Re: Killings in Southern Kaduna: My people are under the  bondage of terrorists -Senator La’ah  -A rejoinder 

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Kaduna

Executive Governor of Kaduna State Nasir El-Rufai.

By  Danjuma Musa

Without any iota of doubt the greatest tragedy that befell the people of Southern  Kaduna, is the election of Senator Danjuma La’ah  in 2015 and his subsequent re-election in 2019.

But if the election of La’ah in 2015 was a fundamental mistake, his  subsequent re-election in the 2019 general elections was a calamity and a confirmation that the people of the zone had decided to continue on their road to political irrelevance.



Unfortunately for them, Senator La’ah came at a time in the history of the zone, when due to the political realignment that led to the formation of the all  conquering All Progressives Congress (APC),  the zone needed a consummate politician who would  build bridges.

Its was always going to be a tragedy of tremendous consequences when a seat once held with great distinction by the highly respected Senator Haruna Aziz, the cerebral late Senator Isaiah Balat and the urbane Senator Esther Usman, is occupied by a man who in terms of class, contacts and worldview is not in anywhere comparable to his illustrious predecessors. La’ah was always going to diminish the seat,but nobody expected that he would accomplish it so spectacularly that the Southern Kaduna Senatorial District would be a shadow of itself in just under five(5) years. Rather than build on the solid reputation of hard work and networking established by Isaiah Balat, La’ah effortlessly brought the high standard of representation of the Balats’ to his own very low standard,where he is comfortable.

Undoubtedly a Balat, would have been on a first name basis with El- Rufai and would have had no problem engaging with him,with or without a title due to  confidence and networking, which La’ah with his title still can’t accomplish. Why is La’ah afraid of engaging? La’ah, despite having an official title, is unable to attract the respect that he thought he would get via the title of distinguished senator, which in the first place motivated him to run for the seat would.  He didn’t run to lead the people of Southern Kaduna, which explains he hasn’t been able to lead.

Senator La’ah in his widely published interview which the Vanguard newspaper published with a screaming headline “Killings in Southern Kaduna:My People are under the Bondage of Terrorists”, creates the impression of a “deep and genuine concern” by La’ah, but subjected to serious interrogation in terms of strategy and substance, it’s is clearly the same pedestrian stuff,that he has been regurgitating since 2015. La’ah hasn’t in anyway moved away from his 2015 position of defend yourself, in spite of the policy being a catastrophic failure.

It’s only a naive person that will announce to the world that “plans are in top gear where he would meet with other elected federal representatives over the massive killing of his people where a decision would be reached for the people of the zone to defend themselves”. Typical of the joker that he is, La’ah has announced a decision of a meeting that hasn’t happened. But we must avoid the temptation of ascribing to La’ah the political sophistication that he lacks,by avoiding the hasty conclusion that he  announced the outcome to blackmail his other colleagues. Rather it’s evidence of acting on the spur, without any strategic thinking, which has become the new normal of the zone since 2015.

The goof by La’ah that he intends to arm the people of the zone in “self defense” should worry every true son and daughter of Southern Kaduna, not only because that would  escalate the conflict, which La’ah unfortunately lacks the capacity of grasping the consequences of ,but because he is opening himself to charges of arms running and incitement. La’ah seems to have forgotten that senators don’t have immunity or is he trying to get himself arrested,so he continue to portray himself a hero of the struggle?

La’ah as is the new normal blatantly lied against El-Rufai , when he alleged  “that Governor Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna state was not cooperating with his efforts as a Senator to nip in the bud, the killings”. The truth of the matter, is that La’ah’s hostile behavior since 2015 when El-Rufai became governor severely undermined the necessary trust he needed to engage with the kaduna state Government, which from the outset showed genuine commitment to restore peace to the area that previous administrations had paid passing attention to. It’s on record that the very first action of the El-Rufai administration after his swearing in on 29th May, 2015 was to convene the State Security Council to address the Southern Kaduna crisis.

The state government was to follow up with the General Martin Luther Agwai Committee,all in an effort to find solution to the acts of banditry that sadly are not limited to Southern Kaduna. The stark difference is that the Southern Kaduna banditry attacks command  more attention, than those in Birnin Gwari, Igabi, Giwa because of the religious coloration and the high educational level of the average Southern Kaduna person, compared to the high illiteracy level of the average Northerner. The illiterate person in Giwa, Igabi or Birnin-Gwari can’t take and post pictures of the atrocities visited on him and  a Femi Fani – Kayode wouldn’t amplify their plight, because he doesn’t believe the lives of such persons matter because of their ethnicity and their religion.

It’s a pity that the journalists unfortunately allowed him to get away with his wild allegations , they ought to have asked him why he is not on the same page with the Governor? Is it that the governor is opposed to the crisis being resolved or that it is him Senator La’ah because he benefits from it politically? Beyond his call for people to defend themselves, La’ah should make public his proposal on the issue public, so that they can judge? Hear La’ah: “had it been that we are on the same page with the governor, the situation wouldn’t have gone worse like what we have now.  Unfortunately, everybody minds his business. The governor is not looking up towards what I’m trying to achieve in that regard”. Without any hesitation, this clearly is a sacrilegious statement, that is also wicked.

In November 2016, moments before installing Dominic Gambo Yahaya as the new Agwatyap, Malam Nasir El-Rufai joined other dignitaries to unveil the Peace Apology Billboard in Samaru-Kataf. Danjuma La’ah’s tasteless comments at the event, disclaiming the responsibility citizens had for peace and peaceful resolution of differences, earned him the rebuke of the Gbong Gwom Jos. Shortly after, peace billboard was destroyed, and an orgy of communal violence broke out in parts of southern Kaduna that led to 24-hour curfews being imposed.

How can a senator who doesn’t understand the nature of the Southern Kaduna crisis, proffer any solution? And this much he admitted ,when the journalists asked him. Hear Senator La’ah:”I cannot say whether it is a religious or tribal crisis”. So what is it if it’s neither of the two?

If only the people of Southern Kaduna would reflect and ask themselves serious questions, then they will be on the same page with the state government in finding a solution to the attacks. The elites of Southern Kaduna have consistently maintained that the attacks on Southern Kaduna are to appropriate their land and to islamize the area. The question then is, why are the criminal elements who are believed to be Muslims engaged in worse acts of criminality against their fellow Muslim brothers and sisters,from Zamfara, Katsina States to the Northern part of Kaduna State? Are these bandits equally engaged in a jihad in these areas, a development that forced Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State,to declare the reality of banditry as their COVID-19?

The problem with some Southern Kaduna elites, is their continued manipulation of the crisis to achieve narrow political objectives, especially their continued political hold on the area, which has informed the dangerous “religionization” of pure  criminal acts. Central to the narrow interpretation of the terrorist attacks is the policy of retaliation that made every Muslim responsible or guilty of the attack and a legitimate object of revenge, which has characterized the response to the various attacks. Thankfully unlike the past when the Muslims usually responded in kind, they have shown remarkable restraint,which has gone a long way in containing and localizing the crisis,otherwise Kaduna State would have gone up several times in flames.

Senator La’ah is not a leader and is most likely never going to be one, considering that he has squandered the golden opportunity faith thrust on him. He will remain just an adventurer in the corridors of power, who lacking in ideas never rose beyond his limited exposure. A leader leads and the true mark of a leader is that he/she rises above the people, and charts a course that goes contrary to their position. Like late Margaret Thatcher postulated, a leader doesn’t follow the crowd rather the crowd should follow the leader.

In the final analysis the people “in a democracy get the leader they deserve”, this apparently is the lot of the people of Southern Kaduna, an area that has produced the likes of Air Vice Marshall Ishaya Shekari, General Martin Luther Agwai,many renowned professors, and a banker like  Dr. John Ayuba but have decided to settle for a political nonentity. And to cover his profound inadequacies, his lackluster performance La’ah is shamelessly hiding under the cover of the crisis. Hear La’ah “ the killings are affecting my performance as a lawmaker representing the people”.

The biggest challenge confronting the Southern Kaduna elites is to undo the years of negativity that they have sown in the minds of their people, to get rid of the siege mentality that has adversely affected their relationships with indigenes and non indigenes alike in all spheres of life. The outsiders who are using them for their own political objectives, will only lead them further down a dead road. It’s time for stock taking. But it’s going to be a tall order, considering that someone like Senator La’ah still sees himself as irrelevant in the scheme of things in the state. Hear La’ah: “It makes me feel as if I am not a stakeholder in the state”.

La’ah is a loose cannon, which is why his unfounded allegation against the security forces who in spite of operating in a very difficult terrain, have given a credible account of themselves should be ignored. Hear La’ah “I am incapacitated because the military and other security agencies in the state seem not to be interested in what is happening to my people in Southern Kaduna, what else would I do? As it is now my people are under the bondage of terrorists”. His lamentations show a man that’s far removed from the various efforts to tackle the attacks.

Senators Uba Sani and Suleiman Kwari, his other colleagues, whose constituencies are also under attack won’t be heard making such statements, because they attend the regular briefings between the governor and members of the National Assembly. A forum that La’ah has bluntly refused to attend since 2015, only for him to turn around and accuse of the governor of not working with him.

Hopefully in 2023 a more serious candidate would emerge to provide Zone Three(3) with credible leadership,as opposed to “charlatanism”.

Vanguard

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