THURSDAY Column with Mohammed Adamu
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By Mohammed Adamu
Nothing more aptly epitomizes the gutsy character of Nasir El-Rufai than the Shakespearean saying: “Rather be a plain-dealing villain than an honest flattering man”. By ‘plain-dealing villainy’ is meant: to have one’s character precedes oneself; as in: to mean what one says and to say exactly what one means –no matter whose ox may or may not be gored. And by ‘honest flattering’ –especially in our contemporary world- will mean, in a nut-shell, to be ‘politically-correct’ –so that no one’s ox may ever be gored.
By the way, the consistency in the character of that once Bureau for Public Enterprises, BPE boss, who was also that one-of-a-kind reformist Minister for the Federal Capital Territory, FCT and now second-term, virtually nonpareil Governor of Kaduna State, is sufficient evidence that his gutsy, plain-dealing kind of attitude is no fluke at all. It is both congenital, as in ‘acquired at birth’ and atavistic, as in ‘registered in the genetics’.
You cannot get more or less than what you can get from El-Rufai. The essential El-Rufai is irrepressible by the politically-correct El-Rufai. He is a man who does not suffer fools gladly. As a matter of fact, if he is himself made a fool of, El-Rufai is not the ‘honest flattering’ guy to blush about it; he will be so ‘plain-dealing’ about it that your knowledge of his own foible will not come by hearsay. Everything about El-Rufai is so ‘res ipsa loquitor’ –manifestly ‘speaking for itself’- that you need no gong-bearers to proclaim.
And so where they ever got the ridiculous idea that such a one, as El-Rufai, will find the headship and funding of terror groups such as Boko Haram and other killer-miscreants of a normatively failed society worth his while and still afford to be cowardly secretive about it, I honestly do not know. And to what logical end, by the way, will El-Rufai lead and fund Boko Haram and bandit groups? To kill his fellow Muslims? Because, let’s face it, 99.9% of the victims of these killer groups is still Hausa-Fulani and Muslim.
El-Rufai is your archetypal fanatic of the saying: ‘whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well’. If providing leadership to and funding for Boko Haram is worth doing at all, El-Rufai would rather have gone underground to devote it than be a cowardly Governor who have to be treacherous about it.
And so anyone with El-Rufai ‘s kind of damning guts is bound to be passionately hated –especially by ‘honest flattering’ men whose hatred for ‘plain-dealers’, conversely is res ipsa loquitor. Yet it takes more than damning guts to dare to do a Muslim-Muslim ticket in a state like Kaduna. It has to take sheer daredevilry. And only a dare-devil the like of El-Rufai had adrenalin for such sky-high un-parachuted, death-defying electoral dive. It is still a mystery he could land in one and not several pieces.
And in fact to be empathic with the majority Christians of Southern Kaduna, El-Rufai’s Muslim-Muslim ticket was not only demystifying of the numerical myth of a people united more by religious faith than by political fealty, it was in fact electorally genocidal –to neutralize, probably for good, a people’s only instrument of political and economic bargain. The danger being that it now makes politically unnecessary the need to pacify or patronize Southern sentiments in the politics of Kaduna State.
And so El-Rufai’s offence against the Southern Kaduna people Islamically would be categorized as a ‘major sin’ -equal in rank say, with ‘shirk’ or the joining partners with God. It is virtually one not to be forgiven. In Christianity it is akin to sinning against the Holy Ghost. It is not to be remitted, ever. And although Jesus himself had personally set the criterion only of sinlessness as qualification for man to judge his fellow man, yet concerning El-Rufai it is amazing that virtually every sinner ironically is certified ‘without ‘sin’ and can freely cast their stones at El-Rufai.
When some pastors notoriously adept at turning the word to sword, in feats of spiritual anger, invoked God’s wrath on El-Rufai, predicting his ‘untimely’ death, the man was said to have quipped that the male members of his family, historically, were not known to live beyond the age of forty and that he, in fact, was lucky he has not only survived that terminal age, but he is still cruising in gratuitous overtime.
Whenever it comes to the peculiar provocative Anti-Christ of El-Rufai all is fair, and “ten-to-one” as Shakespeare would say “is no impeach of valor”. And although secular law too has its rules of evidence, one of such rules it appears is that the rules are not to apply whenever the court of public opinion deals with the enfant terrible of El-Rufai.
Everyone is ‘presumed innocent until they are proven guilty’. El-Rufai alone is not to be entitled to that presumption of innocence. He is always guilty ab initio –as in culpable even before he commits the offence. Obasanjo and Wike are innocent until they are proven guilty. El-Rufai is guilty first, until he proves himself innocent. And this he has to do often before a proudly biased court of public opinion, us.
In fact whenever it concerns the Anti-Christik of El-Rufai even the principle of fair hearing -or what lawyers term ‘audi alteram patem’- is practically a non-starter. It is not to apply. For such notoriously celebrated bête noire El-Rufai, of a congenitally hatemongering, even this fundamental gratuity of the principle of Natural Justice is not to be given as a right; but a privilege.
And yes, we are wont also, to say that ‘no one should be a judge in his own case -or ‘nemo judex in causa sua’? That too is a principle of Natural Justice. It operates as a ‘general rule’ against ‘self interest’. But you know also that to every general rule there is an exception. And so to this general principle, the exception is El-Rufai. When it comes to El-Rufai, even Ministers of the Temple of Justice, namely lawyers, are ready to abandon the principles of Natural Justice in favor of the mob rule.
But this has always been the lot of ‘plain-dealing villains’ –especially in the hands of hypocritically ‘honest flattering’ men. El-Rufai too knows this. And maybe it is the reason that Chapter Six of his autobiography ‘The Accidental Public Servant’ is titled “THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY IS MY FRIEND –UNLESS THE FRIEND IS EL-RUFAI”. Head or tail El-Rufai has to be enemy. There is no middle ground when it comes to El-Rufai. You either love or you loath him. You are either for him or against him. You are his friend or his foe.
To the latter group El-Rufai is a do-nothing, blood-baying ethno-religious bigot who is the insinuated Islamic leader of Boko Haram, the clandestine sponsor of bandits ravaging the North and the eminently priestly Jihadist leader of the invincibly marauding Fulanis that are killing the people of Southern Kaduna. But to the former, El-Rufai is about the best thing that has happened -or that is happening- to political governance.
Enemies are known to add a little salt to the bread of life. El-Rufai’s are even prepared to do worse than that. Some have deliberately been repeating the lie that he once traced Fulanis who had killed and massacred Southern Kaduna Christians in some far away Central African ‘Ruga’ and rewarded them for a job well done. Others said no, he bribed them to come and kill the Christians of Southern Kaduna. Yet others who were a little less mischievous said he only cowardly bribed them NOT TO kill the Christians of Southern Kaduna.
In truth he did none of the above. And virtually in succession one after another in 2016, El-Rufai and the former Chief Of Defense Staff Retired Lt. General Martin Luther Agwai, a Southern Kaduna Christian himself, were both on Channels TV to give the lie to that. A Peace Committee established by El-Rufai and headed by Agwai recommended the extension of a Federal Government victim-compensation funds on the 2011 Southern Kaduna crisis to include relatives of some Fulanis killed in Southern Kaduna while on a transhumance movement back to Central Africa.
The twin objective, said El-Rufai was to do justice to all manner of victims without regards to tribe or tongue, ethnicity or religion, and most importantly, since the Fulanis are reputably a vengeful lot, to preempt and to nip any future potentials for a vengeful reprisal in Southern Kaduna. These, both El-Rufai and Agwai confirmed live on Channels TV in 2016.
But what is tragic in this malevolently insane preoccupation of the anti-El-Rufais to cast him in the mold of a blood-baying ethno-religious bigot, is that often even On-Air, right before the duo of Channel’s Chamberlin and Maope, guests on Sunrise Daily have continued to repeat the lie that El-Rufai had paid Fulanis to kill the Christians of Southern Kaduna -and I, personally, have no recollection that the anchors of the program have ever cared to correct them.
Nor do I have any recollection that anyone ever accused Martin Luther Agwai whose Committee recommended and executed the compensation, of paying Fulanis to kill Southern Kaduna Christians. Why? Let’s face it, because he is Christian. If he was a Muslim…..!