By Yinka Odumakin
TWO events occurred last Thursday in faraway America and our “shithole” which offer contrast in an orderly society and a decadent and dying one.
Governor Eric Greitens of Missouri was arrested on the first floor of Carnahan Courthouse in St Louis, according to an eyewitness report by a journalist from the St Louis Post-Dispatch.
He was charged with invasion of privacy which was apparently linked to media reports last month that he had allegedly threatened to transmit photographs of the woman with whom he was having an affair.
Missouri law states it is a felony to take a nonconsensual photo and distribute to another person, according to a statement from the office of St Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberley M Gardner.
“As I have stated before, it is essential for residents of the city of St Louis and our state to have confidence in their leaders,” Gardner said.
Greitens faces a sentence of up to four years in prison if found guilty of the allegation as he lives in a society where there are strong institutions as against strong men.
As the law was catching up with Greitens for making good his threat, our President in Nigeria was hailing the Governor of Kaduna state, Nasiru el-Rufai, as “Mai ruka bulldozer” (an Hausa expression for bulldozer driver).
The event being made light of was the allegation that El-Rufai personally drove a bulldozer to demolish a property belonging to a Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi who belongs to the same political party with him but in a different faction. The building until it was demolished was the secretariat of the factional APC in the state.
The Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Agency, KAPSUDA, in a statement signed by its Director-General, Ibrahim Husseini, said the demolition was part of operations the agency was undertaking across Kaduna metropolis in compliance with its mandate.
“In partnership with sister agencies, KASUPDA is clearing illegal structures, tackling street hawking and restoring order across Kaduna.
“This morning, a building on 11B Sambo Close was removed for flagrant violations of land use and non-payment of ground rent since 2010. This illegal violation of use had begun to distress neighbours who were being forced to endure an influx of thugs and blockage of the road,”
There was no mention of the particular “land use” violated by the property except that ground rent was owed on the property and demolition could not have been penalty for owing ground rent. It was however strange that there was no such violation when the building served as a campaign office for El-Rufai when he was campaigning for governor. According to Hunkuyi:“You may need to know that that same property is the property that we started clamouring for support for the same governor for the people to elect. That same office he has been in and out uncountable number of times as the centre of his…, before the establishment of a campaign office.
“In case Mallam Nasir forgets and wish to push the boundary of personal feelings to express the way he feels against Hunkuyi, let me seize this opportunity to remind him that my own residence is at 18A Inuwa Wada Road. If he wishes to demolish that, he can go ahead.
“Let me also use the opportunity to remind Nasiru that there is another property where I housed him, which he slept in so many times and we fed him in the course of bringing people together to elect him as governor and it is in Queen Elizabeth Road, Zaria.”
The diminutive governor has taken the gauntlet by serving a demand notice of 24 years ground rents on the Senator’s home within 30 days.The ground rent per year stands at N61,160.9 and amounts to N1,467,861.6 for the 24 years he was said to be owing but the penalty fine imposed is N30 million which brings the total amount he is supposed to pay within 30 days to N31,467,861.6.
Hunkuyi, who confirmed the development on his twitter handle said this might be another ploy to demolish his personal residence.
The senator tweeted : “Once again, @GovKaduna Malam @elrufai has sent a ridiculous bill to me for a purported ground rent of my personal house at Inuwa Wada to the tune of N30 million to be paid within 30 days, failure to do so might probably result to another demolition like he did on my other property.”
It is a tragic twist that the President would throw banter over the action of El-Rufai which is a clear threat to democracy after Senator Shehu Sani told the Senate that the governor drops the name of President Buhari for his actions in the state. “These actions by the governor had been done in the name of Mr. President whom he believes, he is his son that he so much loves,“he said.
This action shows more than anything that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu who claims he has a presidential mandate to reconcile APC members is in serious contention for the NAIVE MAN OF THE YEAR award. Oyegun may not be his problem at the end of the day if he is still a reflective man we used to know.
We would not have been bothered with this hellish action of El-Rufai if its ramifications were limited to the APC as a party. Alas,this is not a family affair but a dangerous move that has serious implications for the polity. To start with, it conscripts the democratic space and hampers freedom of association. People who feel sufficiently aggrieved within a political party would now be afraid to voice dissent against a sitting power for the fear of the El-Rufai treatment that may earn a presidential hailing.
In the same vein, property owners would now be scared to let their property for political tenants for fear of bulldozers moving into their premises whimsically and capriciously even when we falsely claim we are in a democracy.
The greatest threat of it all is that the Yoruba say that a man who disciplines his full-blooded brother with a pestle is too dangerous for a half-brother to mess around with. A mind that can pull down the building of a member of his party who disagrees with him may not waste time in doing you know what against an opposition party member.
This is why the admonition of the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided when the Kaduna crisis was reported, in saying that democracy has no place for tyranny and this kind of impunity is very apt. “If we decide to go on the path of democracy, we must accept some of the things that come with it, and one is the rule of law.
“If we have any kind of grievance, that grievance should be settled in the law court and not using force or the weight of our office. I believe this is one of the reasons Nigerians are opposed to the issue of immunity especially for chief executives.
“This is something we need to watch. As we head toward 2019, we must appeal to politicians not to overheat the system and then imperil our democracy.
“There is a limit to the patience of our people,” Ekweremadu said. “I do hope that if it is true, the governor will make effort to go and rebuild the house or pay him adequate compensation. We condemn the act,“
We are going nowhere with our democracy for as long as we keep the immunity law in our books. It would encourage the kind of impunity we have seen El-Rufai displayed.
A day before the departure of the military in 1999, Festus Keyamo and I led a group of demonstrators on the streets of Lagos bidding the fellows in green bye and we sang :
A le koko nile yi/It shall be tough in this land
A le koko nile yi o/It shall be tough in this land o
Bi soja pada wa/if solders returned
A le koko nile yi/It shall be tough in this land
A few years after we marched and civilians started misbehaving the street changed our lyrics:
Se democracy leyi?/is this democracy ?
Se democracy leyi o?/Is this democracy o?
Ti military la nso/We were talking about the military
Se democracy leyi?/Is this democracy ?
The solders are surely back in our tyrant democrats. It is no longer democracy. It is demoncrazy.
Let the Refuseniks stand to bring back democracy in 2019!
Feedback: Re:Ondo as a cattle colony?
THE menace of these brutal herdsmen would continue in Yoruba land and other southern States as long as the people in the area show weakness. Are these southerners pretending not to know that these killers are the Caliphate foot soldiers with only one aim, to go forth and dump the Quran in the sea?
Until the Yoruba and the rest in the south wake up and confront these barbarians, the madness would persist. Do you even know that heads of military formations in the south are Fulani officers? This is deliberate because they are expected to provide cover for these marauding hoodlums. Take the case of the recent killing of a Vigilante member who was watching over two arrested Fulani robbers by soldiers in Edo state.
As for Akeredolu, what do you think that the man would do, when his governorship victory was made possible by the Miyetti Allah National patron in Aso Rock ? Buhari described brutalities visited on helpless farmers by his kinsmen as ‘herdsmen/farmers clash’ which can be translated to mean two fighting, and funnily enough, many people are now fooled into believing that,that fraudulent semantic jargon best described the carnage. Who say that these People are not smart?-Ebenezer Essien