THE social media quaked recently when the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) extended an invitation to the Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai as a participant in its forthcoming annual general election. All of a sudden, vociferous voices rose alleging that the governor was either one of the traducers of the people or abetted this seeming carnage.
Of a truth, the ceaseless killing of innocent people in this Kaduna enclave has become a bother. Gory figures of horrendously murdered people are displayed on social media with what appeared like a deafening silence from both the federal and state governments. As at the last count, thousands have lost their lives to these mindless killings. Kaduna South people claim, supported with hard-to-rebut evidence, that their traducers were ethnic ilk of the governor, Fulani, who storm their homes with machetes, guns and other dangerous weapons to wreck these colossal havocs. In a release they issued a few hours ago, they claimed that in the last eight months, 104 communities in Southern Kaduna have been attacked and 400 lives have been lost.
Indeed, the Southern Kaduna imbroglio is about 40 years old now. It even nearly cost the life of one of their icons, General Zamani Lekwot during the Zango Kataf uprising in 1986. Under the duo of Buhari and el-Rufai, however, there has been an upswing in the carnage, with Southern Kaduna being visited with an adjudged worst form of carnage in recent history. Hundreds of residents of the area were cruelly murdered by bandits and their corpses litter their homes. Apparently helpless, leaders of Southern Kaduna, which included a lawmaker representing Zagon Kataf/Jaba Federal Constituency, Amos Magaji, have unequivocally claimed that el-Rufai, ostensibly due to his ethnic affiliation to the alleged aggressors, the Fulani, had been abetting the genocide, as well as in the various ethnic and religious clashes bedeviling the area.
While security has generally gone to the dogs under Muhammadu Buhari, Governor el-Rufai’s comments about the killings in his domain leave much to be desired. To exculpate self from the killings, he once claimed that he had paid huge sums of money to the alleged Fulani killers of Kaduna South people to secure armistice. In an interview with some select journalists in his office, the governor claimed that his government traced some aggrieved and decidedly violent Fulani bandits, foreigners he claimed, to their countries and paid them to stop the carnage in Southern Kaduna. A few days ago, the same governor told the world that the din over the killings by the victims – Kaduna South leaders – was due to his refusal to appease the leadership by oiling their palms.
To confirm that el-Rufai’s mind is steeped in divisiveness and culpable abetment, by this comment, it is irrebutable that he had already criminalised Southern Kaduna elders, even without a cogent and verifiable reason. The “new governor who is Fulani like them and has no problem paying compensations” was ready to appease his established genocidal Fulani kinsmen for peace to reign but “had no time for nonsense” and indeed loathed “to appease criminals,” people who are decidedly victims of this carnage.
The social media-propelled uproar over the nomination of a governor with such a biased mindset on a ceaseless carnage against his people was so high that the NBA, in a resolution at its council meeting, had to withdraw the invitation to the governor. This isn’t actually the news. The news is that, thereafter, Nigeria and her manacles which have prevented an upward mobility began to set in. Some social media apologists demanded that Nyesom Wike, Rivers governor, alleged to be notorious for exhibition of brute brawns rather than his brains, be de-invited as well. Then, Yobe State NBA and some northern lawyers also expressed their intention not to attend the meeting. A group which called itself the Muslim Lawyers’ Association of Nigeria also joined the fray, taking the argument to a very obtuse and ridiculous level. It asked that ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo should be included in the list of those to be barred from speaking at the conference.
On a television programme last week, I was asked that, if Nigeria and Mali people’s situations are not dissimilar as I said, Malians came out en-masse to demand the resignation of Boubacar as President and the crowd of #RevolutionNow protesters in Nigeria were far between. I told the audience that it was due to the 1914 Lord Lugardian false contraption which has led to very fractious internal contradictions in the country. Nigerians are not and can never be united in calls for stoppage of their oppression as they did last week in Mali. For reasons of ethnicity, religion, political affiliation and many other primordial sentiments, there can never be unanimity of opinion to rout the oppressor. The June 12 uprising was basically a Southern or Western, if you like, embarrassment of the Nigerian State into surrender as against a unanimously prosecuted national umbrage against injustice.
While it is a new vista in Nigerians’ quest to use social media uproar to hold people accountable, the sad thing about it is that the Lurgardian contradictions will ensure that it is done to appease the god of our primordial sentiments. It is this calamitous feature that has kept on recycling our maggots in government and political offices for decades.
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