Dear Governor El-Rufai, By Bitrus Jock Adua
Please accept my late congratulatory message to your emergence as the new Governor of the North-central state of Kaduna. We played our part as democrats and the majority votes have declared you as the winner of the last election.
I must say, without mincing words that so much is expected from your government in view of your many promises of key-ing into the CHANGE agenda prior to the elections. I learnt of your great impact and prowess from the time of former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo down to the period of the Late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. I equally read of your good works while as FCT Minister, although it came along with its own issues. Whichever way, I do believe you will deliver Kaduna state from the dark times we have witnessed and continue to witness.
I am an aborigine of Kaduna state by birth and by right and as such, I have taken time to study the political phase of Kaduna state and Nigeria in general. Through my course of study, observation and learning the political life of my dear state, I have come to realize that over time, politics has been played by tossing citizens to the winds of deceit and later abandoning them to the fate of ill-government. This and many more are the reasons why I write this open letter. As an indigene of the state, I have a responsibility to point out the erring paths treaded by past governments and suggest ways you can avoid them.
Sir, you would quite agree with me that you rode in on the wings of promises to find yourself in the Sir Kashim Ibrahim government house of Kaduna state as the head. These promises are what patient citizens like me are waiting to see come into reality. Believe me sir, your agenda as the new governor of the North central state is quite huge and laudable; it’s keeping some of us anxiously waiting for that ‘promised change’. In other words, we are living on the hopes of those promises, our fates are hanging up the cliff of your vision for a greater Kaduna, in which I believe, that a man of integrity like you would surely keep to them.
I am happy you started your government on good notes like reducing the number of commissions to thirteen, abolition of state/local government joint account. The primary and secondary school reforms you have embarked on like the free tuition, free lunch and rehabilitation of some of the dilapidated schools. I must quite commend your efforts on that sir.
However, I would humbly love to remind you that Kaduna state is religiously pluralistic and multi-ethnic, it would be worthy if you could kindly put this into consideration as you run your government. The state of Kaduna is not made up of just the Hausas and just one religious group as most people living offshore Northern Nigeria think it is. And that is why we have a portion of the state which is Southern Kaduna, occupied by various tribes, like: The jaba, Ikulu, Kataf, Marwa, Gbagyi and several others.
I am from that part of Kaduna and I have watched government run sixteen years through with no major consideration of that part of the state. Talk about political appointments, it is always in favor of one religious group against the other of people from southern Kaduna. What about employment opportunities in government parasatatals? They are always visited with greater sentiments and bigotry.
For sixteen years and still counting, we have endured political indifference. We have watched raw sentiment played in power sharing and several other times, we are even victimized upon our own rights. I have watched politics played in other parts of Nigeria, in the south-west most especially, they seem not to harbor this same religious bigotry but one is left to wonder why this is a major factor in Northern Nigeria.
The southern part of Kaduna has been left in isolation and in the shadows of underdevelopment. Our only ‘supposed savior’, Late Yakowa of blessed memory whom was beginning to bring the region into consideration by carrying out mega projects that were not just beneficial to the people in that region but the whole Kaduna ended up not achieving it, he passed on with his plans for a greater Kaduna and ever since then, things have swapped back to its usual form. Most of the projects he started in the region have long been abandoned by the then government who took over, and up till date most of them are still lying fallow. At the beginning of Late Yakowa’s projects, it was a huge relief for the people living in the suburb of Kaduna state, but after his demise, their joys and dreams of getting to have better road network system was turned into nightmares. Unfinished road projects were abandoned leaving residents to the mercy of environmental hazards both in dry and rainy seasons. Some of the affected areas include the Catholic road- Narayi, Angwan Maigero, Angwan Sunday, Romi-Karatudu road, Gonin Gora e.t.c .Those developmental projects have continued to be a dream with a bleak hope of becoming a reality. I personally believe you would look into this, according to your proposed plans.
Also Sir, it is no more news that Kaduna state has lost its ranking and stand among other states majorly because of the religious crisis that has countless times rocked our boats. We have battled insurgency caused by religious intolerance and ethnic clashes. Since it started, countless lives had been wasted, and houses destroyed, hospitals and churches burnt down to nothingness. The one time peaceful and communal state that attracted people from various regions in Nigeria, has become like the lion’s den that everyone is fleeing or planning to flee away from.
In light of these, it would be important to focus on building up a better Kaduna where religious intolerance would be nothing but history; it would do us and your government good if you can focus on running an equal effective leadership throughout the regions. History should draw our minds back to 1987 at the college of Education Kafanchan, where the first religious crisis was stirred due to indifference and lack of tolerance. Ever since then, Kaduna has been suffering this menace. We have seen too much that even good dreams have turned to nightmares .The idea of giving more attention to a particular group in neglect of the other group is highly detrimental to our survival as a state. Now is not the time to play favoritism or segregation, rather, it is the time to create a unified society amongst people of different beliefs.
Recently, you released the list of your appointed commissioners and according to my research, out of the thirteen appointed commissioners, we only had four slots allocated to Christians from southern Kaduna and the remaining is given to the other religious group. I am not trying to bring up religious issues now, but I am trying to point out the fact that the southern Kaduna is a larger community comprising of more tribes and as such, I think it would be right if we could play an equal political appointments between the two religious groups.
We are part of Kaduna and yes, we are Kaduna and as people who pay taxes and perform other civic duties, we reserve the right to get more than we are offered in government. Remember once again that Kaduna state does not just belong to the Hausas or our Islamic brothers, it belongs to all of us collectively and I think an equal power sharing is pertinent.
More so, I also read recently on the news that you appointed a non-indigene to head Chikun local government area of Kaduna state owned by the Gbagyi tribe. The youths and indigenes protested, but the police as usual obstructed their actions. This is quite uncalled for, are there not competent indigenes who could handle their own people rather than bringing in a total stranger to head them? These people reserve the right to rule themselves and not a stranger from elsewhere who knows little or nothing about how they fare. Has politics gone this bad? I don’t see this step taken as a way of promoting or restoring peace and it is in negation to some of the promises your government made prior to the election.
Some recent attacks on Christian regions of the southern Kaduna have been visited with laxity from past governments and up till today, we are still experiencing such decadence. The governments are not ready to save us from our plights, the lives of our innocent brothers and sisters are been wasted incessantly and amidst all these, I see no government coming up to help beef up the security in that region. I humbly will like to plead with you, if you could bring this into consideration. The southern part is equally as important as the other parts of the state and as such, it will be pleasing if they are treated as one state. We need a government who would support us in putting an end to the several genocides that have over time been carried out in our region. We are not living in hell for God’s sake; we are living in a state headed by a government. Save us and save Kaduna state.
Mr. Governor Sir, I have watched with keen interest on how you started running your government and to be factual, you started well but along the line, a little fringe of regrets seems to be visiting your political escapade lately. The generality of Kaduna residents have infact been in discontent over the recent manner of running your government. But just before I round up this piece, I will also love to humbly remind you that as the Governor of Kaduna state, it will only be right if you focus more energy on making a better legacy than meddling with national affairs that are of less or no importance at all. It is not time to start throwing tantrums and discredit at past governments neither is it time to start meddling in national governments affairs that are of less concern to you. You have a huge task of liberating Kaduna before you and we are counting on you.
In a nutshell, Your Excellency, This is not an intended backlash on your government but a call to order on some erring decisions that has grossly affected and still affecting we the people of Southern Kaduna. Government I believe should be of law rather than of men. This is a clarion call from the southern part of the state. Meanwhile, we will keep hoping you consider our plights and make adjustments.
Thank you sir!
Bitrus Jock Adua