Re: The Growing Political Intolerance in Kaduna

Musa Daniel

Olawale Olaleye must have indulged in some self-glorification for a job well-done in his “attempted demolition” of Mallam Nasir El-rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, in his write-up: “The growing political intolerance in Kaduna State”, published in THISDAY newspaper of 25th February, 2018. It will be grossly unfair to attribute any motive or insinuate that Olaleye is a hatchet writer, hired to tarnish the governor’s reputation. Now the facts and nothing, but the facts, because they are sacred!

When last year the “five man gang” of Prince Obi Nwosu, Alhaji Hassan Adamu, Chief Olusola Akindele, Chief Godwin Duru and Franklyne Edede “opened” a parallel secretariat of the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Asokoro Abuja, there was justifiable indignation, which helped kill the attempt to create confusion in the polity. Nigerians registered their opposition, because they saw through the antics of the “five man gang”.
Moreover, the PDP had just held a very successful convention and its leaders elected. But Olaleye in his narrative dignified political rascality, rather than an outright condemnation that the action of Hunkuyi and his gang deserves and in the process, mixed up two issues – the failure of Hunkuyi to pay statutory ground rent, which from the demand notice issued for his personal residence on Inuwa Wada Road, confirms non-payment of taxes as a way of life and the issue of his attempt to fractionalise the party.

First, the alleged query and suspension of the governor and some of his aides is of no effect. It was an exercise in futility, the actions of a drowning man. The purported query would have been of some consequence if it was issued by Idris, who is the recognised party leader. Alhaji Shaibu Idris, in line with the Constitution of the APC, stepped into the chairmanship position, which the then chairman, Arc. Bala Yusuf vacated to contest the 2015 elections with El-Rufai. It beats imagination how Danladi Wada, who was roundly trounced in the 2014 State Congress of the party, can claim to be heading a faction! Olaleye should have asked Danladi Wada the position he contested for and the result? Better still the articles of the party constitution that he relied on in his attempt to hijack the party in the manner he attempted?

Wada is being used as a pawn by Hunkuyi and his other travelers, in their determined efforts to fractionalise the party. Hunkuyi, like you acknowledged, has an inordinate ambition to be governor of Kaduna State. Towards this objective, Hunkuyi has made it his second nature to betray, stab in the back or engage in thuggery. Whatever will serve his purpose is ok. Go back to the recent past, his encounter with Ahmed Makarfi, who brought him to limelight ad in 2007, when he contested against the former Vice President Namadi Sambo.
Once it was clear that the primaries were going against him, he resorted to commotion. Thankfully, the security agents stopped him. It is the second nature of Hunkuyi to destroy. He believes in nothing beyond the benefit of helping people to power.

The demolition of 11B Sambo Close was not precipitated by politics. But I must concede that “politics” hastened the decision on the outstanding issues on the property, which basically were the failure of Senator Hunkuyi to pay the accumulated ground rent on the property.
Olaleye is not surprised that you found nothing wrong with a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who makes laws for good governance of Nigeria, being a habitual law breaker? Doesn’t this assault your sense of decency, especially as on his other property he owes a 20-year backlog of ground rent? How can the government provide services when elites like Hunkuyi do not pay taxes? And these are the same people, who tomorrow will mount campaign rostrums and accuse the government of not performing.

Disturbing is the failure of Olaleye to condemn the failure of the likes of Hunkuyi to pay their ground grant and converting a property into another use without obtaining the appropriate approval. If only Hunkuyi was a law abiding citizen, there is no way the governor would have been able to revoke the property.

On the issue of nuisance, he would have been issued with warning to desist, failing which the Governor would have been left with no choice but to revoke. But like Fela would say, it was a classic case of “tripple” wahala for dead body – failure to pay ground rent, change in the use of the property without approval and environmental nuisance. How can a responsible government close its eyes to such serious infractions of the law?
You have portrayed El-rufai of being political intolerant of the opposition. The question is which opposition? Definitely not Hunkuyi or Inuwa Abdulkadir!

Just a reminder, Abdulkadir like Hunkuyi is fellow outlaw, who believes he is law unto himself. Whose operating motto is “above the law”? Laws are for the common man. The great judge Lord Denning in a historic judgment, said no one, however mighty is above the law. The attitude of some people, who believe that they are above the law and that they don’t have to obey the law, stands condemnable, because they endangering public institutions. Thankfully the message is beginning to sink in that laws are meant to be obeyed, and laws are no respecters of any man.

Olaleye talked about politics being the act of conflict resolution. Why did the Hunkuyi and his cohorts not exhaust the internal party mechanism for conflict resolution before declaring war? If there is one person who has consistently attacked the governor, it is Senator Shehu Sani. So, why hasn’t the vindictive state government demolished any of his numerous properties or properties belonging to members of the Peoples Democratic Party – the recognised opposition?

The generous use of the tag of opposition to everyone, who criticises without asking what they are opposed to, is a crime. For your information they are opposed to the governor appointing non-indigenes into positions, the implication being that if the governor finds you Olaleye fit, the Hunkuyi and Hakeem Baba-Ahmed of this World would fight you to a standstill.

They are opposed to reform of the civil service, which in 2018 still had stenographers and typists. They are opposed to the reform of the educational sector, where teachers recently displayed their incompetency. They are opposed to the reform of the traditional institutions, which with its huge wage bill, made it difficult for the Councils to undertake projects. Thankfully, with reforms, the Councils are beginning to perform.
Who are the observers that are of the view that the governor has resorted “to land use laws as a means of getting at those opposed to him”? The observers are obviously Shehu Sani, Hunkuyi and their group, who have always believed that the state belongs to them.

Unfortunately, a Pharaoh that doesn’t know Joseph is at the helms of affairs and is meting out the deserved judgment. The governor has clearly shown that he will enforce the law, no matter whose ox is gored. Olaleye is clearly against the enforcement of law and order. Olaleye is anti-urban renewal and avowed supporter of impunity.
The governor, since coming to office has enforced the demolition of houses built on public land, because it is his sworn responsibility to right wrongs. Governor El-rufai has contrary to Olaleye’s position, shown his disposition towards law and order by constantly heading to the courts to seek redress whenever he feels aggrieved. The latest being the court action against Senator Shehu Sani for libel. He has never engaged in self-help.

About appointments, which is the real issue at the heart of the so-called problem the Hunkuyi and his group have with the governor, the other being award of contracts. The problem is the failure of party members to come to terms with certain realities. Dwindling resources, which has made lean government imperative and the governor wasted no time administering the dose to the State Executive Council by pruning the ministries from 24 to 13, which meant that 11 positions were automatically erased.

But more fundamental is the fact that the governor wanted to run a reformist government, which meant that School certificate holders were out. If El-rufai had appointed a third eleven, the press would have made jest of him.
No matter how noble the intention, Olaleye you had issues with it. For instance, he was angry that a process of recall was initiated against Senator Shehu Sani by “Concerned Indigenes of Kaduna Central Senatorial District”, a process that is constitutional. The framers of the constitution provided it as a check against poor representation. Why must motive be read into the efforts by aggrieved groups to recall a “failed” senator, who they feel is offering zero representation – an action that will clearly strengthen our democracy.

It’s an insult to always insinuate or conclude that people are sponsored, when they express their legitimate rights. Olaleye how will you feel, if I assert, like you have asserted against Aliyu Saidu, that your write-up was sponsored? But you asserted without any evidence that “The group was believed to have been sponsored to attack Sani”.

Another fallacious tale which you swallowed hook, line and sinker is the claim by the National President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, that “About 8000 forces including the military, police and civil defense were deployed to intimidate and use maximum force against workers”. Eight thousand forces? And you believed such outlandish claims without any efforts to subject it to some reality check?

What is the total strength of the Nigerian armed forces and police that 8,000 would have been mobilised to Kaduna to stop the protest? Kaduna State has been notorious for riots and rather than condemnation, the governor deserves praise for ensuring that the demonstrations didn’t turn ugly like previous ones. Kaduna State has a notorious history of peaceful demonstrations turning violent. Naturally, it behooves the governor to take steps to ensure that the protest was not hijacked.

In a democracy, rights are not absolute, especially when the NLC has a terrible history of precipitating violence, like it did in November last year, when it vandalised the Kaduna State House of Assembly. I hope the Governor makes them pay for the damage, even though the likes of Olaleye will describe it as high-handed.

Like every other issue, it is not surprising Olaleye also found fault in the government position on teachers joining the strike action called by Labour. Olaleye, please have you read the Labour law? If no I strongly suggest you do, because it will be of great benefit to you. Labour rather than hide its head in shame, that it’s members woefully failed primary four(4) examination, rather than working with government to address the fundamental issues resorted to gangsterism.

The 21,000 teachers, who were disengaged (not sacked), were at liberty to demonstrate, but chasing public servants out of their duty post is a crime. Had the governor applied the no work, no pay rule, there would have been hues and cries. Laws are made to be obeyed and of what use are laws if they are not enforced? Thankfully, the strike failed and Labour lost face, which the government tried to save it from. God bless the parents of Kaduna, who staged a counter demonstration in support of the government reform of the educational sector.

The other issues have been comprehensively addressed but, because Olaleye has no regard for facts, he has conveniently closed his eyes to them. Olaleye, in future when you write on Kaduna State, kindly don’t write from Number 11B, Sambo Close, it is responsible for your distorted vision, because dust from a demolished site can and does blur vision.

–––Musa is a Kaduna-based Public Affairs Commentator

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