By Sikiru Akinola
In Nigeria, my enemy’s enemy is my friend. That is what is currently the case in Nigeria as regards recent political events, especially within the camp of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC. People always want to say and write what would please the listeners and readers, rather than say things exactly the way they are. People want to impress those in power with fake support.
If President Muhammadu Buhari is to succeed, he needs to caution or do away with people like the diminutive Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai. Whenever anything happens, he is always quick to react, without having a second thought, as if he is the spokesperson. And this breeds discontent among party men. APC is still young. Anytime el-Rufai lends his voice to national issues, it reinforces the belief by many that there are cabals within Buhari government. And Buhari seems to be helpless as he has been unable to keep these men where they truly belong.
Recently, when an audio recording of Aisha Alhasan’s endorsement of former President Atiku Abubakar as her preferred presidential candidate for 2019 got leaked to the press, it was the el-Rufai who was first to react. But I was not surprised. Why? I have known him for that, long time ago. In fact, reading his most popular book, The Accidental Public Servant, will reveal the inconsistency in the quantity surveyor turned politician.
As if we don’t know el-Rufai’s plans, especially when Buhari was on medical vacation outside the country. Let us thank God Buhari arrived safely. On many occasions, this same man kept quiet, especially when his voice should have been useful. When Aminu Tambuwal (now governor of Sokoto), Rotimi Amaechi (now minister) were assaulting their former party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, it was okay to el-Rufai as it was boosting the chances of the then newly formed All Progressives Congress, APC. Two years after, what went around came around; Nigeria’s women affairs’ minister, Alhassan, was caught on tape, endorsing his godfather — Atiku. Expectedly, mixed reactions have continued to trail Alhassan’s action. But el-Rufai forgets things easily. APC was hurriedly formed by many. Where was the short man when Sen. President Bukola Saraki and his gang defied party orders? Hypocrisy will kill el-Rufai.
Apart from these, this same el-Rufai who struggled to provide reasonable answers as to what happened in Southern Kaduna will always come forward whenever bigger issues surface. This is when he has yet to solve his home-grown problem. He is not in good terms with many of the national assembly members from the state. He is one of the cabals in Aso-rock. His frequent trips to Abuja makes me wonder if he still thinks he is a minister of federal capital territory. Only recently, while we were blaming Nigeria’s youngest governor, Kogi’s Yahaya Bello, for declaring a public holiday to celebrate Buhari’s return from medical vacation, el-Rufai did the unthinkable; he has held a rally to welcome the president. If we conclude that a 41-year old Bello is suffering from youthful exuberance, what of el-Rufai? Or is it because they are alumni of the same prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria?
In fact, there is no Nigerian leader that el-Rufai has not lambasted. And this is for nothing than to curry favour. And each time, his hypocrisy is always exposed. Just recently he attacked those calling for a restructured Nigeria. This was after he had supported it few years ago. Just like a columnist posited recently, Nigerians, especially politicians are suffering from unending capacity for deception. We tell ourselves so much lies, get so used to it and willingly substitute it for the truth. Added to this is our failure and refusal to learn from mistakes.
If el-Rufai thinks he can always attack everybody, he should be fully prepared because only God knows what those who have been ‘sidelined’ in the scheme of things are cooking. Well, he and his advisers would understand better by the time 2019 election is concluded. It is time el-Rufai learned from the silence of not only the National Working Committee of the party but key members like Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. Why are they yet to condemn Alhassan? Is it because they don’t know what to say? Is el-Rufai not bothered about the silence of the chief initiator of APC, Tinubu? Was it not when Tinubu made the party popular that el-Rufai and other decided to join? We don’t learn from the past and that is politically suicidal.
And this is similar to what led to the ouster of PDP from Abuja. Yes, it is the decision of some of its bigwigs not to be honest that cost them victory. Truth be told, all is not well with the ruling party. In most of the states where its men govern, it is one day, one trouble. And there is nobody to settle it.
El-Rufai may be right with his claim that Alhassan didn’t vote for Buhari during the primaries but he goofed. Many people who are part of the incumbent government did not also support Buhari at the primaries. Is el-Rufai telling us that the likes of Rochas Okorocha and Rabiu Kwankwaso supported Buhari during the primaries? No! Buhari understands this and he was benevolent with his appointment. In fact, if not for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, somebody like me would not have seen reason to support the former military head of states. Tinubu, we would recall, did not only mobilise human and financial resources, he brought the convention that produced Buhari as APC candidate to Lagos. In the process, he would have offended some people. So el-Rufai should stop telling us what we know.
Sikiru Akinola, a political analyst, is of www.insideoyo.com. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.