By Rose Moses
Stories from Kaduna State in recent times have not been pleasant. In addition to the killings carried out mostly in the southern part of the state by suspected Fulani herdsmen, among others, the political crisis now rocking the state appears to have assumed a more dangerous dimension.
Indeed, it’s a piggy, dirty fight all the way in Kaduna. And recent demolition of a building used by a faction of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) by the state government early hours of Tuesday in the presence of armed security operatives, has obviously taken the fight to a whole new level.
The demolished building located at Sambo Road in the capital city of the state belongs to Senator Suleiman Hunkuyi, member of a faction of APC that had earlier suspended the state governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai. Hunkuyi, in a Twitter account believed to belong to him, confirmed the demolition, while also sharing short videos of the exercise many have described as reckless and malicious.
And as if that was not enough, barely 24 hours after that demolition, the Kaduna state government is further demanding payment of N30.4 million from the same Hunkuyi as ground rent for his private residence, also in Kaduna.
The demand notice dated February 20, 2018, and signed by Director General of the Kaduna Geographic Information Services (KADGIS), indicates that the rent was for a period of 24 years (1995 to 2018) and should be settled within 30 days, a development Hunkuyi has described as ridiculous. Failure to pay may as well result in another demolition.
Call this another politics of bitterness taken too far and you will not be wrong, for the Kaduna state chapter of the APC is currently split into three factions. Hunkuyi, who had vowed to work against the re-election of Mr. El-Rufai, is believed to be sponsor of the faction using the demolished building as office.
The faction had earlier announced suspension of the governor from the party over what it described as his failure to respond to a query issued him by the Hunkuyi faction led by Alhaji Danladi Wada.
Interestingly, Governor el-Rufai’s suspension was coming two days after his own faction, recognized by the national leadership, had announced similar suspension of Senator Hunkuyi for six months, with 28 others expelled.
Acting secretary of the el-Rufai faction of the party in the state, Yahaya Baba Pate, said Senator Hunkuyi was suspended for his role in the setting up of a parallel office of the party in the state, while the 28 other members were expelled for violating the party’s constitution by dragging it to court.
Now, your guess is as good as mine on how and why things suddenly fell apart for this set of people, who prior to the 2015 elections, had worked together for the election of Governor el-Rufai.
Senator Hunkuyi, for instance, who represents Kaduna North senatorial district at the National Assembly, was Director General of the el-Rufai campaign office during that election.
Said to be a grassroots politician of note, Hunkuyi allegedly deployed his political structures for the election of the governor, who hitherto and allegedly, had no political base in Kaduna following his period of service at the federal level.
But as things seem to have gone south for the one-time political allies, Hunkuyi has joined forces with other aggrieved members of the party in the state to form the ‘Kaduna Restoration Group.’ In this group also belongs Alhaji Tijani Ramalan, owner of Liberty Radio and Television station in Kaduna.
Ramalan was director of the media and publicity committee of the el-Rufai campaign organisation and his radio station was effectively used for the 2015 campaigns. He was also made chairman of the APC caucus before things fell apart between them.
It was however the Senator Shehu Sani faction, known as ‘APC Akida’ (True or Authentic APC), that first confronted el-Rufai for allegedly sidelining party members, who worked for his election, as I gathered.
About four months after he was sworn in, the Shehu Sani group, made up of prominent members of the APC, raised the alarm, via an open letter, on the governor’s alleged anti-people policies and attempts to pocket the party.
Their letter would nonetheless be described by the governor as an epistle of elite frustration, lengthy on lame lamentations but short on substance and facts.
In fact, they were simply described by the governor via another letter signed by his Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, Samuel Aruwan; as “a union of the disaffected, the discontented and the disappointed telling a government that all it needs do to be good is to settle them or go back to the old days of sharing state resources to the few professional politicians too lazy to work for a living like other hardworking citizens.” What an irony!
Now that the piggy fight, apologies to Babatunde Fashola, is heating up badly by the elected leaders that ought to be providing dividends of democracy to a people that desperately need them, it is only natural that governance, if ever there was any, will also be suspended in the selfish fight of the elephants.
And the people, expectedly, are meant to bear the brunt. What a shame!