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In Kaduna, more knocks for El-rufai on Godfatherism claims

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Kaduna State governor Nasir El-Rufai PHOTO: TWITTER/GOVERNOR KADUNA

It’S no longer news that Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai courts the attention his controversial statements attract to his person.

He actually goes out his way to attract lizards to his house by fetching firewood infested with ants. He loves it. But his recent advisory to the people of Lagos on how to end godfatherism is one where he overreached himself because the facts do not add up. 

El-Rufai and how he became governor
There are strong indications and evidence that el Rufai has been a beneficiary of the whims and caprices of godfathers long before he became a governor. Powerful individuals played the role of godfathers to aid his rise to fame and fortune.

His ‘accidental’ foray into public service at the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) and at the Federal Capital Territory administration were influenced and facilitated by godfathers.

In 2015, he contested the APC governorship primary with the present gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Isa Ashiru Kudan, a strong grassroots politician who enjoyed massive support of party stalwarts, the likes of Yero Makama, Hakeem Baba Ahmed, Tom Maiyashi, Tijani Ramalan Yero, Amb.

Sule Buba, who are strong members of the party. Eventually, what gave el-Rufai an edge was the singular act of General Muhammadu Buhari’s endorsement as the state’s APC gubernatorial candidate. Buhari contested for Presidency as of then, thus making it easy for el Rufai to benefit massively from the APC bandwagon. 

To add to the partiality el Rufai enjoyed, when Isa Ashiru and others ran their campaigns for their primary, Buhari did not attended their campaigns, but when el-Rufai flagged off his campaign, Buhari attended and raised his hand as his preferred candidate and that was what changed the game.
 
Information gathered by The Guardian has it that apart from Buhari raising el-Rufai’s hand, Buhari made personal calls and even invitation to some party stakeholders where he personally intervened to canvass support for el-Rufai. 

If that is not benefiting from godfatherism, only the Kaduna helmsman knows what it is.

To debunk his claims, the President of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, (AYCF) Yerima Shetima said Governor el-Rufai is not in any position to teach Lagosians how to end godfatherism because he has not ended “anything” in Kaduna. 

In a chat with The Guardian, Shetima said the governor has not retired any godfather in Kaduna as far as politics is concerned, but he only succeeded in benefiting from President Buhari’s change mantra. 

Shettima, who argued that it was President Buhari’s goodwill that made el-Rufai became Kaduna governor, said the governor’s statement in Lagos was stage-managed, for him to say something and make news out of it, especially as him (el-Rufai) and Tinubu both nurse the ambition to become president in 2023.

According to Shetima: “There was a miracle that came with the force of the change mantra at the time of the 2015 election, where so many of them were just behind Buhari yearning for change, otherwise he (el-Rufai) wouldn’t have got the chance of becoming the governor.

“With that change mantra, which swept the north, it was too easy for any anyone to have become governor, as long as Buhari raised his/her hand and ask voters to do same. And that is why a lot of them who came in today through that goodwill could not perform.”

He added: “Unfortunately, el-Rufai I can’t remember el Rufai specifically mentioning any names of the godfathers he retired in Kaduna. Had he mentioned names, it would have been so easy for us to conclude where he was headed.

“So, he has nothing to celebrate, he is also a beneficiary of godfatherism. If Buhari isn’t his godfather, he wouldn’t have won election in Kaduna State.

If the former Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomole comes out and say he had ended godfatherism, that will be believable, it was clear. He came as opposition and won election against an incumbent and he made the late Tony Anenih to become more redundant in the state, but not el-Rufai. 

“El rufai is more or less like a tyrant. To an extent, we can call Tinubu a godfather, because we have seen how he groomed younger people, and produced governors, senator.

The likes of Tinubu produced Fashola of today, Aregbesola, Fayemi, Akerodolu, among others. But what has el-Rufai done to be regarded as a godfather, nothing. The lesson here is just that godfatherism should not be encouraged,” Shettima admitted.

Similarly, the publicity secretary of Coalition of Nigerian Political Parties (CUPP) Mallam Salisu Shuaib Dawaki said Governor el-Rufai is only jealous of Tinubu succeeding in Lagos and other parts Yoruba land.

He said el-Rufai has not retired any godfather or politician in Kaduna from politics, but he only used tricks against those who helped him to become governor.  

Dawaki said governor el-Rufai “wants to be like Tinubu and his consultants told him he has to checkmate a godfather before he become one. The truth is that, you cannot be anything in life if you did not invest in people and help them become someone. Tinubu brought a lot of people to limelight across Nigeria, and el-Rufai did not.

“Somebody like Tinubu, before he became what he is today, he has being carrying everyone along. El-Rufai’s government is family and friends government. You cannot build empire when you are greedy and selfish like el-Rufai. He has no respect for anybody. 

“Even for him to be the Kaduna State governor, he hid under Buhari. If not for Buhari, el-Rufai cannot even contest a local government chairmanship in Kaduna State and win. We know he doesn’t have the capacity. 

“El-Rufai is not a godfather but a dictator. Look at how he brought Muslim-Muslim ticket; we have never seen this kind of thing. Tinubu is far better than el-Rufai, we rather stand by Tinubu than to support el-Rufai, because he has nothing to offer.”

Also, Yoruba Council of Youths Worldwide and APC Lagos also came defending Senator Tinubu, saying anyone who wanted to achieve his status in Nigerian politics must work hard and do less talking.

However, seeing the attacks generated from the Tinubu camp, the All Progressives Congress in Kaduna State attempted to defend the Governor, saying he was only giving advice for the betterment of Nigeria.

Kaduna APC said in a statement by its Assistant Publicity Secretary, Salisu Tanko Wusono that it was worrisome that a state like Lagos, which boasts of over six million registered voters would record a voter turnout of about one million.

The party said they are of the opinion that what el-Rufai did was to give clarion advice that all hands should be on deck to ensure that every registered voter in Nigeria is encouraged to come out to vote on election days and the Governor did not insult the APC leader, Bola Tinubu, or any other person as was being insinuated in the media.
Crowning of a godfather

Despite loosing just a seat to the PDP Kaduna South senatorial zone, Governor el-Rufai actually succeeded in ensuring that 70 per cent of his candidates for the House of Representatives and the Kaduna House of Assembly secured their tickets and won in the 2019 general elections.

From that calculation, el-Rufai who became governor by riding the back of Buhari has automatically become a godfather for APC candidates in the state, as he foxily outwitted the likes of Senators Suleiman Hunkuyi and Shehu Sani, drove them out of the party and finally out of the Senate, replacing them with his handpicked candidates. 

The Governor, having realised that both lawmakers will work against his re-election in 2019, he replaced the duo with his political aide, Dr. Uba Sani representing the Central Zone and his Finance commissioner, Suleiman Abdu Kwari, representing the North zone, and both eventually won their senatorial seats. 

Prior to the 2019 general elections, an aggrieved faction of APC, Concerned Group, had accused the state party chairman, Emmanuel Jekada and the Governor of bias for imposing Uba Sani on the party.

Coordinator of the group, Hassan Saleh Jirgi also accused the Governor of depriving other aspirants other (apart from Uba Sani) from seeing delegates and party Excos.

Jirgi said el-Rufai, during campaigns for primaries went about promoting Uba Sani:
There were four other contestants who also needed the party’s nomination, but they were not given a level-playing field to contest.

To ensure smooth sail, el-Rufai ahead had ensured every obstacle down was brought to its knees, by putting his stooges in the party executive. With that, he had no challenge whatsoever, for the senatorial and governorship.  

The only person who could have posed some challenge, Jalal Falal boycotted the primary, following the dubious adoption of Indirect Primaries as mode of selection of candidates by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kaduna State.

Among those who fell victim to el-Rufai’s plot in the battle of supremacy were Hakeem Baba Ahmed, Tijani Ramlan Yero, Suleiman Hunkuyi, who eventually left APC for another party. 

That is what analysts refer to as the making of a new tin god of Kaduna politics, which perhaps, el-Rufai misrepresents as the unhorsing of godfathers. He has eliminated and substituted politicians who had been on ground long before he accidentally happened on the stage.


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