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On el-Rufai, education, politics and GMB’s core states – Kabiru Muhammad Gwangwazo

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I am not surprised that Mr. President has commended Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai’s uncommonly radical moves to sanitize education in GMB’s state of residence. That he points to elRufai’s on education as a very sensible option is expected. It is reasonable too.

My take? I won’t, no one would allow his wife, son, mother, father or brother, go under the knife of a surgeon who hasn’t trained as a surgeon. Or one who has presumably trained but is so incompetent that he kills all he operates on. Why then allow Kaduna kids to have their future so killed by teachers earning their bread by spreading ignorance?


I have always had issues with el-Rufai especially on his politics, his ruthlessness, and his unstable and uncertain loyalty. But on this decision, like GMB, I also truly salute him and pray he succeeds, so that others copy and save our future. What is more, on education in Kaduna and elsewhere, if our Governors are serious, truly, then all those who earn salaries as civil servants, public servants, politicians and political office holders, at all levels, must patronize government schools. That way, they are forced to know and partake of what “we the people” are fed.

However, as a private citizen I can speak anyhow. But not so, General Buhari. As President he can’t afford to do so. And thank God, what he did was not to say that teachers should be sacked, without any alternative. If I heard him correctly at the FG Education Summit he attended, what he said was that it was unreasonable for us all to allow the kind of mess the el-Rufai findings show in the education sector.

That is not endorsing outright sack of over 20,000 voters. Yes, they are not merely teachers. They are voters too, and each of them has a circle of influence of a minimum of 10 people around him. Many could have as many as 20 or more. That should imply some 200,000 or even 400,000 votes. If you look at the figures of these teachers and their sphere of influence, and then look back at the votes of 2015 you would easily see the danger for any sitting government facing elections in a mere 15 months.

For the APC, Kaduna politics with its many aggrieved groups is worrying. The Shi’a group reportedly gave el-Rufai and APC about 230,000 votes. This is an organized group, and also an aggrieved group. Kaduna lawmakers — Senators Hunkuyi and Shehu Sani are also aggrieved. They are “enemies” of el-Rufai, yet they are APC. Traditional chiefs sacked by el-Rufai are naturally aggrieved too.

The APC-”Akida” Kaduna hosts all anti-el-Rufai politicians in the Party. Known Buharist, broadcast mogul Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, Chief Returning Officer for GMB in 2015 is part of this “Akida”-APC group. Locked out of the loop of his Buharist home, he was only recently picked up by SP Saraki as Chief of Staff, tapping his intellect and civil service experience. And APC Akida is aggrieved and locked out of el-Rufai’s Kaduna APC, thus far. What other votes is APC banking on in this GMB state? What will any other votes amount to?

APC’s el-Rufai won 2015 elections with one million plus votes, against PDP’s one million plus votes. With this GMB surely can’t afford to support el-Rufai’s sack of teachers, not without any alternative provided them.

Thankfully he did not pronounce support for the sack. Rather he merely expressed dismay at the state of education. That one of his governors is doing something about it, even if it has unwarranted impacts is certain to please him. It pleases me too. What I hope is, GMB gets properly and fully briefed on implications of the unwarranted impacts. That is why, I now brief him on these RIPPLES.

This is especially important when many of GMB’s core supporters are still left in limbo while many freeloaders are on board the government. Many more are now jostling to get into the cabinet he has pledged to reshuffle. He said so in his tour of Igboland; that he is inundated with calls and texts by lobbyists for Minister and other appointments not yet made, two and a half years into what many of us hope and pray is his first four year term.

It is worrying, the many political troubles coming out of Kaduna and el-Rufai, so much favoured by our General, even when the firebrand governor had always been on the other side as a key PDP top-notcher since 1999, before his lucky dip onto our GMB platform for 2015. It is more worrying when we look at Kaduna alongside three other core Northern states of GMB that are in a clear political flux. These four, have traditionally presented the most votes for Buhari.

Bauchi has its own share of troubles. So does Katsina, GMB’s state of origin. So too the state of Kano, GMB’s political home-base, all because of mishandling of their politics. In Bauchi, traditional GMB supporters are at loggerheads with the governor who, among many political crimes, is generally considered an outsider, from PDP. Also, maybe unfairly, labelled an outsider from Kano. In Katsina, Masari, who joined GMB’s CPC from PDP was successful in edging out most core Buharists. Before then, they’d suffered the brunt of the PDP harshness. He had been two-term PDP lawmaker and FHR Speaker.

In Kano, muddying the waters is the Kwankwaso/Ganduje face-off. In addition, the two PDP gladiators have, since joining the Buhari APC, kept CPC Buharists out of the loop of party and power. Yet, it is these Buharists that have since 2003 kept GMB votes rising steadily by an average of an added 200,000 every four year election cycle, starting with over 1.2 million in 2003. The pattern was the same even in 2015 despite the supposed advantage of the sitting Kwankwaso/Ganduje government. A mere 200,000 was the added tally.

Whatever the outcome of the various briefing sessions I expect Mr. President to have on the el-Rufai, Kaduna, education and politics crises, he needs to also have similar briefings on the three other key northern states.

They do mean a lot to the many still keyed into a GMB second term. This, despite all the hiccups for CPC politicians in the first term, as 2019 hurtles along with uncommon speed. General elections are a mere 15 months away. The APC leadership may have to do something drastic to save APC, GMB and his core supporters in these favoured states he’d ignored. And this, by or before the 2018 APC April state congresses only five months away. May be by setting up a neutral but firm and fair caretaker exco for each of the four states, to clean the slates. May be.

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