Southern Kaduna Voices

Uba Sani Don’t Repeat Yesterday

Not a few political analysts have described the election of Senator Uba Sani as governor of Kaduna State on May 29 as a clear indication that the immediate past governor, Mallam Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai unleashed a bloody nose on his political foes. The outcome of the hotly contested governorship poll is still a hot subject of legal fireworks, but the fact still remains that Sani still remain the governor of the state until the tribunal declares otherwise.

There’s no doubt that the former senator is seen as el-Rufai’s main man. Apart from being a close ally of his predecessor, some observers see him as wearing the skin and mind of his former boss. Signs that he may be different showed up nearly in the day when he appeared uncomfortably sitted during the meeting with some selected Muslim clerics summoned by el-Rufai on the eve of his exit as governor.

While el-Rufai attempted to swallow his vomit that was then causing dismay, he engaged in double speak during the birthday anniversary of the Muslim Right Congress (MURIC), Professor Ishaq Akintola. That video that was leaked to the public remains illuminates the dynamics that informed the action of the APC  in the el-Rufai years in terms of inequitable provision of infrastructure and political appointments, among other dividends of democracy.

We now know that it was not accidental that the man who describes himself as ‘Accidental Public Servant’ embarked on appointing more persons from his faith. In doing so, he created animosity and widened the gulf of mutual suspicion among adherents of the two religions. Sadly, the imposition of crippling hypocrisy in pursuing personal political goals under the banner of religion left helpless citizens unhelped against the pangs of hunger and insecurity.

The former governor had earlier set the stage for the enthronement of divisive leadership when he unguardedly declared that the Christian population was 30 percent, while Muslims were 70 percent. In a state that has witnessed recurring bloodshed   in the name of religion, el-Rufai’s Kafanchan Declaration would set the tune for future engagement with voters from the Southern part of the State. Despite getting nearly 40 percent of the votes in the 2015 governorship poll from South, el-Rufai, who vowed to ensure justice to all groups, reneged on his vow.

Top officials of the government from the South were of no help in changing the narrative that was being used to sharply pitch the predominantly North against the majorly Christian South. The narrative that Christians hate Muslims became a singsong, leading to the shoving aside of the then Deputy Governor, Arch Barnabas Bala, to give room to a Muslim candidate from the South in the person of Dr Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe. The reason, according to the then governor, was that even if he had chosen the Pope as his running mate, Southern Kaduna wouldn’t vote for him.

The reality on ground was that fear had gripped the el-Rufai camp when viewed against the backdrop of deliberate falsehood aimed at inciting religious division.  Even the late Bantex, who knew the fact, could not oppose the move. He barely survived being thrown out of the corridor of power and, so, took the option of contesting the senatorial election as a soft landing position. He needed no seer to tell him his senatorial election was Dead On Arrival (DOA).

During the 2019 polls, Southern Kaduna was determined to teach el-Rufai a lesson he won’t hurriedly forget. With the Muslim-Muslim ticket adopted by the APC, the governorship poll was taken as a supremacy fight between Islam and Christianity. Whether el-Rufai won the poll fairly became controversial, even after the legal fireworks that saw the courts declaring the APC candidate as the winner of the election.

With the appointments so far made by Sani, it is incontrovertible that he is headed towards repeating the deliberate subjugation of the Southern Kaduna people as was done by his predecessor. So far, only less than 20 percent of the appointments have been given to Southern Kaduna. Put together all the newly appointees from Southern Kaduna, both Christians and Muslims, it is a dismal cry from what the South got during the el-Rufai period.

In the 2023 Kaduna State Governorship election, Sani polled about 150,000 votes from Kaduna South Zone 3, comprising eight local government areas. Even with this fact, is it not expected for the governor to try to amend the injustice of the past as perpetrated by the former governor? It is a fair deal that Muslims from Southern Kaduna were appointed by the governor. Why did Sani not do the same in the Northern part? If it was fair, taking into recognition the religious mix of the Kaduna South Zone 3, was it not fair to also reflect the same in the other two zones?

From the zonal distribution of commissioners, it was commendable that a Muslim from Kachia was appointed. Was it also not fair to appoint at least two Christians from the other two zoes? There are Christian populations in Makarfi, Kudan, Giwa and Birnin Gwari LGAs. The non-appointment of at least two Christians from Zone 1 and 2 attests to the validity of what el-Rufai said in that video clip that has gained global traction.

We can’t have two sets of rules in dealing with different groups. If it was fair for the governor to appoint Muslims from Southern Kaduna, I see no reason why he refused to appoint Christians from the other zones in order to convince the sorely divided state citizens that he is committed to equity and fairness for all. That he failed in that direction sends a troubling signal that he is turning out  the same difference, if not worse, with el-Rufai.

No doubt, Sani has inherited structures and appointments that were basically unjust and reflected the true essence of what the APC was established for: subjugate non-Muslims and dominate them. The governor has not done anything to disabuse the minds of people who have seen through the plot from the quantity surveyor from Zaria who has opened the bag and let the cat out.

It is shocking that  the top 10 management of the Kaduna State University (KASU), are of the same faith. Those privy to the appointment of the new vice chancellor said the best candidate for the job was not considered on account of his faith. As it stands, all Heads of State Tertiary schools are all Muslims. To be a Christian in Kaduna is becoming an anathema of a sort, and a great minus in career development. A Christian of commendable competence from the South was denied appointment as the State Head of Service, while a Muslim from the same zone was appointed on contract basis. I refuse to accept the usual reasons on grounds of dearth of competence.

I also disagree with the claim that Southern Kaduna people in the APC have not contributed much in supporting the party in Kaduna State. It is pure falsehood from the pit of hell. Everyone knows what the former Chief of Naval Staff, the late Ibrahim Ikko did in the formative years of the APC in both the State and the country. Another APC member, Dr. Shekarau, now late, who was an APC member from Southern Kaduna, was carefree in financial support for the party in the State. What about Air Cdre. Emmanuel Jekada (retd) whose profile as Kaduna State APC Chairman has made the party gain grounds? What about other foundational members like Mrs Charity Shekari, Dr Manzo Daniel Maigari, among other faithful and supporting members of the APC? All the above mentioned APC politicians have been foundation members who have continued to serve the party even in the face of their outright relegation of their relevance.

For there to be justice in Kaduna State, the inglorious era of the past that was characterised by orchestrated efforts at appointing persons to political offices based on their faith must cease forthwith. The present situation, where out of 14 commissioners, only three are non-Muslims, justifies the fears by Christians over the assertion by el-Rufai as contained in that awful video clip. I find the current imbroglio over the ministerial nominee to replace el-Rufai as very needless. To show that he is different from his predecessor, Governor Sani should just pick a ministerial nominee from Kaduna South Zone 3 to reflect the ethno-religious balancing that has always been the practice before el-Rufai stopped it. That is the only way to show he won’t be worse than el-Rufai.


By Simon Reef