The death of a thousand good men is not as tragic as having an unfit man in a position of national leadership - Usman dan Fodio.
The above quote by Usman Ɗan Fodio, a Fulani philosopher, Islamic religious teacher, revolutionary, and leader who founded the Sokoto Caliphate and ruled as its first Caliph, is quite true. This is so because an unfit leader can cause the death of millions and plunge a nation into chaos, anarchy and civil war.
We are just about five days away from a presidential election, an important one because it is to usher in a new president since the occupant is about to complete his tour of duty.
However, it is coming on the heels of a currency redesign and scarcity coupled with the unavailability of Premium Motor Spirit, causing long queues at fuel stations. Unfortunately, despite the issue of fuel scarcity being a perennial problem for us, one of the presidential candidates told the nation that it was aimed at him - as well as the naira redesign.
Sadly, some governors in his camp seem to have accepted his allegation hook, line and sinker, making them rush to the highest court in the land to seek a reversal of the currency policy. They did not stop at that; they are doing all they can to blackmail and arm-twist the president, who is in the same party as them and to whom most of them owe their electoral fortunes.
It may have been okay, perhaps, if it stopped at that. But no, it did not. They are openly calling for mutiny, instigating the public against the president, who is the symbol of our sovereignty.
The governor of Kaduna State, who could never have been a state governor in the first place if not for the bandwagon effect the popularity of President Muhammadu Buhari had on the elections of 2015, has called for outright disobedience of the president. And in doing so, he swore that if his presidential candidate won the election of 25 February, they would abrogate the redesign policy.
First, he started by saying “a cabal in the villa” was against his candidate. He then said, “the North has no elders”. He moved on to speak about the “dullness” of those around the president, that he has no confidence in the intelligence of those advising the president, a euphemism for saying the president is unintelligent!
In all this, he claims that he is a staunch believer in “the rule of law”, and “respecter of the judiciary” and has an unmitigated love for the “masses”. But is that true?
People who knew him well have told us otherwise. In his book, “My Watch” Vol 2; pages 110-112, Obasanjo summed Nasir el-Rufa'i as “a petite-sized man with an elephantine brain that has a penchant for lying, disloyalty.”
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who was instrumental in bringing the Kaduna State governor to the limelight, also accused him of dishonesty, disloyalty and biting the fingers that fed him. Shehu Sani, in January 2019, then representing Kaduna Central in the Red Chamber, while on The Osasu Show with Osasu Igbinedion, predicted that Nasir el-Rufa'i will turn against Buhari in the future. He described him as a “serial betrayer” who turns against any government when it is no longer in his favour.
Now, the “serial betrayer” is claiming to be fighting for the “poor” and is caressing “respect for the judiciary”. But nobody takes el-Rufa’i with any seriousness when he speaks of love for the masses, the rule of law or obedience to court orders. He has, on countless occasions, refused to abide by court orders in his capacity as governor; a man whose successor as minister of the Federal Capital Territory inherited over 3,000 court cases. We can still ‘see’ the picture of the late Justice Bashir Sambo sitting outside his house as it was being demolished on el-Rufai’s instruction despite a restraining court order. That singular act, more than anything, hastened the northern elder to his grave.
The late Justice was an elder in the genuine sense of the word. He was a Grand Kadi, Sharia Court of Appeal, Kaduna, and later that of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. He also chaired the Code of Conduct Tribunal and was an acting national secretary-general of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (NJI) as well as the chairman of the Kaduna State Council of Jama’atu Nasril Islam. The late Justice was an executive member and treasurer of the Council of Ulama of Nigeria, an executive member of Jama’atu Nasril Islam and an executive member of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA). He also published volumes of Islamic Religious Studies Books. But then, el-Rufa'i, our enfant terrible, has concluded that the north has no elders but him because he is 63 years old!
As for the love of the masses, when some state governors, especially that of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, were providing succour for the people of their states, it is on record that el-Rufai turned Kaduna into a hell on earth to the extent that all those passing through were subjected to the most inhuman and degrading treatment. Surely, if he was concerned about the economic well-being of the people, he would not have demolished many of the masses’ means of livelihood.
Since we all know that in any election there must be a winner and a loser, and being someone hell-bent on winning, for whatever reason, el-Rufa'i can do anything if he does not win. But the damage he has inflicted on his candidate is worse than what the entire opposition parties have done to him. Apart from him, there may be some parts of the country that can be instigated into mayhem if their presumed “must-win” contender comes up a cropper.
If someone who should know better can openly challenge his commander-in-chief, his benefactor, because he thinks he is now lame-duck and so has no need of him - another quality of a disloyal betrayer - then he can instigate a nation against itself if he does not get his way.
Charles Dickens once said, “The sun himself is weak when he first rises and gathers strength and courage as the day gets on.” And so, what are the security agencies thinking? How prepared are they for the el-Rufa'is, Gandujes and all those who wish to truncate our democracy because of their rejection at the polls?
** Hassan Gimba is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Neptune Prime.