AN OPEN LETTER TO THE GOVERNOR OF KADUNA STATE, MALLAM NASIR EL-RUFAI
REV. FR. PAUL DANBAKI JATAU, PHD
The Executive Governor of Kaduna state.
Subject: MOMENT OF TRUTH
May I state clearly that many cast their votes for you during the 2015 general election because of your antecedents for they wanted you to bring back to the state those receding virtues of accountability, integrity, justice, fairness in the distribution of resources and fear of God in handling the affairs of the state. This is in connection with your formal declaration to run for the Governorship of Kaduna State on November 3rd, 2014 when you said, “we must move Kaduna State from a state where people live in mutual suspicion; where few people feel safe or secure and where nothing gets done. It is disheartening that Kaduna State which used to be a melting pot of religions, cultures and industry has become a battlefield of ethnic and religious divisions due to incessant conflicts, denial of opportunities and relentless narrowing of the space for political freedom and expression. We now have a state where a small self-centred clique controls the state’s resources while the generality of Kaduna people are excluded from political and economic opportunities”.
It might interest you to know that majority of those who voted you into office are disappointed. The sad turn of events in Kaduna, the political capital of Northern Nigeria, would anger the founders of the state who did not envisage segregation among its residents basically along religious and ethnic lines. The horrible damage religious and ethnic bigotry which you are championing have done to the state is unquantifiable largely due to the clumsiness of your administration not competent enough to handle issues that affect the citizens and carry every section in the state along in all spheres of life. There is no gainsaying that most of the rural areas in the state do not feel the impact of the state government and to them, neither government nor democracy exists. Worst still, it is an eyesore when one takes a look at the condition of local governments in the outskirts of the state capital.
Furthermore, after traversing the 23 local government areas of the state you opined: “To say that l was shocked by the level of neglect is an understatement. Our road networks have fallen into disrepair; our schools have no basic teaching and learning tools; our teachers are not motivated; our hospitals and clinics lack essential resources to mitigate the challenges of healthcare and our civil servants are not being sufficiently motivated. Poverty has become worse; unemployment has become more pervasive; agricultural productivity has declined; internally generated revenues are too low to even pay salaries. The picture is indeed very bleak.” With the aforementioned, the hope of the people of the state especially Southern Kaduna lay on you as we recall what you said while re-affirming your determination of making the state great again when you collected your certificate from INEC as the elected governor of the state.
You said after the visits, “that some of the places l visited were so remote, isolated and cut off from government that it would have been difficult to believe that they were part of Kaduna State.”
Sir, you assured us that you will do your best to restore Kaduna to a state that works for the people regardless of tribe, ethnic or religious affiliation. You said when this is achieved, we will shout for joy saying, “Liberty! Freedom! Tyranny is dead!” How true are these assertions? Let me remind you of some of these issues:
After a year and some months of incessant attacks in the Southern part of the State, in collaboration with the Nigerian Army, police, Civil Defence and other sister agencies you launched ‘Operation Harbin Kunama II’ to rid the area of armed bandits that have killed close to 1,000 people, maimed and injured scores, and destroyed properties running into billions of naira. You stated during a town hall meeting that, “the armed bandits terrorizing Southern Kaduna will definitely face tough time in days to come. Some of the armed gang may either surrender, be killed or flee the area and allow residents to live in peace”. To the above statement, we heaved a sigh of relief thinking Mr. Governor would keep to his words. However, the on-going search and disarmament of the natives NOT the so called armed bandits terrorizing the area is a display of your HYPOCRISY AND DUPLICITY. May I ask, are the natives of Southern Kaduna the armed bandits you said you were going to disarm? What we saw been bandied on national TV are dane guns and other locally made weapons our people use for hunting expeditions. What about the AK 47’s, Revolver’s and other lethal weapons in the hands of Fulani terrorists? Why haven’t we seen a single Fulani paraded as a prove of your resolve? How many of them are in custody as you have done for our people who are in custody?
What happens when a government disarms its citizens? In case you do not know, let me take you on a voyage of historical exploration on disarming citizens.
1911 – Turkey disarmed its citizens, and between 1915 –1917 they murdered 1.5 million Armenians.
1929 – Russia disarmed its citizens, and between 1929 –1953 they murdered 20 million Russians.
1935 – China disarmed its citizens, and between 1948 –1952 they murdered 20 million Chinese.
1938 – Germany disarmed its citizens, and between 1939 –1945 they murdered 16 million Jews.
1956 – Cambodia disarmed its citizens, and between 1975–1977 they murdered 1 million Educated people.
1964 – Guatamala disarmed its citizens, and between 1964–1981 they murdered 100,000 Mayan Indians.
1970 – Uganda disarmed its citizens, and between 1971–1979 they murdered 300,000 Christians.
You can argue about the numbers but the point is that disarmed citizens are vulnerable and easy targets to criminals. In as much as I laud the efforts of the security agents, the whole exercise looks ‘suspicious’ and leaves room for some vital questions like:
- Who are the armed bandits to be disarmed?
- When would the exercise be carried out in Kafanchan metropolis, I mean, the emirate and Laduga in Ikulu chiefdom?
3.Would the exercise be extended to the Fulani herdsmen Mr. Governor paid money to?
- Would the fulanis be disarmed of their matchets and other lethal weapons?
In the words of Enoch, “If Fulanis carry ‘guns’ for the protection of their cows, farmers too ought to carry ‘guns’ for the protection of Their ancestral farmlands. If a fulani man’s cows are his only source of livelihood, it suffice to reasonably state the farmer’s farm is his source of livelihood”. It is unfair and an act of injustice to ask people who have been massacred and hurt not to protect themselves.
ROAD: Your Excellency Sir, you promised to open up rural areas for our agricultural produce to get to the city. Sir, how many of these roads have been opened up since you got to office and where? You promised to dualise all major roads leading to the city. Sir, how many of our major cities road have been dualised so far and where? You promised to construct most of these roads with direct labour. Can you please state how many direct labour acts your administration employed in constructing these roads? Please sir, what is your administration’s progress report on this?
You promised to develop and encourage trading, industrial and commercial activities, to encourage youth involvement in agriculture and also transparency and accountability. After months of strenuous screening exercise to fish out ghosts workers, what are its positive impacts on the state?
Sir, during your tour to Southern Kaduna before the elections, you promised teachers good renumeration by the first year of your administration. Please what have you been able to do on education? In the heat of the incessant attacks in Southern Kaduna, you made us to believe that teaching and learning processes can not be properly conducted in an unsafe school environment, therefore all the tertiary institutions (KASU Kafanchan Campus, C.O.E Gidan Waya campus and College of Nursing, Kafanchan) were shut down when neither a lecturer nor a student has been killed in the attacks perpetrated by the Fulani herdsmen against the natives who are the direct beneficiaries of these educational structures. At a security meeting held in Kaduna with traditional rulers, the Kpop Ham requested you to reopen the schools and your response left so much to be desired. You responded to the paramount ruler’s request rudely and denigrated his person and the institution he represents. You were caught on camera saying ‘if the people of southern kaduna value education, they will learn to live in peace and stop formenting trouble’ . Sir, this surprises us. Are you saying that the natives are the people who don’t want to live in peace? Did you not make a public admission of identifying the terrorists and even paid them compensation? Your postulation to the paramount ruler beats logic and common sense.
The irony is that while Boko Haram insurgents were on rampage in Borno State, the capital city and its environs, the government did not shut down the University and other tertiary Institutions so as not to interrupt the school’s curriculum. It is expected that you take a pro-active approach in securing the institutions with the retinue of security agents in the area. I presume that you are aware that the level of development of a society in terms of its politics, economy, technology, cultural values and religion depends on quality of education provided. It seems your administration does not feel concerned Since you (PhD student) and your children are enjoying your studies abroad, your administration can afford to waste the time of these youth until whenever you are ready.
If what is being rumoured is true about your intention to relocate the above named institutions, then, it would the ‘conspiracy at its peak’. Please may I ask, what becomes of the structures? Would they be turned into housing estates for fulanis or training grounds for terrorists? Permit me to bring before you the negatives of shutting down schools.
- The academic calendar is tempered with.
- Many of our students would now have time to fully engage in social vices such as prostitution,cultism, kidnapping, armed robbery, fraud and many others in order to while away time as well as make illicit money.
- It will be difficult for many of us to seek proper legitimate job as we are not certain when our lecturers will call off their strike; more so, we have no meaningful qualifications to seek full employment.
- In the course of needless travels embarked upon by students when their lecturers down tools,some of the students have died prematurely.
- The disruption of studies of the students will also have negative psychological impact on us. By the time the strike is over, many of the students would most likely have forgotten what they were taught before the unwarranted break.
It is so funny that your generation benefited from free education provided by the generation before you and yet your administration does not see the need to do something drastically to reopen and improve on the status of education in our state.
Sir, I am sure as you read this piece, certain questions readily come to mind. Like, what motivated me to write you an open letter? I contemplated doing you a lengthy ‘memo’ but wasn’t sure bottlenecks will allow me access to you. You may be asking what do I want? I have only one ambition consuming me. I want nothing from you other than wishing that you succeed. That our people feel we have a governor that is fair and just to all. A governor that is not disavowed to criticism but one who would receive shades of opinion happily and work to improve his style of leadership to the advantage of those he governs. My task is to stink you to consciousness. To be that gadfly I am ordained to be; to speak for the vulnerable people of southern Kaduna. That’s my job and I am happy doing it. Kaduna State is bigger than an individual, and that no government has ever succeeded through lies, victimisation and propaganda. We hoped for a better government under your administration, but it now clearly shows that we will continue to get nothing more than empty promises, blatant lies and cheap propaganda. In addition, I personally believe we have to grow beyond sentiments about the people we govern if we really want to move in the right direction; I think your administration has performed below what is expected of you. We want a government that is based on ethical personal values, understands the true meaning of democracy and has the political will to pursue the desired change. I challenge your administration to be opened to criticisms and allow for freedom of speech.
Please be informed that no matter what happens to us as a people we will remain who we are because we are proud of our roots as Southern Kaduna people and as history has shown we are survivors. We shall survive all and every form of wickedness and conspiracy against us. You have so many of our kith and kin in detention centres, including traditional rulers, you have threatened to arrest and prosecute more, you have stopped our children from attending school by shutting down the schools in Kafanchan and its environs.
I look forward to seeing positive change in the remaining two years of your administration.
Thank you for reading.
Yours in making Kaduna Great,
Rev. Fr. Paul Danbaki Jatau PhD