By John Shiklam in Kaduna
A former secretary of the Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Joseph Hayab, has said that the state Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, has no moral right to call anybody a bigot.
Hayab, in a statement on Sunday in Kaduna, maintained that since el-Rufai became the governor of Kaduna State, his insulting and denigrating comments have polarised the state.
“Happenings in our dear Kaduna State for over three years now, especially some recent statements by the governor, have compelled me to speak as a citizen and a stakeholder who believes in the unity and diversity of Nigeria.
“It seems that Governor el-Rufai takes pleasure in making bad and inciting comments about others but unable to bear or reason that his leadership style is worse than that of those he is quick to accuse,” Hayab said.
He recalled that “when some Christian leaders years back complained about how he (el-Rufai), made mockery of Jesus on his Twitter handle, it seemed then that they deliberately accused him of such a recklessness for political reasons, but little did we realise that such inflammatory comments were el-Rufai’s trademark”.
According to him, “Since el-Rufai became the governor of Kaduna State, many of his utterances have been either to insult or denigrate some individuals or group of people.”
Hayab said further that el-Rufai’s recent tweet accusing Mr. Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra State and vice-presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of being a tribal bigot “clearly shows that the governor needs to go and look at himself in the mirror”.
He said although he is not from the South-east Nigeria, but a visit to Anambra State and meeting people on the streets of Awka and Onitsha showed that Obi as governor of Anambra State, led with an exemplary leadership style of tolerance and promoted peaceful coexistence “unlike el-Rufai who has polarised Kaduna State with divisive actions and inciting utterances”.
“My dear Governor el-Rufai, you cannot go to the social media every now and then making divisive statements about the population of our dear state, only to come back to accuse other Nigerians of being bigots,” he said.
The statement further reads: “For you to have the moral right to accuse others as bigots, you need to check and reexamine yourself in the mirror to ascertain if you are not worse off.
“It is public knowledge how you have threatened Shiites, SOKAPU (Southern Kaduna Peoples Union) and even the Nigerian Army aside from those who hold different political views.
“Does el-Rufai assume that the silence of many indigenes of Kaduna State and other well meaning Nigerians on his actions is a sign of weakness or are people ignorant of the high level of polarisation that his leadership style has brought to Kaduna State?
“My investigation shows that when Mr. Peter Obi was Governor of Anambra State, he worked peaceably with three Commissioners of Police from the North of Nigeria including Alhaji Amusa Bello, Gwary Usman and CP Leha.
“In comparison to Mr Obi, please, el-Rufai should tell Nigerians how many heads of security agencies in Kaduna State during his tenure were/are from the other parts of the country?
“From el-Rufai’s utterances and actions, one becomes sceptical if anyone from another part of Nigeria other than the core north could work as Commissioner of Police or Head of DSS in Kaduna without the governor asking the authorities in Abuja to transfer such with immediate effect.
“My dear Governor, please stop your divisive and distractive statements and actions and look inward to remove the speck from your eyes before attempting to help remove the splinter in others.
“el-Rufai has not lived in Anambra, but is accusing someone from Anambra of his stewardship.
“Can el-Rufai be truthful to himself and to us in Kaduna State by admitting that he is not Nigeria’s chief bigot?
“Peter Obi’s people say that he is one of those exemplary governors who left his state financially better off than he met it. Besides, he left Anambra peaceful and united.
“Can we from Kaduna State rate el-Rufai in the same way? Without the fear of contradiction, a record of Kaduna State people are of the view that Governor el-Rufai should focus more on his duties as a leader of the state and stop busy bodying and poke-nosing into affairs that have little or no link to the administration of our state.
“We demand that Governor el-Rufai should concentrate on making Kaduna State peaceful and prosperous by delivering fair, unbiased and equitable leadership, rather than being at war with almost everyone who holds a differing view from his.
“The undeniable truth is that the governor’s actions and utterances about people and situations both in the state and elsewhere have further impaired the peace we once enjoyed in Kaduna.
“My candid advice to the governor is that he should stop pointing leprous fingers at others and instead, take a hard look at the mirror as his utterances, poor political equations and decisions have heighten suspicion and distrust, a development that is condemnable and unfortunate.”