Erstwhile Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal declared that the actions and utterances of Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state has exacerbated the crisis in Southern Kaduna and that the governor is not sympathetic to the issues in the region.
Babachir also condemned the marginalization of Christians in Kaduna State and other parts of the North and gave credit to a former governor of the state, Ahmed Makarfi whom according to him handled the crisis well during his tenure because he saw the issue from an ethnic and not religious point of view.
“Initially, I think from 1980, most of the problems of Southern Kaduna are ethnic. When Ahmed Makarfi became governor, he understood that most of the issues were ethnic than religious and he was able to address it. Roads were being constructed equally in all parts of the state; traditional institutions were strengthened in all parts of the state. Everybody was getting his fair share of the resources that the state has and the matter didn’t get out of hand”.
“The problem I see in Kaduna is that the state government led by Governor Nasir El-Rufai is not sensitive to the issues. Their utterances simply indicate that they are not sympathetic to the issues. Like I saw a write-up by Shehu Sani today, he said when it happened in Zamfara, government calls it banditry and they sympathized with the affected communities but when it happens in Southern Kaduna, government starts to explain what is happening, rather than calling a spade exactly what it is and sympathising with the people”
“So, it depends on how the government handles the issue at all levels; from the federal to the state to local government and ward levels. I remember when the banditry started in Sokoto and they overran a village, the state governor with all his cabinets went there to sympathise with the victims. They went with blankets, food items and other basic things. In some states, they don’t do that; rather than do that, they will even insult the communities that are the victims.
“That is what is happening. Incompetent governors and rulers in the North are responsible. The North is full of incompetent rulers. All they want is to ride in convoys and people are hailing and waving at them. When they come home, people sit on the mats while they are the only ones sitting on a chair because they are governors.
” They see themselves as Deputy Jesus. They are not interested in serving the people, all they care about is ruling”.
Babachir who also faulted exclusion of Christians from key political positions in Kaduna state despite their population said the issue may boomerang as future generations may not accept it.
“Why should Kaduna end up with Muslim governor and Muslim deputy governor? The Speaker is Muslim as well as the Deputy Speaker. Two cabinet ministers are also Muslims. There are about six or seven local governments in Kaduna that are predominantly Christians”.
“Nigeria must look at these issues because the day it will explode, it will surprise everybody. While elders like us are willing to tolerate these things because of peace and harmony, our children may not be able to do so because they can’t accept to be northerners only during election periods and suffer neglect when positions are shared”.