APC Plots El-rufai’s Fall

Why Southern Kaduna is angry

There’s no cause for alarm- Gov’s camp

By Ismail Omipidan

governor, Mallam Nasir Ahmed el-Rufai, is no doubt facing what could
pass for a political battle of his life. And the outcome would make or
mar him politically.

Already, following the long memo he wrote to
President Muhammadu Buhari, in September 2016, details of which was
leaked to the media last month, there are moves by some All Progressives
Congress, APC, chieftains, to block him from seeking a second term, and
to also frustrate any effort that may see him replacing Buhari, as the
party’s presidential candidate, should Buhari decide not to run in 2019.

persons, Saturday Sun further learnt, have been penciled down as
possible replacement for El-Rufai, ahead of the Kaduna governorship
contest. They are: current Senator, representing Kaduna North, Suleiman
Hunkuyi and former House of Representatives member, Hon. Isa Ashiru. But
for Buhari, it would have been difficult for El-Rufai to defeat Ashiru
at the APC’s primary in the run up to the 2015 polls.

Ashiru is a
member of the APC-Akida, while Hunkuyi, from his public appearance is
not. But like all members of the APC-Akida, Hunkuyi too, Saturday Sun
can reveal, is not pleased with the way El-Rufai is running the party
and the affairs of the state.

Although, Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi,
representing Kaduna North, who incidentally provided the structures
that saw El-Rufai defeating Isa Ashiru, at the APC primary election in
the build up to the 2015 elections, seems to be appearing in public with
el-Rufai, Saturday Sun can reveal that at the appropriate time,
Hunkuyi, would confront el-Rufai frontally for the governorship contest.
If that happens, it would no doubt further deplete the support base of
the governor.

Long before el-Rufai’s memo was leaked, he has been
having a running battle with the APC faction in the state, known as APC
Akida. Once the issue of the memo became public knowledge, the APC
Akida came out publicly to upbraid el-Rufai, declaring that everything
the governor accused Buhari of, he too was guilty of them.

a press conference last Sunday in Kaduna, Chairman, APC-Akida,
Mataimaki Tom Maiyashi, said unless all aggrieved members are brought
under one roof, the party was doomed in the state, adding that the
governor was not the right person to write a memo to the President
because, “It was a case of a pot calling the kettle black”.

further said that the Kaduna governor lacks the moral standing to raise
the issues he raised in the memo as his approach to governance was not
different from the observations he made in his memo to President Buhari.

el-Rufai’s lopsided cabinet

is made up of 23 Councils. The state for political convenience is
further divided into three Senatorial Districts: Kaduna North, Kaduna
South and Kaduna Central. But while Kaduna South Senatorial District,
which is predominantly Christians, has eight Councils, the remaining two
Senatorial Districts, which are predominantly Muslims, have 15
Councils. But there are also about two Councils, within the Kaduna
Central that are also predominantly Christians.

Although in the
Southern Senatorial District, there are pockets of Muslims who are
indigenous to the state, there are also substantial number of
non-natives, who are equally Muslims, same, goes for the two other
Senatorial Districts.

But while it is easier for Muslims to claim
to have come from either the North or Central District of the state for
the purpose of political benefits and patronage, it is always difficult
for a Christian to claim either of the two Senatorial Districts, just
as the Christians would also resist any attempt to allow a Muslim
nominee to represent Kaduna South Senatorial District for the purpose of
political patronage.

For instance, when Senator Nenadi Usman
first signified her intention to run for the Senate, to represent Kaduna
South Senatorial District, the mere fact that her husband is a Muslim,
was used as campaign tool against her. Though a Christian, the people of
the area believed that she was not likely to stand up and be counted
when the need arises.

What however helped Nenadi’s election in
2011, was that the then serving Senator, who later defected to the
Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, had alienated himself from the people.
Ironically, this was the same man the people had queued behind in 2007
against a more formidable Hassan Hyet, the then SSG, heavily backed by
the then government.

However, for the Muslims in the state, it is
always easy for them to navigate between North and Central Senatorial
Districts of the state, for political gains.

Before Patrick
Yakowa became governor in 2010, from 1999, there was a deliberate act of
political balancing, whereby the SSG and Deputy Governor, will always
come from Southern Kaduna. But when Yakowa, from Southern Kaduna became
governor, he retained the SSG, from his area. He was however quick to
correct it, after he won the election in 2011, by bringing on board
Abdullahi Samaila Lawal Yakawada, a Muslim, the first Muslim to be so
appointed since 1999, as SSG.

But following his death, Ramalan
Yero, Yakowa’s deputy, who became governor, removed Yakawada, and
brought in another Muslim, from the Zaria axis, as SSG, thus altering
the political balancing act of the state, again.

el-Rufai’s case
appears worse. Saturday Sun’s investigations revealed that he not only
altered the political balancing act; he has continued to carry on, as if
the Southern Kaduna area does not matter in his future political

For instance, while el-Rufai, from Zaria, is the
governor, the SSG, Chief of Staff and the Head of Service are not only
Muslims, but are all from Zaria. Also, out of 15 commissioners, only
five are Christians from Southern Kaduna, the remaining 10 are all
Muslims from either the Central or the Northern Senatorial districts.
Again, in a minor cabinet reshuffle, el-Rufai removed a Veterinary
Doctor, Manzo Daniel Maigairi, as Commissioner for Agric and Forestry
and replaced him with Professor Kabiru Mato, a Political Scientist, a
Muslim, from the Northern Senatorial district. Maigari, a Christian,
from Southern Kaduna, is now Commissioner for Trade and Commerce.

since coming on board of el-Rufai as governor, he has sent not less
than five Southern Kaduna youths, including a traditional ruler to
prison. “With all these, how do you expect the Southern Kaduna people
not to scream? And the governor’s arrogant silence and arrogant
explanations do not also help matters, most of the time,” a former
government official, who is a Muslim, from the Central Senatorial
district of the state, told Saturday Sun.

The Kaduna APC memo

the APC faction’s reaction to el-Rufai’s memo, the chairman, APC caucus
in the state, Alhaji Ahmed Tijjani Ramalan , who had all along been on
the side of el-Rufai, also fired a memo to the governor, once his memo
to Buhari, became public knowledge.

In the memo, titled “OPEN
STATE AND GOVERNANCE,” the APC caucus chairman said “The party is docile
in its statutory duties and activities as a political party. No Excos,
and Stakeholders’ Meetings from the Ward to State Levels.

Stakeholders and members are feeling used and dumped and lack of
consultations in decision making processes as it affects the party at
the Local, State and National Levels.”

The party also complained
of the governor’s long standing ally, Jimi Lawal, insisting that Lawal
was not known to the APC in Kaduna state, as he was reaping from where
he did not sow.

el-Rufai fires back

Efforts by
Saturday Sun to get el-Rufai’s reaction, proved abortive, as two weeks
after making contacts, and sending two mails to one of his media aides,
he was yet to get back. However, one of the governor’s confidants spoke
to Saturday Sun in confidence, just as el-Rufai, tried to address some
of the issues in an interview he granted one of the northern-based
Newspapers last week.

According to one of the close confidants of
the governor, who spoke to Saturday Sun in confidence, “El-Rufai could
not have leaked the memo to the President, because he handed over the
memo to him, hand-to-hand. Those within the corridors of power, who are
not happy with Kyari and Babachir Lawal, may have leaked the memo”, the
governor’s confidant, declared.

On his part, el-Rufai, took the
chairman of the party’s caucus to the cleaners, saying “I will talk
about Jimmy Lawal. Those that said he did not contribute to our election
are totally ignorant. He was a member of the CPC from 2010. He was in
the presidential campaign council of President Buhari in the 2011
elections. After we lost the election and started the process of merger,
he was in the renewal committee. He was a member of the APC Merger
Committee under the chairmanship of Tom Ikimi, representing the CPC.

people who are making that claim are those from the PDP who joined the
party after we had struggled and formed it. They don’t know the history.
One of them is Tijjani Ramalan, who wrote and I responded to say: “When
Jimmy was working for the CPC and was in the APC merger committee, you
were in another party. That’s why you don’t know. The fact that you
don’t know doesn’t mean you are right. If you don’t know you should ask.

are people who were not part of our campaign; they were not even
members of our party, but we made them commissioners. We were looking
for people like Dr. Ya’u Usman, who has a PhD in Physics and was a
director in the Federal Civil Service. We were looking for somebody with
those kinds of skills to be appointed as commissioner for environment. I
did not see him until the day I swore him in as commissioner. We just
looked at his curriculum vitae and appointed him. Government has to have
a mix of that.

“What I observed in the Federal Government was
that people who were in the PDP were brought in and given positions of
responsibility that should have gone to longtime APC members with
similar or even better skills. But those that were saddled with the task
of recommending those to be appointed did not even know the history of
the APC. These mistakes were made. This is what I wanted us to avoid
because many longtime party members are complaining. If anybody says
this is happening in Kaduna, I will say that it is just sour grapes. I
picked people I knew could deliver”.


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