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Political Grandstanding: Governor Elrufai and Prof. Yusuf Usman

By: Abdulazeez Alhassan, Rigasa.

“Elrufai knows he does not have the power to hire foreign mercenaries”. This was the comment of Prof. Yusuf Usman; an elder statesman in the country, in an interview with channels television on Monday, 4th April 2022. The Prof. also reiterated that the Kaduna state governor asserted the existence of security issues in his state, while he never does anything about it. He added, Elrufai is too clever and good at what he does, which is noise. This is called political grandstanding.

In respect of the above claims by Prof. Yusuf, one needs to critically analyse and ask this question – Is Elrufai really using political grandstanding in the style of his leadership? Let us analyse the below statements by the governor:

Recall that the Kaduna state governor in an interview with Arise TV said that forests in northern Nigeria should be carpet-bombed to end banditry in the region. He further added, “I have always believed that, you know, we should carpet-bomb the forests; we can replant the trees later”.

“We know where their camps are; we have the maps, we have everything. We have their phone numbers and listen to their conversations sometimes. But we can’t bomb them; because it has to be done across the five states”. These were the statements of the Kaduna state governor in an interview with Arise TV. Also, Elrufai added, the attack could have been avoided if NRC had listened to his warning, to end the late evening shuttle.

Meanwhile, in another part of the battlefield, the governor was reported to have threatened to bring in foreign mercenaries to fight terrorists hibernating in the forest areas around Kaduna state if the federal government fails to tackle insecurity in the same interview with Arise TV.

More so, the governor was reported to have said that, ” the reality is we don’t have enough boots on the ground to address the myriad of security challenges that we face, and these security challenges are asymmetric and widespread”. These statements contradict the governor’s first statement, just as he remains silent on the abduction of schoolchildren. As he and his counterparts (northern governors) could not meet and redress issues surrounding their _local security architecture_ ; let alone carry out a carpet-bombing of forests and hiring foreign mercenaries in an election year. So, it is very clear here that the governor confessed it himself.

In thesame vein, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has maintained that, outbursts by the state Governor Elrufai, and the transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, were clear confirmations that some leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) know the whereabouts of the terrorists but failed to act.

More over, The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna state chapter, has also accused the government of turning the state into a graveyard, as it condemned the continuous kidnapping and killing of citizens by terrorists.

In contrast, John Njoku, a former associate editor, New Nigerian Newspaper, argued that the Kaduna state governor worked harder to curb insecurity than any other state of the federation. He pointed that it is only the Kaduna state governor that created a Ministry of Security and Home Affairs, which has managed to coordinate the state government’s interface with federal security forces deployed to the state.

The above, are different claims and statements from various people and organisations. If they happened to be true, we could say that Governor Elrufai’s statements are more of political grandstanding. Could we say that Prof. Yusuf Usman is right by describing the embattled governor as one that is good at noise making?

In conclusion, the Kaduna state conundrum is confounding as bandits and kidnappers are ravaging the state. What happened recently in the state (train attack) indicates that there is an increase in the level of threats we are facing. In 2020, the Kaduna State Annual Security Report revealed that bandits killed 937 persons and kidnapped 1,972 others in the state while in 2021, 3,348 were kidnapped. These reports are shocking, increasing and alarming.

More bewildering, is how the heavy security presence in the state has not deterred lawlessness. Presently, there is a statement all over in the social media that “Khaki don turn to leather in Kaduna”. This is sad and embarrassing.

Your Excellency Sir, I want to be particular, that Kaduna state is bleeding. Your administration has injured many and lives are lost on a daily basis. You might not be directly involved, but your government seems to be confused and has no meaningful, yet significant and lasting solution to this menace bedeviling the state. Sir, we need quick and swift response, so as to address these threats as political grandstanding becomes needless.

Abdulazeez Alhassan is the President of Universal Writers and Authors

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