In recent days, the media has been awash with a “leaked” memo written by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state to President Muhammadu Buhari, hence fuelling public discourse.
In the 30-page letter reportedly written to the president last year, El Rufai admitted that the current APC-led government (which he is a part of) had failed in many areas and in its poor handling of issues of governance.
In the memo, El-Rufai raised concerns bordering on governance, politics and the present economic state we are in. Purportedly attempting to show concern, he even proffered solutions for the President in solving the myriad of problems bedevilling the country in the memo. This was all done in the guise of “constructively criticising” the administration of President Buhari.
El-Rufai apparently insists that he was not responsible for leaking the letter. Discernible political observers can tell that the memo and its supposed leak was allegedly a subtle ploy by El-Rufai to put himself in the limelight, in contention for the presidency come 2019. Enumerating the challenges currently faced by the Buhari-led administration and supposedly proffering solutions to them, he is misleadingly showing he has a good knowledge of the problems facing Nigeria, when in actual fact he is marketing himself as the best man for the job.
Surprisingly, most of the concerns he raised in the memo are actually the very same concerns that some if not most stakeholders in Kaduna state have over his leadership style. Perusing the memo, he alluded to specific people in the present cabinet as unfit, incompetent and clueless. He specifically mentioned the SGF and the Chief of Staff, stating they both lacked personality and experience. He was particularly censurable on the SGF, stating he lacked humility, is insensitive and rude. This is simply a case of the kettle calling the pot black. Most people who has come across or had dealings with El-Rufai can attest to the fact that he also possesses these traits.
He also stated that some officials around Mr. President have persuaded him that the current APC State Governors must have no say and must also be totally excluded from political consultations, key appointments and decision-making at federal level. This statement is perhaps an emotional outcry over a possible falling out with Mr. President. It was widely believed that when the President assumed office in 2015, El-Rufai was very influential and many key appointments then had his blessings or were influenced by him.
Similarly, a good number of members of the APC Kaduna chapter are aggrieved with the governor. They have consistently been complaining of his muzzling, disrespect, arrogance and deceit. It is on record that the Governor “who claims to be holier than thou” asked a group of aggrieved APC Kaduna chapter members to go and climb Kufena Mountain and jump when they complained about the appointments he made. In his memo, he alluded to some PDP apparatchik in the present government, forgetting that he is one of the greatest beneficiaries of the PDP era of dominance before moving to the APC for greener pastures and political survival. He is also among the many political parasites that rode on the President’s popularity and party to get elected.
X-raying his performance as Governor reveals that he has done virtually nothing for the development of his state. Everything that Kaduna state government is entitled to is been given. From the Paris club funds refund to bail out for states. However, El-Rufai has shown nothing for these funds apart from the federal allocations.
El-Rufai is approaching the Mid-term of his administration as governor of an APC-controlled administration in Kaduna State. Clearly, however, the party is docile in its statutory duties and activities as a political party.
There have been cries that since he became governor, there have been no Executive Committee and stakeholders meetings from the Ward to State Levels. It is a fact that most stakeholders and members are feeling used and dumped and lack of consultations in decision-making processes as it affects the party at the local, state and national levels is tearing the party at the state level apart.
Perhaps nothing illustrates the failure of the Kaduna State government under El-Rufai than its handling of the Shiite crisis. To be fair, the state government is not responsible for the killing of over 300 Shiite members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) by soldiers. However, its handling of events after the December 2015 violence has been criticized by discerning observers and the El-Rufai led government has since controversially labeled the IMN as an “insurgent group” and banned its activities.
Another major blight to El-Rufai’s administration is his handling of the Southern Kaduna crisis. Despite the various supposed peace initiatives of the state government, people, mainly local residents, are still being killed in that part of the state.
The Christmas Day killing in Goska community despite a 24-hour curfew imposed on the area by the state government has since been condemned by Nigerians and till date most of the perpetrators have not been brought to book.
Sometime ago, it was reported in the media that the governor escaped a mob action during one of his visits to Kafanchan as residents accused him of not doing enough to protect them.
In an effort by the El-Rufai government to remove ghost workers from the state civil service, some real workers as was reported lost their jobs. Some primary school teachers who served for many years were reportedly affected by the verification exercise. Also, his government is yet to bring an end to the activities of a dangerous group known as ‘Yan Shara’ across the state.
Concerning projects, while other state governors that were also inaugurated in 2015 commissioned various projects last year, it is on record that El-Rufai is yet to conclude any major project in his state. Apart from the Ahmadu Bello way which is witnessing attention, other areas according to residents appear to be moving slowly.
Zubairu Abdullahi is a political analyst based in Kaduna. This article was originally published in Leadership Newspaper.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.