What Next, Southern Kaduna?
They tested the waters by smuggling in Amina Mohammed, they faced a formidable resistance, and then they brought in Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed. Yes, an indigene of Kaduna State and of courses a cousin to the Governor. Now what next? Is this what we actually fought for? Is it in accordance with the State’s unwritten power sharing formula that came with this republic in 1999?
Just yesterday, a press conference was organized by a coalition of Southern Kaduna groups on fundamental developments under the government of Mal. Nasiru El-Rufai. It reads as follows:
“We are a Coalition made up of the undersigned Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) from Southern Kaduna.
“Gentlemen, for the avoidance of doubts, we wish to define that Southern Kaduna extends far beyond Kaduna South Senatorial Zone, or what politicians in the State would term as Zone C. Southern Kaduna, which makes approximately 3 million in population, representing about 50% of the 6.066 million population of Kaduna State according to the 2006 National Population Census, as summarized in Appendix I attached, consists of 12 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the State. We are bonded by same socio-cultural and historical ties, some dating back to the ancient Nok Terracotta civilization of the 500BC. Southern Kaduna people, who welcome and embrace all comers, are therefore deeply indigenous and autochthonous people like other native populations, we are proud of our heritage and reject any policy that suggests that there are no indigenes or natives of Kaduna State.
“Gentlemen of the Press, the prevailing circumstances that we have found ourselves in Kaduna state today have made it imperative for this Coalition to address nagging issues under the government of Mallan Nasir El Rufai, before they got out of hand. The people of this state had, decisively, at the last gubernatorial polls made a clear statement that they were not satisfied with the way they were being led by the PDP government under Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero. They voted enthusiastically for change, hence the coming to power of the APC under the governorship of Mallam Nasir El Rufai.
The change has finally arrived, but it has come with its shocking injustice, clear favouritism, arrant arrogance, inconsiderate policies and blatant violation of extant laws.
“As Nigerians indigenous and autochthonous to Kaduna State we are pained that the governor has treated Southern Kaduna with unabashed vendetta, which only reason would be because most of Southern Kaduna did not vote for him and because of our religion and ethnicity. And we hinge our accusation based on the Following:
“1.0 Insecurity – Birnin Gwari/Sanga: Two extreme contradictions.
“Perhaps the pervading insecurity in the State under the former administration was one of the most leading drives for a change in leadership. El Rufai made security a big issue in his campaign and swore that no indigene or resident of Kaduna State would be killed and the murderers not found and prosecuted. However, we can now see that he was only talking about his kinsmen in Birnin Gwari and surrounding areas, not Southern Kaduna.
“To our joy, he has spent millions of Naira to form collaboration with northern neighbouring states as soon as he came to power. A task force of the military, Police, Directorate of State Security Services and the Nigerian Civil Defense Corps was formed, well kitted and funded. They have now chased out all the bandits and rustlers in Birnin Gwari and environs and recovered thousands of cattle and sheep stolen by the gangsters. Villages in that enclave that were deserted as a result of the attacks on them have since bounced back to live. The villages have farmed and bred more animals, thus expecting a relatively prosperous harvest season. The robbery on the Birnin Gwari connected highways have stopped and people are free to travel with no fear.
“But in the case of Southern Kaduna, where, as has been published in the press, at least 10, 000 have been killed, scores of villages ruined and hundreds of thousands made homeless, the governor set up a committee under a distinguished son of Southern Kaduna, Gen. Martins Luther Agwai (retd) to ‘look at the problem and proffer solution’. Several villages in Sanga and in Takad Chiefdom in Kaura Local Government Area have been under the occupation of the herdsmen who kill and chase out surviving villagers.
“Daily killings are going in these villages and the Sanga Road artery has become hot bed for violent robbery far worse than what was obtained in Birnin Gwari. The Governor would rather play blind to these happenings, because he probably feels he has no responsibility to protect those who did not vote for him. We just want to have it on record that he has abandoned Southern Kaduna people.
“2.0 Abolition of Indigeneship Status.
“Governor El Rufai has repeatedly asserted that Kaduna State does not have any indigene. He has even said that the ‘indigene’ clause will be expunged from Kaduna State documents to make it possible for anyone who resides in Kaduna to gain equal access to everything that a native of Kaduna State may be entitled to. He said this on the 6th of August, 2015 thus: ‘Anybody residing in the state irrespective of religion and tribes will automatically be entitled to anything in the state…There is nothing like indigenes/settlers in the state under this administration…We have abolished the settler/indigene dichotomy’.
“He has not only made this pronouncement, but has backed it up with the appointment of non-indigenes into prominent and key political positions. For instance, today an alleged wanted man (Jimi Lawal) has been brought into his government as a Special Adviser and is even regarded as the de facto Governor; Hadiza Bala Usman as Chief of Staff; Muyiwa Adekeye as Special Adviser on Media and Publicity; Peter Ayim as Special Assistant on Entrepreneur; Hafiz Bayero as Special Assistant on Job Creation; Hajiya Rabi Abdulsalam as Commisioner for Women Affairs; Hajiya Hadiza Yahuza as Interim Chairman of Chikun Local Government Council, among others. This is a very strange and curious behaviour since Sections 25, 26 and 27 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria has clearly stated the citizenship status of every bona fide Nigeria; and it states that a Nigerian citizen must be an indigene of a community in Nigeria. Those who are not of Kaduna State origin, though resident in the State, are citizens but not indigenes of Kaduna States because they cannot claim dual indigeneship. This is without prejudice to their fundamental and other rights as humans and citizens of Nigeria
“We are glad to inform you, however, that El Rufai’s excesses turned into a misadventure when he tried to force on Kaduna State a Ministerial nominee from Gombe State, one Amina Ibrahim Mohammed. This coalition petitioned the Senate, and yesterday we defended our stand that the woman was neither an indigene, nor in marriage with an indigene of the state. Her nomination has already been reverted to come from Gombe State.
“The Southern Kaduna people are worst hit by this pronouncement and action of the Governor. The Southern Kaduna people cannot claim indigeneship of the Local Government Areas in the Northern parts of the State much more other States.
“3.0 Skewed political Arrangement
“On the 9th of June, 2015 El Rufai announced the pruning of commissioners in the State from 19 to 13 which, according to him, was to reduce the cost of governance. While we support a cost effective and productive civil service, we became suspicious of his motive when he started what looked like a vindictive approach to what would have been a laudable idea.
“In the composition of his new commissioners, El Rufai violated section 14 (4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as provided thus:
‘(4) The composition of the Government of a state, a local government council, or any of the agencies of such government or council, and the conduct of the affairs of the government or council or such agencies shall be carried out in such manner as to recognize the diversity of the people within its area of authority and the need to promote a sense of belonging and loyalty among all the people of the Federation.’
“Usually, political offices in Kaduna State have always been fairly shared or distributed amongst the three (3) Senatorial Districts in line with the principles of Federal Character enshrined in section 14(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. But, Kaduna State is actually North or South as the “Central” was introduced out of the exigency of the constitution, and not reflective of the South/North divide. For instance, when the Governor comes from the Northern part of Kaduna, the Deputy Governorship and the Ministerial slot will be zoned to Kaduna South. Presently, apart from the Deputy Governor who is an indigene of Southern Kaduna, all the other key positions of governance have been taken by the North, including the Speaker of Kaduna State House of Assembly.
“Also, of the 13 Commissioners, only 4 are from Southern Kaduna. This is very unfair and is in violation of the aforementioned sections of the constitution.
“4.0 Rejection and Refusal to Implement the Proposal to Upgrade the Kafanchan Campus of the Kaduna State University to Kaduna State University of Science and Technology.
“The previous administration of the State Government had set up a Technical Committee to upgrade the Kafanchan campus of the Kaduna State University to a full-fledged university to be called Kaduna State University of Science and Technology for the benefit of the people of Southern Kaduna. The report of the Committee was approved by the State Executive Council of the previous administration. To our surprise, Governor El Rufai, on assumption of office, outrightly rejected the approval of the previous government. He has, instead, lobbied for a Federal University of Science and Technology to be sited at Rigachikum in Igabi Local Government Area.
“5.0 Grazing Reserves
“We want to state that we reject any move to convert any portion of our ancestral lands into an exclusive economic, socio-cultural and political enclave of some people. The experience of Southern Kaduna with Laduga is enough evidence that any Cattle Grazing Reserve is a direct assault on our people and shall be regarded as a clever way of building up emirate in Southern Kaduna in the future. Those who kill our people cannot be rewarded with the lands for which reasons they are killing and occupying our communities. We reject the move, and we promise to use every possible lawful means to stop that plan. The best place to create grazing reserves will be in the Birnin Gwari liberated areas and in Northern LGAs of the State, where they share common customs. Even the so-called encroached proposed grazing reserves created in the ‘60s would have not been possible in those days had the Fulani been alleged to have been exterminating our people like today. We will rather advise the Governor to secure every inch of Southern Kaduna as contained in his manifesto, so we and the Fulani can live in peace and progress as we have been doing before 2011.
“6.0 Logo for Kaduna State
“Recently, the Kaduna State House of Assembly, at the instance of the Governor, had passed a bill to be known as the ‘Kaduna State Logo Law, 2015’ without proper consultation, public hearing, or input from the people of Kaduna State. Therefore, the bill, if accented to by the Governor, does not reflect the yearnings and aspiration of the people.
“7.0 Policy Somersaults
“We wish to state categorically that the inconsistency in policy formulation and implementation in the State is becoming laughable. For instance, school feeding and land reclaim, amongst others.
“Finally, we conclude by saying that we are law abiding indigenes of Kaduna State who are very desirous of development, peace and unity. We pledge to support the Governor in every way we can if he shows evidence that he means well for every section of the State.
“We thank you gentlemen for finding time to come.”
Sign: Barr. James Kanyip,
(Coordinator, Southern Kaduna Coalition)
The following is a letter that was written to the Kaduna State Deputy Governor, Arc. Barnabas Bala (Bantex), by Dr.
John Danfulani, a Kaduna-based rights advocate:
Mr. Barnabas Yusuf Bala,
Deputy Governor of Kaduna State,
Sir Kashim Ibrahim House,
RESIGN NOW BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE
- When you were declared winners of 11th April poll on 12th April 2015, I did not board the ship of APC and change foot soldiers that officially or otherwise wired congratulatory messages. I even refused to come and pay the usual homage that politicians do after victory or defeat. I do not believe in that long tradition because, to me, the reversed should be the case. After walking the extra mile, put professional careers online, and took physical risk for the change that you and many are direct beneficiaries of today, I expected a thank you letter, instead, from you. It is surely not possible to get the thank you messages or visits to everybody, but sector commanders that led the struggle from all angle deserved a separate message of appreciation, other than the State broadcast by your leader. I will continue to think and act outside clichés and far off the box.
- Most people, I guess, that followed your campaign trains, and read your messages knew that your government had a bag full of reforms in all facets of governance. Your messages were clear and quite attractive to mandate givers, hence the resounding victory received on 11th April 2015. Apart from the General APC 2015 manifestos, the separate one you drafted to suit your unique programs for the people of Kaduna State also helped, greatly, to sailing the ship of your mission to the dock. Most importantly, the extensive and intensive campaigns APC ran, lubricated the engine of the ship of change. Above all, fate and good fortune also played its role as aptly captured in Mallam El Rufai’s inaugural speech of 29th May 2015.
- As expected, your government hit the ground running as manifested through its policy pronouncements, actions taken, and nature of appointments. One must not be a political pundit to know and accept the fact that, there is indeed a new Sheriff in town. Like men who snatched power through a revolution or coup, every standing order and protocol was dismantled to suit the new Bretton Woods style of administration and economic management. So far, many actions of your government are generating horizontal and vertical legal interpretations with most of the legal luminaries piquing that over 90% of your actions needed House of Assembly authorization or revocation.
- Sir, your new style of leadership and guiding dictum challenged and ended some long standing power sharing tradition that came with this republic in 1999. Before your government, political and civil service positions were usually and equitably distributed across the three Senatorial Zones – sometimes, into two equal halves of Kaduna North and South – with River Kaduna as the dividing lines. The sharing starts from the four top positions, viz: Governor; Deputy Governor; Minister; and Secretary to the State Government. From 1999-2007 Governor Makarfi and President Olusegun Obasanjo observed this power sharing formula from 2007-2011; Presidents Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Ebele Jonathan respected this fair power sharing arrangement. When Yar’Adua went to the great beyond, and Jonathan mounted the saddle, Namadi was nominated to the post of Vice President. Power went to Mr. Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa. That shift also instigated some other shifts in the power equation of the State. The ministerial seat went to a Lady from the northern part of the State. When Yakowa joined his ancestors, the ministerial seat was shifted to Southern Kaduna.
- This power sharing arrangement is not something that is only enshrined in our 1999 constitution, but politically correct and expedient for an ethno-religiously balkanized State like Kaduna. This did not only address the feelings of marginalization of Southern Kaduna, but also gave them a sense of belonging, encourage political participation, and support for governments and their policies. You are a living witness and actor of this existing formula and have time without number advocated for its sustenance and improvement (while a PDP man from 1998-2007). A perusal of the appointments of your government at the State and Federal levels, so far, suggest an abandonment of this policy that has been fantastically sediment in our body polity.
- Two reasons have been advanced for your government and party’s sinking of this tradition. One, that you intend to pay each zone according to their electoral investment in the 28th March and 11th April polls. Two, that yours is a government of technocrats whose appointments are guided by the size of peoples resume. None of these two can stand a critical analysis.
(A) On the first reason herein, Southern Kaduna gave APC more votes than any opposition party since arrival of this Republic in 1999. APC won four and PDP won four. More to this, where PDP won, the gap was not wide the way it was in 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011. Again, APC’s votes in Southern Kaduna in the said elections were more than votes gotten in all South-South and South-East States in last polls. But, today, they have ministers and many appointments are yet to come. Why is this law not catching up with them? In 2003 when El-Rufai was made Minister representing North-West, the entire zone was swept by ANPP but he was picked. Funny enough, his Kaduna North LGA was won by ANPP and his Senator was ANPP. If this law was applied, would he have become a Minister? Will his Zone be given more national appointments than Southern Kaduna that kept PDP in power between 1999 -2015?
(B) On the second reason, we have many of their appointees that don’t have a primary school leaving certificate. If somebody did not go to primary school class, what expertise has he? Is this not hypocrisy of the highest order? Family and friends dictum is the guiding principle not expertise as your selfish and hawkish government wants us to believe. Hell no.
- You were the State Party Chairman when we went round Southern Kaduna campaigning for APC. You later doubled as Chairman and running mate to your party’s candidate. We spoke of injustice of former ruling party to the State and our people. We promised an inclusive government, respect to sensitivity and diversity of our State in allocation of values. Some of us extracted from your 2015 manifesto and your separate one you scripted for Kaduna State and campaigned in 646 Southern Kaduna communities. You, party officials (at the State, Zonal and LGA levels, and members of the State Campaign Council) could not even join the train. The only time we saw you was when you came on zonal tour with your gubernatorial candidate. Events that you graced most were events that took place in New Choice Hotel where your flying white gown could not get dirty by dust. Anything more than this was not your qualms! The campaign cars and funds most of which you cornered are topics for another day. And I will surely take you on these issues in subsequent epistles to you or in my coming book entitled: “WINGS OF FAITH”.
- Your quietness while our people are being belittled and emasculated by a government you are the most senior elected Southern Kaduna man, speaks volumes. History will surely not be kind to you for seeing and not hearing evil of your boss and APC at the State and Federal levels. Many are questioning (including yours sincerely) whether it is the same Bantex we saw and heard of during the Sharia brouhaha in Kaduna State (between 1999 and 2003). Is it the same Bantex that cried while talking about our people’s backwardness on the last day of their zonal rally in Kafanchan? Where went the spirit of Southern Kaduna that was seen in Bantex while a political upstarter? Bantex has not only lost his voice on issues affecting Southern Kaduna from 29th May 2015 to date, but has turned to be a nepotic and irredentist element whose appointment of aides was guided by mechanical solidarity and other mundane variables.
- Yours affectional hereby counsel that you resign (right now) if events are beyond your control. There is no need hanging-on while your reputation erodes. As a son of a pastor, you know, honour and a good name are more than any title -including that of a Deputy Governor. I know the joy of the paraphernalia of such offices and the economic benefits therein, but do not forget that they are transient. The highest is eight years; and, thereafter, it will be over, and you shall join us in Southern Kaduna. You saw how you were rejected in your LGA in the last polls. It will be worse if you do not quit now or begin to talk and act for the interest of your people.
- You and your fair weather friends (attack dogs and party urchins) are good in attributing other meanings to this and allied attempts to draw your attention to crucial issues. Guess what? I hardly give a damn to such tantrums because history had vindicated me (severally) and traducers had seen their political fortunes crumbled like a park of cards. Yours cannot be an exception, except you act accordingly. You can even claim this piece is not worth your attention, but that is your qualms – you shall see or hear us when you least expected. Our reaction to all your government’s actions and inactions shall be consistent and constant like the northern star.
- Thank you
Dr. John Danfulani
Can you hear the Echoes of Hope?