1. You honoured the 2016 edition of Khituk Gwong at Fadan Kaduna, headquarters of Gwong Chiefdom in Jema’a Local Government Kaduna State on 5th March 2016. When it was your turn to give a goodwill message as the Chief Executive officer of the state, you read one page riot acts to people daring your one-man-show, and I-know-it-all style of leadership in Kaduna State. A perusal of the mini-skate-sized speech shows that, your opponents are trouble launchers. And they will hear from the law not you. No sir, I believe dissidents will hear from you (personally) not the law because it is becoming hard understanding the differences between the law and your whimsical and capricious intuitions.
2. Some lines in your riot act of 5th March 2016 observed, “We have noticed that there are groups and persons that have in the past made a living by promoting prejudice and specialising in incitement. They distort public discourse, corrupting every issue, policy or appointment as an outlet to vent religious, ethnic and sectional viewpoints”. There you go, again (apologies to Ronald Wilson Reagan). Your past activities as an opposition sharpshooter have denied you any moral strength to make such a resolve. When you re-tweeted on Jesus and Mary Magdalene, and tweeted that any person- military or not that kills a Fulani man took a repayable loan; are those social media updates not divisive and loaded with potentials of creating ethno-religious skirmishes in Nigeria? Was Nigeria a lawless Hobbesian State of Nature when you freely expressed yourself through those tweets? Or you think those leaders don’t know awesome executive powers bestowed on them? Again, or you think you were too big for the arm of the law then to close-on you?
3. Your riot act also piqued “What we cannot allow is the continuation of such blackmail, the expectation that if you make yourself sufficiently obnoxious and incendiary the government will use public funds to settle you”. This is a brazen cheap attempt to blackmail voices of dissents and those fighting many strange, elitist, and exploitative policies of your government. When you opposed the governments of Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Ebele Yar’Adua, were you blackmailing to be settled? Since when has criticism become a meal ticket and an avenue to get one’s share of the national cake? Can you provide empirical evidence(s) on how previous governments settled those opposing them? You are tacitly saying you were settled, right? Less you forget, President Obasanjo’s memoir told us much about your fraternity with lies.
4. You know, as well as we do, that people of Southern Kaduna expected to hear your defense on why APC government at the federal level refused to respect a long standing tradition of sharing political offices in the state. People cleaned their ear drums to hear a justification to why the minister representing Kaduna State is a daughter of the foster father of Governor El-Rufa’i. People were all ears to know why protests against the nominee of Niger State who was changed because he came from the same senatorial zone with Niger State Governor was accepted and that of Kaduna State which has a closer tie with Governor El-Rufa’i rejected. Better still, they expected you to justify why the goose and the gander shouldn’t share the same pot of sauce.
5. You know or chose not to know that people wanted to know why you sponsored an executive bill to Kaduna State House of Assembly aimed at censoring religious preaching and activities in the State. Their hopes were dashed when they couldn’t hear you justify why they shouldn’t obey words in the bible that said they should pray without ceasing. The people of Southern Kaduna expected to hear logic and syllogism of how everlasting accreditation made by Jesus Christ over two thousand years ago can’t stand in Kaduna State. Southern Kaduna people were ready to hear why they must pray at prayer times, a law that directly challenged a major order that they should pray without ceasing. They are predominantly Evangelical Christians whose believe in prayers and evangelism is strong like the rock of Gibraltar. You know this but deliberately or otherwise failed to clear these grey areas.
6. Southern Kaduna people hoped to hear lectures on features of a hate speech. And who is responsible for defining what a hate speech is in Kaduna State. They also thought they will hear your repentance on previous hate speeches you made while in opposition. They had much interest in knowing how that resolution and determination to fight millers of hate speech wouldn’t affect freedom of speech and other liberties guaranteed by our 1999 constitution and other global, regional and subregional protocols on people’s rights.
7. As students of political history, i have read and seen how democratically elected leaders crested on reasons of wanting to fight irredentism and nepotism and some other forms of divisive sentiments institutionalised civilian dictatorship. Presidents Yoweri Katuga Museveni of Uganda and Paul Kagame of Rwanda are paragons of leaders who used reasons of security and nepotism to unleashed dictatorship on opponents. Similarly, former President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and other North African leaders that the Arabs Spring swept aside used reasons of security and need to fight extremism to carry out acts of terror on oppositions. If you think that people don’t know where events are headed to, you must play the ostrich in a porous Sahara. All is akin to wetting the ground and fertilizing it in preparation to sowing the tree of dictatorship in Kaduna State.
8. Mr. Governor must know that nobody will ever be intimidated by any statement he made and action he promised to take in Khituk Gwong or in other occasions. Holding his government accountable, constant questioning his actions and inactions, and enjoying our freedom of expression are constitutional rights citizens like me don’t intend to forgo. Colonial masters and military juntas encountered defiances despite their brutalities, cruelties, and complete monopoly of instruments of coercion. Sequel to this, it is delusional for any democratically elected leader in a living democracy to think talking tough and grandstanding in a cultural day will intimidate crusaders of liberty and freedom of expression to submission. No doubt, the office of the Governor has executive powers that can impunitively and recklessly marshal state apparatus to harass opponents but that shall not make some of us develop cold feet in our quest to expand frontiers of liberty and freedom and sink deep pillars of democracy in our state and nation at large.
9. Now that you have read this bull-headed determination of a native of Kaduna State to live a free life, express himself always, worship Jesus Christ as directed by the Holy Bible-not be content of the proposed bill, the ball is in your court. Let those manning police cells and prison gates begin to unlock their gates. And let judges and court registrars buy ink in gallons and procure papers in trucks in preparation to pick long notes from your prosecutors and my lawyers.
10. You have assurances of my constant letters and defiance(s) to any policy that doesn’t tally with my spiritual beliefs as an old time religion believer, and globally accepted democratic ethos.
Dr. John Danfulani, Kaduna State