America base Nigerian Professor of African History at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, Professor Moses Ochonu has described Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-rufai as Nigeria’s most dangerous politician.
He said, said this on his official facebook page in reaction to Ikhide R Ikheloa post critising writers who attended the 2019 KABAFEST organised by the Kaduna State government.
According to Professor Ochonu, the governor is also Nigeria’s biggest inciter and peddler of incendiary fake news.
He said, “I know that Ikhide R Ikheloa can sometimes go overboard and paint with a broad brush. I also know that, for self-preservationist reasons, we cannot always “boycott all boycottables,” apologies to late Mazi Mbonu Ojike.
However, why is it difficult for intelligent people to get Ikhide’s core message that it is morally reprehensible to donate your hard-earned writerly reputation to, and legitimize, a raving tyrant who, if there was any justice in the world and if Nigeria were a sane country, should have been tried and convicted for genocidal incitement, gross human rights abuses, and abetting massacres?
For the writers who offer specious, self-serving, and unconvincing explanations for attending this year’s KABAFEST, which is funded by el-Rufai, search your conscience and see if you can find an excuse worthy of your values, if you have any.
In the past, it was possible to feign ignorance of the man’s crimes. Not anymore. For the record, here is what I wrote to wide affirmation as a comment on Farooq Kperogi’s epic takedown of the vile, divisive, authoritarian bigot a few days ago:
“Farooq, he also said at the launching of a book recently that he will get anyone in Lagos who posts false information that may destabilize “the peaceful coexistence” (don’t laugh at the talk of peaceful coexistence in a state overrun by kidnappers and torn apart by ethno-religious cleansing precipitated by el-Rufai for political purposes) in Kaduna state. And this is Nigeria’s biggest inciter and peddler of incendiary fake news, once tweeting that Goodluck Jonathan may have gone to Chad to plot more BH attacks and that Nigeria’s “Jonathanian army” as he called them, were a murderous group who should be resisted instead of supported. And yet the irony of him feigning indignation at false and inciting tweets does not register with him. I have been saying since 2009 that the man is Nigeria’s most dangerous politician. If you think Buhari is bad, multiply the badness by 10. And the danger of el-Rufai is that, unlike Buhari, whose badness advertises itself, he is articulate and projects confidence and knowledge, so his victims are unsuspecting and give him the benefit of the doubt, which enables him to ensnare citizens and then unleash his infernal menace on them before they have time to react or thwart him. His dictatorship and ethno-religious bigotry are accompanied by a smile and by a deadpan articulation that is deceptively evil.”
I stand by every word in that description of Nasir el-Rufai. But in case some of our writer friends are still in denial, here is an abbreviated list of the man’s most recent atrocities:
1. He is complicit in the massacre of more than 300 shiites and in the detention of their leaders.
2. When an attack on a Fulani settlement in Adara kingdom was reported during tit-for-tat ethno-religious crisis in the Kachia-Kajuru axis, el-Rufai, the incorrigible Fulani supremacist that he is, giddily predicted what he called a “reprisal” that would grab national headlines. A week later, as though responding to his inciting statement, “unknown gunmen” suspected to be Fulani militia launched a genocidal war against the Adara, which has seen hundreds of them killed and thousands displaced in makeshift refugee camps that el-Rufai’s government would not even support with relief materials. He has waged a scorched earth political war of extermination on the Adara people, forcefully creating an emirate for his Fulani kinsmen in their kingdom, thereby demoting the chief of Adara to a mere town head (chief of Kachia); detaining many Adara elders and subjecting them to humiliating kangaroo “trials”; and detaining commentators who spoke out on behalf of the Adara and in condemnation of his ethno-religious political cleansing.
3. He has been detaining and intimidating his critics for posts on social media, in newspapers, and other platforms since he took office. As we speak, the social media writer and el-Rufai critic, Dadiyatta, is missing, abducted at night from his home. He is suspected to be languishing in el-Rufai’s gulag.
4. He confessed on national TV to paying murderous herdsmen he claims are from Mali and other countries who for years have been tormenting, killing, maiming, and replacing the Southern Kaduna people in a de facto process of Fulanization that is the equivalent of modern, forced settler colonization. While he paid “compensation” to the violent, “foreign” colonizers by his own admission, he not only refused to pay compensation to the Southern Kaduna victims of the sustained herdsmen massacres but forced them to erect billboards apologizing to their “foreign” killers.
5. He is Nigeria’s most inciting politician, once declaring that anyone who kills a Fulani herdsmen, even if he is a soldier, would face the vengeful wrath of the herdsmen even if it took a hundred years.
6. He is notorious for religious baiting in our volatile religious marketplace, constantly making references to or sharing insensitive, trolling religious memes about Jesus and refusing to apologize when called out. He was infamously reported to have said even if he named the pope as his running, Christians in Kaduna State would not vote for him.
7. He abused public power by demolishing the properties of Alhaji Suleiman Hunkuyi and his other political rivals.
This is just a sample. The man is evil and sadism personified. He embodies everything that the writing fraternity claims to rebel against.
To the extent that KABAFEST is his brainchild, is funded by his administration, and is clearly designed to humanize him while he simultaneously torments the state he governs and creates and stokes irreparable national divisions, attending the event amounts to legitimizing evil. It is complicity, even if an indirect one.
Why are you using your art and intellectual talent to flatter and normalize an abnormal, possibly sick tyrant?”