By Luka Binniyat
Kaduna State was tense last Monday when news sources said one Amina Mohammed had been nominated as Minister to represent state.
Amina, who served under the late President Shehu Yar’Adua and under former President Goodluck as Senior Assistant on Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, reportedly hails from Gombe State while her mother is Caucasian.
The mother of six was said to have been nominated by Governor Nasir El Rufai who has maintained that every resident of Kaduna State has access to opportunities like any other native of the state.
It was learnt that the woman’s former husband is an indigene of Kaduna State. Meanwhile Amina allegedly lived in Kaduna where she started Afri-Project Consortium, which enjoyed huge patronage under the Petroleum Trust Fund, PTF, headed by President Muhammadu Buhari under the Abacha administration.
The alleged move to give ‘a Gombe indigene’ the ministerial slot of Kaduna went viral with the unusual silence of the governor on the issue.
After Senate President Bukola Saraki read the ministerial nominees names on Tuesday without naming their states of origin, it became even more confusing whether Amina was standing for Kaduna or Gombe, since there was no indigene of Gombe on the list.
The next day, Senator Danjuma La’ah (Kaduna South Senatorial District) submitted a petition written by a coalition of seven Southern Kaduna groups in which a former Commissioner of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, James Kanyip, signed for the coalition.
Kanyip, who later appeared before a panel of the Senate looking into petitions against ministerial nominees, on Wednesday, insisted that it would be in violation of the Constitution for Amina to take the place of Kaduna.
According to sources, it was then that the Senate said Amina could not represent Kaduna.
Same Wednesday, the coalition held a press conference in Kaduna where it spoke angrily on what it said were the wrongs committed against Southern Kaduna.
“As Nigerians indigenous and autochthonous to Kaduna State we are pained that the governor has treated Southern Kaduna with unabashed vendetta, which only reason would be because most of Southern Kaduna did not vote for him and because of our religion and ethnicity”, the coalition, in a statement read by Kanyip, said.
“El Rufai made security a big issue in his campaign and swore that no indigene or resident of Kaduna State would be killed and the murderers not found and prosecuted. However, we can now see that he was only talking about his kinsmen in Birnin Gwari and surrounding areas, not Southern Kaduna.
“To our joy, he has spent millions of Naira to form a collaboration with northern neighbouring states as soon as he was came to power. A task force was formed, well kitted and funded. They have now chased out all the bandits and rustlers in Birnin Gwari and environs and recovered thousands of cattle and sheep stolen by the gangsters. Villages in that enclave that were deserted as a result of the attacks on them have since bounced back to live.
“But in the case of Southern Kaduna, where, at least 10, 000 have been killed, scores of villages ruined and hundreds of thousands made homeless, the governor set up a committee under a distinguished son of Southern Kaduna, Gen. Martins Luther Agwai (retd), to ‘look at the problem and proffer solution’. That was all! Several villages in Sanga and in Attakar Chiefdom in Kaura LGA have been under the occupation of the herdsmen who kill and chased out surviving villagers.
“Daily killings are going in these villages and the Sanga Road artery has become a hot bed for violent robbery far worse than what was obtained in Birnin Gwari. The governor would rather play blind to these happenings, because he probably feels he has no responsibility to protect those who did not vote for him. We just want to have it on record that he has abandoned Southern Kaduna people.
Abolition of indigeneship status.
“Governor El Rufai has repeatedly asserted that Kaduna State does not have any indigene. He has even said that the “indigene” clause will be expunged from Kaduna State documents to make it possible for anyone who resides in Kaduna to gain equal access to everything that a native of Kaduna state may be entitled to. He said this on the 6th of August, 2015 thus:
‘Anybody residing in the state irrespective of religion and tribes will automatically be entitled to anything in the state…There is nothing like indigenes/settlers in the state under this administration…We have abolished the settler/indigene dichotomy’
“He has not only made this pronouncement, but has backed it up with the appointment of non-indigenes into prominent and key political positions.
Skewed political arrangement
“On the 9th of June, 2015 El Rufai announced the pruning of ministries in the state from 19 to 13 which, according to him, was to reduce the cost of governance. While we support a cost effective and productive civil service, we became suspicious of his motive when he started what looked like a vindictive approach to what would have been a laudable idea.
“In the composition of his new Commissioners, El Rufai violated Section 14 (4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as provided thus:
(4) ‘The composition of the Government of a State, a local government council, or any of the agencies of such Government or council, and the conduct of the affairs of the Government or council or such agencies shall be carried out in such manner as to recognise the diversity of the people within its area of authority and the need to promote a sense of belonging and loyalty among all the people of the Federation’.
“Usually, political offices in Kaduna State have always been fairly shared or distributed amongst the three (3) senatorial districts in line with the principles of Federal Character enshrined in section 14(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“But, Kaduna State is actually North or South as the “Central” was introduced out of the exigency of the Constitution, and not reflective of the South/North divide. For instance, when the governor comes from the northern part of Kaduna, the deputy governorship and the ministerial slot will be zoned to Kaduna South. Presently, apart from the deputy governor who is an indigene of Southern Kaduna, all the other key positions of governance have been taken by the North, including the Speaker of Kaduna State House of Assembly.
“Also, of the 13 Commissioners, only four are from Southern Kaduna. This is very unfair and is in violation of the aforementioned sections of the constitution.
No! to grazing reserves
“We want to state that we reject any move to convert any portion of our ancestral lands into an exclusive economic, socio-cultural and political enclave of some people. The experience of Southern Kaduna with Laduga is enough evidence that any Cattle Grazing Reserve is a direct assault on our people and shall be regarded as a clever way of building up emirate in Southern Kaduna in the future.
“ Those who kill our people cannot be rewarded with the lands for which reasons they are killing and occupying our communities. We reject the move, and we promise to use every possible lawful means to stop that plan.
“The best place to create grazing reserves will be in the Birnin Gwari liberated areas and in Northern LGAs of the state, where they share common customs. Even the so-called encroached proposed grazing reserves created in the ‘60s would have not been possible in those days had the Fulani been alleged to have been exterminating our people like today. We will rather advise the Governor to secure every inch of Southern Kaduna as contained in his manifesto, so we and the Fulani can live in peace and progress as we have been doing before 2011″.
Spokesperson for the governor, Mr Samuel Aruwan, declined to speak on the coalition’s allegations when Sunday Vanguard approached him.
However, a member of the cabinet, who asked that his name not be mentioned, said the groups are made up of losers who cannot distract the governor from his positive vision for Kaduna State.