Maybe he should have read Zaria’s history to understand that state power doesn’t muscle people who value their respect and dignity more than money. He waould have known that the Zazzau kingmakers are bolstered by strong religious values, which makes them fear no man. In fact, they like situations like this to test-run the strength of their faith by resisting tyranny.
Nothing is sweeter and addictive than power, the unlucky soul this demon possesses, if he is not sacrificed on its altar will sacrifice others himself to get it.” ― Bangambiki Habyarimana
Governor El-Rufai’s consistency in abusing the rule of law is getting disturbing. He does not seem keen to learn from history. For someone who was barred from making a presentation at the recent Nigerian Bar Association annual conference on the basis of disregard for court orders, he may have also forgotten that he is probably the only public officer in recent times to have been barred from holding public office by the National Assembly, on the basis of the abuse of power and also his mentioned inclination for disregarding court orders.
Surprisingly, he is still currently abusing his powers by refusing to utilise an existing law for the appointment of chiefs and emirs in Kaduna State. He started with an insult of citizens’ intelligence by tweeting about reading some colonial historical texts in five days. He has not read such books for ensuring security in Birnin-Gwari, along the Abuja-Kaduna expressway, and of course in southern Kaduna, where tens of people have lost their lives. He has not tweeted about books on how to ensure peaceful co-existence between people of different religions and backgrounds. Of course, he has not posted anything on Twitter about books on economics that pertain to the improvement of the living standards of the people he is governing. However, when it comes to divisive issues, he wants to rely on books that are filled with stories of slavery, blood-letting, domination, imposition and treachery. Learning from history is good, but learning from bad history could be counter-productive.
So far, he seems to have read four books in five days, without finding much insight there. He has hopped to Abuja and back, with no solution. He has been moving the Zazzau kingmakers back and forth with no end in sight. What he has succeeded in is to unite warring families because of his desire not to follow a simple process.
Dozens of governors have used the Appointment and Deposition Law since 1930. Even military dictators used the same law to appoint emirs and chiefs in Kaduna State. Surprisingly, a democratically elected governor is finding it difficult to use the same law almost two weeks after the sad demise of the last emir of Zazzau.
From several reports, it is obvious he thinks he is running a local government election, where the use of state power is usually deployed to determine outcomes. Maybe he should have read Zaria’s history to understand that state power doesn’t muscle people who value their respect and dignity more than money. He would have known that the Zazzau kingmakers are bolstered by strong religious values, which makes them fear no man. In fact, they like situations like this to test-run the strength of their faith by resisting tyranny. They are also preservers of a cultural heritage that has been nursed for generations. From the books he is reading, I am sure he has seen areas where emirs would rather die, than be subjugated by colonial powers. Most of all, he should have known that history can be very unkind to those who sought to defile sacred processes.
For context, on the third-day prayers for the late emir, on September 23, the governor publicly asked the kingmakers of Zazzau Emirate to select candidates to be considered for appointment as emir, one of who he would then choose. His words were clear, and that is what the law states.
The following day, he posted on social media that he was now reading a book to help with his decision-making. The post raised so many suspicions, including the intention to craftily wriggle out of defined law. He then went on to make allegations of fake news from a reputable news outlet, when the result of the kingmakers’ selection was leaked. However, after a few hours, a special adviser for him claimed otherwise.
Governor El-Rufai’s relationship with his rumoured candidate has made him lose the big picture of leadership. He feels this candidate is the only person he can work with, which makes him try to break the law at all cost… His seeming lack of objectivity is making him lose the opportunity to work with people based on their competence.
The governor later informed the public about yet other books he is reading to help him come to a decision. However, throughout this, he never mentioned anything about the Chiefs (Appointment and Deposition) Law, which governs the decision-making process in Kaduna State.
Subsequently, Governor El-Rufai said that the kingmakers’ selection process had been cancelled because two applicants were not considered their proceedeings, despite submitting applications. However, the kingmakers were not notified about the cancellation of the first election.
The main question to ask is: Why is El-Rufai doing this? The obvious answer is: It appears unclear, even if one can make some deductions from the evidence of the last twelve days.
First, in second-day prayer speech, September 22, at the emir’s palace, he claimed to have been under much stress to the extent of needing sleeping pills to rest. I am not a doctor, but lessons have shown that stress can affect one’s ability to make good judgements.
Secondly, Governor El-Rufai’s relationship with his rumoured candidate has made him lose the big picture of leadership. He feels this candidate is the only person he can work with, which makes him try to break the law at all cost. As a politician, public servant and graduate of many Universities, El-Rufai should know that he has to work with people he likes and even those he does not like. These are skills that are being taught in schools and applied in the real world, which is even more evident in Nigeria. His seeming lack of objectivity is making him lose the opportunity to work with people based on their competence.
Thirdly, the governor’s last tweet on the matter of the selection mentioned that the first election had been cancelled but still his administration did not officially notify the kingmakers about this. It is reported that the kingmakers did not vote for the second time but only filled out new forms using different criteria. This means the first election result stands.
To conclude, appointing an unelected emir will become gross misconduct, the abuse of power, and will lead to a series of court cases. Taking such a position can also lead to impeachment by the State Assembly. The governor should listen to advise if he wants to save his sanity and his career. Otherwise, he clearly does not care about ruining one of the institutions that signify our African heritage.
Muhammad Danasabe wrote from Zaria.