John Shiklam in Kaduna
The outgoing President of the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), Mr. Solomon Musa, has decried alleged marginalisation of the southern part of the state by Governor Nasir el-Rufai.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony of the leadership of the union to the newly elected executive, led by Hon. Jonathan Asake, at the weekend in Kaduna, Musa said 95 per cent of El-Rufai’s appointees are from the central and northern senatorial zones of the state.
“We knew that the government of Nasiru El-Rufai chose to appoint 95 per cent of his political appointees both at the state and federal level from zones 1and 2 and less than 5 per cent from Southern Kaduna.
“The justification was that Southern Kaduna committed the ‘heinous crime’ of not voting the government into power.
“We did not protest though we knew that almost all projects were in the other zones and very few in Southern Kaduna. We did not protest,” he said.
He also condemned the governor for the “balkanisation” of Southern Kaduna traditional institutions and changing
the names of the chiefdoms without regards to historical antecedents.
He said: “Our traditional rulers domains were balkanised. Then a ‘wise man’ with monopoly of wisdom decided to change the name of their chiefdoms to the ones he felt he must assign to them.
“Agwam Bajju was changed to Agwam Zonkwa. Gwatyap to GwaTanje. His argument is that chiefs ought to bear the title of towns/villages eg. Emir of Kano, Emir of Daura or Emir of Katsina.
“What about titles like Etsu Nupe? Lamido of Adamawa? Tor Tiv? Ohinoyi of Ebiraland; Shehu of Borno?” Musa asked. “We were taken back to the colonial era” he added.
He said the deadly attacks on Southern Kaduna communities by Fulani herdsmen from 2016 to 2018, which led to massive killings and destruction of property, were great setback to the development of the area.
According to him, in the heat of the attacks, SOKAPU made concerted efforts on how the problem could be solved but the governor allegedly shut his doors firmly against the union and did not even respond to acknowledged letters for courtesy calls sent to him.
Musa said: “We wanted to suggest proactive measures that could be taken to anticipate and forestall the machinations and devices of the terrorists.
“We reached out to our son in Government House, former Deputy Governor Barnabas Bala Bantex, to inform him of our efforts.
“Regardless, our overtures of goodwill and open mindedness were rebuffed. Our prominent son in government failed, refused or neglected to build any kind of bridge between our people and government.
“Instead, his pre- occupation was that of being the chief advocate for all indefensible, draconian, nepotistic, genocidal bigotry against us.
“For him, any form of dissent amounted to confrontation, rebellion and partisan opposition against the government.
“For him our call on our people, Christians and Muslims alike to take all available legal means to protect and defend themselves against terrorists amounted to a call to take the laws into our hands.
“Paradoxically, when the Emir of Birnin Gwari and Emir of Anka (in Zamfara State) called on their people to defend themselves against killers, our son in government kept quiet.
“Our son in government did not have the gumption to condemn them. Our son in government kept mum. Our son in government saw nothing good in our people. Our son in government was not picking his calls or responding to text messages. Our son in government was more interested in condemning his people in order to look good in the eyes of bigoted chieftains.
“Sadly, he that was loyal and not confrontational cannot point out any benefits that he attracted to Southern Kaduna. He was merely but a tourist in government.
“For us, we took solace in the fact that, truth is a bridge that never collapses, no matter the weight of lies heaped on it. He who keeps quiet and seals his mouth in the face of injustice is actually a partner and an accomplice with the oppressor.
“We face mounting humanitarian crisis. Thousands have been displaced without shelter, food, clothing or bare necessities. Unfortunately, unlike in other parts of the country, no IDP camps have been set up or any significant intervention in the form of relief materials have been afforded our people by relevant agencies of government. The insecurity situation made it difficult for all our farmers to go back to the farms.”
Musa said Southern Kaduna people are “faced with the challenge of government insensitivity, outright discrimination, hostility and disdain against our people.
He called for all hands to be on deck to address the challenges facing the area.