“You don’t have to hear from the President on that matter. When it pays us, we talk about federalism and true federalism; yet, you want the President and the Presidency to talk about everything…when a thing like this happens in a state, there is a chief security officer and he is supposed to be on top of the matter…”Femi Adesina, Presidential spokesman.

Stewards, servants and spokesmen for political office holders are not hired for their creativity, intelligence or absolute regard for the truth. They are engaged for their reliability and the ability to stick to what the boss wants them to say at all times. Some of the most intelligent people had entered Aso Rock, after leaving their vaunted brilliance behind at home, done their jobs (meaning please their bosses) and checked out to complain about demons at the corridors of power. Mr Adesina’s response was officially correct and on the face of it has closed the case in favour of the President’s seeming benign neglect of the next flash point, after Boko Haram – meaning, Kaduna State. Adesina had pointed to the presence of the Governor at Aso Rock, to brief Buhari, as if that is not a significant development – when indeed it is.

El-Rufai is part of the problem and a major part of it in Kaduna State.

Obviously, the “briefing” the President would have received would have been one probably tainted with self-seeking partial disclosures.

So, when Adesina spoke about “a chief security officer”, he gave the impression that he was talking about an officer who was impartially discharging his duties to protect everybody irrespective of whether they are Hausa, Fulani, Kataf, Sunni, Shi’ites and Christians – that is what El-Rufai claims he is.

Adesina must have been away on another planet if he was unaware of the repeated killing of Christians and destructions of their homes in Southern Kaduna by herdsmen and Muslims of the Sunni sect. El-Rufai is Fulani and a Sunni Muslim. There was report of his convoy being waylaid by some of his subjects who were sick and tired of what they alleged were acts of partiality and his perceived disregard for the rule of law.

Just before his departure for Abuja to “brief”, or is it brainwash, the President, the Governor imposed a curfew on three Local Government Areas in mostly Christian communities. Soldiers and police were reportedly drafted to the area to protect the communities. Yet, the attackers still broke the curfew to attack others who had been deceived to let down their guards. If Malam Rufai thinks that the remaining people in those areas are going to wait patiently to be killed by the herdsmen, then he must be living in his own fool’s paradise.

The stage had been set for reprisals now and in the future. Some of us would recollect how the Katafs had reacted to similar outrages of the Fulani during Babangida’s regime and had taken their own pounds of flesh before IBB’s government intervened on the side of the Hausa/Fulani minority.

That resulted in the famous trial of Kataf leaders like Major-General Zamani Lekwot (rtd). Some will also recall how the Berom have had to rise and defend their territory in Plateau State before peace was restored.

In each case the Katafs and Berom had not waited for government to rescue them. Neither had they chosen the path of appeasement. Adolf Hitler, 1889-1945, a world class terrorist himself, had made the vital point that “The answer to terror is not appeasement but counter-terror.” Unless, the state and federal governments take urgent steps to avert greater disaster, nothing will prevent reprisals.

El-Rufai is the person now taking the nation back to those bloody days in Zango-Kataf, with his handling of the complex issues involved in these ethnic and religious conflicts with land-grab as an added feature. It needs to be stressed, however, that this is not a Christian versus Muslim conflict. It is herdsmen versus everybody else – people who get compensated for losing cows after destroying peoples’ farms, churches and homes.

They never touch mosques!!!

But, it is not only in the three LGAs that sectarian religious trouble is brewing. In Zaria, where the confrontation between Shi’ites and the Army led to loss of hundreds of lives, believers in the doctrine of “an eye for an eye” are still waiting to even the score. El-Rufai’s proscription of Shi’ites and mass burial of hundreds of Shi’ites have merely confirmed what the Shi’ites suspected all along – that they are being denied their constitutional right to life, liberty, happiness and practice of their faith. That proscription order is a religious declaration of war and Shi’ites worldwide will join it. The Shi’ites buried hastily before an independent enquiry had been undertaken, constitute the first installment in what may later become several mass burials. Politicians with long-term ambitions are dangerous to the generality of the people.

Incidentally, Mr Adesina must have forgotten something known to even motor park agberos. With regard to the police and security forces, there is no federalism – true or not. What we have is unitary; the Federal Government controls all security forces. The state’s chief security officers are like sheriffs sent out to patrol the states without guns or ammunition. No state governor can order a single police officer to be moved without the approval of Abuja. Certainly, he knows that military men stationed in several states constitute “a state within a state”. They take no orders from the governor. When high powered security intervention is required, people are absolutely right to turn to the President. That is one of the imperfections of our “federalism” which Adesina should be aware of; he must be pretending not to know.

In the end, the most important question about the situation in Kaduna is: what are victims supposed to do when their state’s chief security officer is one of their oppressors? Lying down and be killed by herdsmen murderers who are the only people who get compensated for their “losses” is not an option. That is what the President must know and not allow his closeness to El-Rufai to lead to greater conflict. The President must be father of all and protect all.


“Quisque suos patimur manes” (Latin) translated to English means “We make our destinies by our choice of gods.” Virgil,

By the time my fourth girl arrived, it had occurred to me that Fate/Fortune had decided for me that all my kids would be girls. But, how many men, especially Africans would accept that verdict? So, I pressed on. I became a polygamist, not out of choice but out of desperation in the bid to have a son. When number five was on the way, I was invited to a church where a prophet told me point blank that “the Lord asked me to tell you that you are wasting your time searching for what is not your portion.” Like most ambitious young men there were several things I was chasing, it never occurred to me that the topic was the gender of number five about which according to “the laws of averages” a boy should be on the way. Ironically, I even told the mother that the kid would arrive on my birthday. It actually did on due date; but it was girl number five. Permit me to skip the mental agony I underwent before coming to terms with the experience of another “failure”. But, the naming ceremony was the grandest of all. I made sure about that.

By then I had developed an assembly line system of bringing up kids based on good education, good nutrition, good health services, good manners and good examples. The process starts with pre-natal care at the best private hospital affordable. Fortunately, until number six girl, who came fifteen months after number five, I always worked for multinationals. They all provided top class family health care. Everything was like an assembly line from prenatal to delivery to post delivery care. All the recommended shots were taken as and when due and breast feeding was mandatory for at least fifteen months. Solid food when introduced was chosen more for nutritional balance than mere taste. I was a fanatic for correctness in nutrition.

By then, the girls had become my “goddesses”; I lived for them and they always had first charge on my earnings. In retrospect, I think if number five or six had been a boy, he would have become a monster because until then I was obsessed with having one. I took a break and embarked on bringing up my “goddesses” and to be quite candid there were times I almost regretted having so many. Despite being one of the highest paid Sales and Marketing executives of my generation, there was a period of four to five years when I could not afford to buy a new shirt, suit or pair of shoes. It was not pastors or imams who persuaded me to reduce my beer drinking from eight to ten bottles a day to two and shun vanity – it was my “goddesses”. They needed the money more than breweries. Number seven kept me waiting for twelve years. By then, I was well on my way to getting the older siblings into universities, one after another; and at one time had four in various universities.


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