The demolition of illegal structures in schools and hospitals in Kaduna by Governor Nasir El-Rufai has generated quite a lot of debates from both the supporters and opponents of the exercise. Even some supporters of the governor and All Progressive Congress (APC) members have been critical of the exercise. A Senator from the state, Comrade Shehu Sani, termed the exercise anti-masses. Although one could say Comrade Sani took advantage of the situation to play politics. Governor El-Rufai can consider himself lucky that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is now incapacitated in Kaduna, else it could have used the issue to make life unbearable for Mallam.
Governor El-Rufai is one of the most vocal advocates of change, a strong adherent of the movement to dislodge the PDP from the government, so that the masses can be freed from the bondage of suffering. So, because of El-Rufai’s critical stand against the PDP prior to becoming the governor of Kaduna state, some pertinent questions have popped up as regards to the demolition exercise. Is El-Rufai right to carry out such an exercise in the midst of poverty and the long period of travails the masses went through under PDP’s 16 years of misrule? Will such exercise in the early part of El-Rufai’s stewardship not lead to the masses questioning the ‘change’ they voted for? Is the exercise politically right at this material time when real development has not started?
There is no doubt that converting land belonging to schools and hospitals for commercial and personal uses is an irresponsible action that any reasonable government should try to correct and even punish culprits for. For instance, the level of encroachment at the famous Rimi College saddens. There are speculations that even some federal government agencies are also culprits- JAMB office in Kaduna is occupying some portions of the school.
Governor Mallam Nasir El-Rufai is very right for retrieving such land, but a ‘non-accidental’ politician would never embark on such exercise at the very early stage of his administration- some good policies sometimes need political consideration to have a smooth sail. El-Rufai should have considered the political implications of carrying out this developmental exercise. El-Rufai should have first commenced his development projects- roads constructions, rehabilitation of health system, civil service reforms and blocking leakages in government finances. Once development projects are ongoing and the entire Kaduna society is gingered and become dependably appreciative of the developmental drive, then El-Rufai can carefully and skillfully say, ‘ahhhha, these illegal structures in schools and hospitals should go, to allow development in such places and conducive atmosphere for users. When these are done, at the end, all right thinking people including El-Rufai’s political foes will have no option but support the exercise in its entirety. Some observers question the timing of the exercise because they are aware that Nigerians are a kind of people that always rate a government by its first steps. And many people are hopeful that El-Rufai would be a model for APC governors, especially in the north.
The demolition of illegal structures in schools and hospitals in Kaduna is a step in the right direction, but the timing is not right, because of the past suffering the masses went through under the PDP and the high expectations people have from the Change mantra the APC sold to the masses. Furthermore El-Rufai is President Buhari’s ‘baby’, whatever he does, Kaduna people and Nigerians generally by default will see it as having Buhari’s nod. Nevertheless, Governor Nasir El-Rufai is so far one of the best governors in the north.
Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State, firstname.lastname@example.org, 08036070980. He blogs at www.zayyaddp.blogspot.com