DEMAND FOR AN UNRESERVED APOLOGY
open Letter to Mr. Nasir Ahmed El-rufa’i, Governor Of Kaduna State, Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, Kaduna.
1. While canvassing for votes of the good people of Kaduna State, you promised a routine interface with mandate givers. I guess it is a strategy to directly report activities of government to the people and also have firsthand knowledge of their perception and consequences of government’s programmes.
This is a wonderful invention because after given mandates, the poor hardly have a channel of hearing from their leaders directly. It took a little while for you to kickstart this pledge, and record shows you have completed the first phase of this routine.
2. On Saturday the 17th October 2015, you flag-off the second phase of your Town Hall meetings once more in Kaduna. While dusting away specs of doubts on sundry issues and answering questions advanced by your guests, many old and new media reported that you admonished those not cherry to “go and die if you are not happy with my appointees”.
The one lifted was reported by The Vanguard of 17th October 2015.
Characteristically, other newspapers scripted and garnished their reportage with different words, but all were unanimous in reporting the quintessential message portraying your matching order to those not happy with your appointments to go-fall-down Kufena Mountain and die. If it were one media outlet that reported the event, there would have been room to entertain doubt, but all penmen reported the same thing.
Moreover, you have a mania of quick response in situations where you were wrongly quoted or misunderstood . Since you are still quiet, days after these reports, we can as well take it that your “matching order to Kufena Mountain was accurately reported.
3. Sir, I believe you went off the lane of decency because tolerance, mental and physical stability, capacity to absolve pressure are attributes desirable of leaders in a democracy. You must have reacted to voice(s) of dissents, but are voices of dissents not concomitant in a democracy? Must every living being in a political geography under your leadership agree with your style of leadership and policies?
The 1999 Constitution contains a gamut of right, amongst the array of rights is freedom to criticize or disagree with government and its policies. Ditto the Freedom of Information Act. From the close of 2007 to 2015, you withdrew from the pool of rights and opposed governments of Yar’Adua and Jonathan. You were permitted to ventilate your disagreements of which pundits even piqued you enjoyed in excess.
They didn’t only respect your feelings but made the streets safe for you to stage many protests against them. Now that your status has changed, you seem reluctant eating the type of dish you served others, some years ago. You seem to forget that you are no longer in opposition where caution and moderation are not frequently observed norms. Was Abraham Lincoln forecasting your ilks when he said “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power”?
Have you not stumbled on words of E. M. Foster who posited that “two cheers for democracy: one because it admits variety; and two because it permits critical”?
4. Nobody is contesting the fact that you have the right to appoint whosoever you want and from any part of the planet and beyond. The Constitution and other extant laws allow you to make your key appointments. But that does not give you the right to tell those legitimately asking for appointments for their areas or questioning marginalization to go fall down a mountain unknown in this planet( Kufena Mountain).
5. The media also reported you say that “it was what you voted for that you got, because we are aware that there are people who did not vote for us, in fact, they worked against us. But now they claim to be APC members and loyal to the party.
We know such people. And so there is no way they would expect anything from us”. By this, you mean voting and working for APC guided your appointments. On this, once more, you have the legal right to be so guided. But if the same yardstick was used by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003, would you have been appointed a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?
In the second mandate given to Chief Obasanjo (2003-2007) your polling unit, ward and zone did not vote for PDP, yet you were appointed. Don’t you think you have a moral burden to make appointments (guided on competent)irrespective of whether people and their communities voted for APC on 28th March and 11th April, 2015?
Your stance is already sprinkling fear in many communities that went for parties of their choice in the polls that brought you and your party (APC) to power.
6. Lest you forget, we are in a democracy not facism or nazism where leaders cannot be wrong but always right or above reproach. Even in quasi democratic climes in South and North Americas with populists leaders like Ivo Morales, Delma Rusell, Daniel Ortega, Nicolas Maduro you hardly hear them using harsh languages on their compradorial and Western backed opponents in the manner you used, let alone in a democracy like ours. Do not also forget that political conscientiousness is almost hitting the roof, hence the height in people’s vigilance on action and inactions of leaders. Reactions that followed your venomous matching order to Kufena Mountain, tell it all.
7. You must be a poor student of history because sometimes ago Edo State Governor slipped down the gutter and he got the heat.
Despite his “stubbornness”, he had to, at the end, eat the humble pie and locate the house of the widow he told to go-and-die and rendered a widely publicized apology to her. Recently, the entourage of Governor of Nassarawa State crushed the car of a poor lady, instead of coming out and sort things out respectfully, he charged and raged and told her to do her worse.
She took him to court and his reputation suffered. Are these incidents not enough examples to guide your utterances and conducts?
8. Your comment, in focus, constitutes a danger to the growth of our toddling democracy and a titanic shame to most of us (natives of Kaduna State). For myself and on behalf of millions of democracy and fundamental rights advocates, I hereby call for an unreserved apology to the good people of Kaduna State and Nigeria at large.
John Danfulani, Ph.D