Open Letter To Gov El-Rufai: It Is Not Too Late To Retrace Your Steps
Governor of Kaduna State
Sir Kashim Ibrahim House
Dear Governor El-rufa’i,
IT IS NOT TOO LATE TO RETRACE YOUR STEPS
- Since assuming the awesome and exalted office of the Governor on 29th May 2015, you have made policy pronouncements and taken actions that have become a subject of cheers and jeers and multifarious legal interpretations. In some instances, your statements ignited whirl local, national and international condemnations. There isn’t room to labour the fact that, every of your action and words, reflected your ideological believes on socio-cultural and economic style of governance. Most of your decisions are extracted from APC’s 2015 electoral manifesto and your 20-page separate manifesto titled “APC KADUNA MANIFESTO( The Restoration Programme 2015-2019), with the sexy motto “Let’s Make Kaduna Great Again”.
- I was part of a body (CEDRA) that placed your first hundred days in office on a political and moral scale, ran commentaries on my syndicated social media platforms, and written an official letter to you on 19th October 2015. The assessment by CEDRA kept faith with a global tradition of assessing first hundred days of new governments that started in the U.S.during the Great Depression years. The second and third efforts were my personal endeavors of withdrawing from our inexhaustible collective pool of rights guaranteed in our 1999 constitution and other global, regional and sub-regional protocols of peoples’ rights.Our substance and pillars of analyses emanated from your inaugural speech, first state broadcast, and statements made in the field. As I write, am/we are yet to receive any official reply from your government on a gamut of issues raised and multiple counsels offered. We are surely not surprise because of shortage of the culture of responsive, sensitive, respect for mandate givers in our body polity. It’s a continuation of thinking and acting the old way by our leaders who act like heads of feudal or theocratic political institutions.
- In your first state broadcast on 26th July 2015 you indicated your intention of running a slimmer government.Before the said broadcast,your government told all and sundry on 8th July 2015 that it shall have very few aides and appointees. All in an attempt to save cost and square off with other snags bedeviling Kaduna State. However, appointments made, so far, suggest that you have gone far above the number, initially promised. A rough computation of appointments made shows that, you have broken Governor Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa’s record of running the slimmest government in the state since the beginning of this republic in 1999. It also shows that, you haven’t kept your words on this, yet , no announcement from you that you have sank your initial undertaken on the number of aides your government promised the people of the state.
- Your government plied the lane of verifying the actual workforce in the State. Several governments before yours conducted verification exercises. Each attempt discovered irregularities between the name in the payrolls and the actual workforce on-ground. Your own brand of verification is different because it is not by a task force but by two banks along with their experts. This exercise has gone through two rounds and now in its third lap. You assessed the success of your exercise by telling the world that you have saved over 120m Naira. Good work and effort. That is much to tackle problems in areas your government intends to tackle. But beyond the claims of saving that amount, the scheme is fraud with problems like branding people who have been working for over two and three decades as ghost workers. Some of the so-called ghost workers are today Head of Departments, Directors, Deputy and Assistant Directors. Most of these officers have been trained with either State or Local Governments funds and got their promotions through statutory means of assessing staff for promotions. Your verification also procreated confusion of inconsistent payrolls that include and exclude names in each months voucher made by the verification team of Zenith and UBA. This also made some workers ghost in a month and real worker in another month, thereby denying them of several months salaries and without the thinnest knowledge of knowing where to channel their grievances because bureaucratic conduits of breaking such bottlenecks have been rendered impotent. The confusion your exercise has injected into the State and LGA workforce has weakened, broken, and dashed the spirit of the state’s workforce of uncertainty the exercise placed on their professional careers. Directly or otherwise, that will manifest on how they will implement government’s policies because they are the executioners of government’s programmes. To avoid this raging confusion, I beseech you to end this marathon verification exercise that is one of its kind since the creation of Nigeria in 1914.
- Of recent Kaduna city has become a colony of garbage and refuse. Photos of refuse in the city are all over the net and on pages of some old media. Because of this, radio stations engaged captain of companies and leaders of contractors in the state. They alleged that, your government is owing them five months. That despite refusal to honour their contractual agreement between them, they kept doing their work because of the health hazard that their laying down tools will bring. In the course of the discussion they revealed that, your government has terminated contract of over one hundred companies employing over six thousand natives of Kaduna State and replaced them with four companies with their cooperate headquarters in Lagos. The result of refusing to settle their five months arrears and terminating their contracts without their replacement ready to takeoff is telling on the city. One doesn’t have a hints on the major provisos of the contract between Kaduna State government( under the ministry of environment) and metropolitan LGAs but it’s clear that they were doing a good job and our city was kept clean. Your government’s inability to professionally and patiently handled this matter has exposed inhabitants of Kaduna and environs to great hazard. More to this is, adding up to global warming as people resorted to burning mountains of refuse in the night. Added to this is risk of fire incidence because some fires went higher than electric poles wider than the size of 50 meters square. We thank God we are yet to record outbreaks of diseases, but the longtime effect will surely tell on the people that inhaled and still inhaling polluted air rising from these garbages. I advice you revisit this matter with over one hundred companies that have an experience workforce and equipment on ground. As the medics would say; a stitch in time saves nine.
- After the Zaria bombing and killing of workers you assembled for verification, your government banned street hawking and begging. You demonstrated your seriousness by dismantling the known beggars camp in Maiduguri Road. And dispatched OperationYaki’s vans to mob and pick up violators of your order. You pillared your action on security concerns, by that, you tacitly said begging and hawking constitute a security risk in the state. They demanded for an apology for linking them to terrorism – I don’t know whether they got- and also headed to the court because they believed your action was an infringement on their fundamental human rights- of which begging is one of the rights. Today beggars and hawkers are back on the street carrying out their businesses uninterrupted. And to the best of my knowledge, I haven’t had a counter announcement telling them that they can go ahead with their businesses or a court injunction restraining your action. What is really happening on this? There is a need for a clear statement from your government in case those who relocated to other clime for the same trade but prefer Kaduna can make their way back to the city.
- The decision of 11th April 2015 that ousted the former occupant of Sir Kashim Ibrahim House was not a change through bullets, protest, or a revolution. It was a ballot action simultaneously staged in hundreds of electoral wards and in thousands of polling units- across the twenty three LGAs of the State. Therefore, you are a democratic leader under a democratic setting. Since this realism is irrefutable cum impeccable, it’s not every setting that you met that should be dismantled as if it was an order or protocol invented by some dictatorial rulers in an undemocratic setting. Like the issue of companies handling Kaduna city and environs, what is so difficult encouraging more efficiency and let them be? You have a big social contract with the people of Kaduna State to turnaround education, healthcare, agriculture; why wasting time on areas performing effectively and respecting contractual agreements signed before you mounted the saddle? Continuity is a cardinal principle of governance because most government schemes outlives the lifespan of each administration. How will it look like if at the end of your tenure, pillars your of government policies sank are uprooted- irrespective of their impact in the state. Going by your disposition, the word legacy will be expunge from all dictionaries, encyclopedias,and other glossaries of definition of terms. Is that necessary and proper? No.
- All administrative handouts on transformational leadership shows that continuity, graduality in implementing new policies, and carrying people along are cardinal principles. One of the most reference reformations in modern history is the Meiji reforms Japan(1868-1912).Another one is Lee Kuan Yew policies in Singapore. Another one is that of Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) government under Atal Bihari Vanpayee(1996-2004) that made India a strong player in high tech world that is competing with giants of the Silicon Valley in the U.S. Today most of the Silicon Valley players are in working partnership with many Indian companies. They achieved those height not because of the speed and ruderlessness of execution but graduality and proper educating their peoples, and carrying them alone in every stage of their implementations.
- I want to believe that even if your government policies transformed Kaduna State to a place like Dubai, so long as people are alienated and not informed it’s still not a success. History shows that, such developments can’t be term sustainable development because where they are expected to compliment government’s policies, they wouldn’t. And in a nick of time, such government and its legacies will find a place in dustbin of history. I believe it’s not your prayer to end in such a sorry note.
- It’s not too late to halt and reassess the direction of your government. It has not pass the fate of no return or beyond redemption because time is your best ally. I know that there is a high temptation of disregarding this counsel, but I urge you to be courageous and take a long look of where you came from and how your place shall be in history. Realities on policy planning tables sometimes encounter encumbrances associated with political and sociology-cultural variables. A wise commander in the field shouldn’t insist on working on the original plan if situation in the front aren’t favorable. The best advice can be found in Jame Carville and Paul Bagala books titled, “Buck up, Suck up….And Come Back When You Foul Up”.
- You have assurances of my constant reminders of consequences of your policies and counsel like this. So long, Governor Nasir Ahmed El-rufa’i.
Dr. John Danfulani