust”. In a Facebook posting on his account on November 5, 2018, he made the following disgusting declaration: ” FRIDAY REMINDER: To the cursed Kaduna senators, the enemies of Kaduna state and their co-travelers.”

From the aforementioned intances, therefore, one can assert that El-Rufai’s psychology is a house of enemy attraction and a tragic translation of a politically flambouyant leader whose actions are premeditated towards enmity actualisation. When I prudently read the quoted Facebook posting above, I found it difficult to imagine El-Rufa’i cursing other people in the name of political differences. He was so intolerant that he descended to the lowest ebb.

Interestingly, the Kaduna senators he cited and despised obviously included former senator Shehu Sani when he was at the upper chamber of the National Assembly. But Sani deserved nothing more than blessings from him because it was the same Sani who gallantly defied the fear of the barrel of the gun to fight the military for the restoration of democracy for which El-Rufa’i is a great beneficiary.

To give us a clearer picture and more convincing point, Shehu Sani was thrown behind bars by the khaki boys when El-Rufa’i was nowhere to be found in the battlefield. At that time, we hardly heard El-Rufa’i cursing the military as the enemies of Nigeria. He was then virtually an unknown Nigerian living far away comfortably abroad. But after several years of opportunism trial, El-Rufa’i finally made it at the polls to rule Kaduna state.

It was a very debatable issue when El-Rufa’i sacked 21,780 primary school teachers who failed ‘simple’ examination in November, 2017. That was an uncommon decision to be taken by a governor. Of course, those teachers, their family members and other relatives would never forgive him for denying the victims their source of income for survival. When he executed that costly action, he forgot that the rotten system that gave birth to the unwanted teachers should have been the principal culprit and purged of impurities. And for fairness sake, the dismissed teachers should have been given the opportunity to redress their shortcomings because nothing goes well in Nigeria.

On his assumption of duty, the bulldozer El-Rufa’i was quick to launch demolition of what he tagged illegal structures across the state. With a high sense of pomposity, he destroyed structures when he had not even settled for governance as if he was on a vengeance mission against the very poor people that voted him into the state’s exalted office. It was alleged that one of the victims had a heart attack and died as a result of the demolition of his only home. He was said to have relocated to Zaria after escaping from Zonkwa where a bloody ethno-religious crisis broke out, leaving many people dead. The only fund left with him was used in purchasing the house that was destroyed by El-Rufai’s harsh policy. But there were people who expressed happiness at the governor’s action. However, the question is, if they were the casualty would they have applauded him?

 In 2020, El-Rufa’i was at it again on another dismantling mission which became his administration’s hobby. His victims this time were the traders of Kasuwar Barci, a market in Tudun Wada, an outskirt of Kaduna metropolis. This was coming at a time when Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state was sharing milk of kindness, donating N50 million to the victims of the fire that gutted Otukpo Main Market. What baffled many people was the audacity that propelled El-Rufa’i to visit the demolition site, ensuring that it was perfectly executed! Could this be the thinking of a sadist? A victim of El-Rufai’s hostility, Malam Zubairu Musa, in an interview with the Guardian newpaper lamented: “The governor has destroyed our lives by demolishing our market; where can we go now? This governor has no pity for us and Allah will pay him back”.

The list of El-Rufai’s foes include Nigeria’s frustrated Shiites. What particularly makes him their enemy was his sustained rigidity that their embattled leader, Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, and his wife Zeenat must not be allowed to inhale the air of freedom. El-Rufa’i could not muzzle his ill feelings against the Islamic group that he categorically condemned it on several occasions when the need to do so arose.

The disgruntled Christians of southern Kaduna will not forgive El-Rufa’i for distorting the tradition of Muslim- Christian ticket or vice versa to reflect the religious balancing of the state. This was coming at a time when there was and still heightened insecurity in the state, the gravity of which compelled him to write a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari recently, calling his attention that there is another government run by the gunmen in Kaduna.

At the level of national politics, El-Rufa’i could not hide his dislike of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s political aspirations. He once released a template titled’ how to defeat the political godfathers.’ He was indirectly mocking at Tinubu’s aspirations to become a presidential hopeful of the APC. Undoubtedly, however, the same Tinubu was very instrumental to the success of the APC in the 2015 elections for influencing the South-west to go for Buhari, of which El-Rufa’i was a great beneficiary. And only, recently, El-Rufa’i led the North-west governors to meet Tinubu with some conditions he should fulfill if he is to enjoy their support. Sadly, El-Rufai spelt out conditions bothered on juicy appointments instead of presenting agenda for the development of the region.

By the stipulated time when El-Rufai’s arbitrary power meets its end and is laid to rest on May 29, 2023, he had already added to the heavy load of foes because he has made his political choice of who will succeed him. And by this selfish act, those who are dissatisfied are now also his political foes. Between El-Rufa’i and his foes, therefore, who will have the last and the best laugh?

Abdullahi writes from Ringim Jigawa state via [email protected]