By Lateef Adegbite
The battle line appears to have been drawn between Nasir el-Rufai, a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, during former President Olusen Obasanjo presidency, and now governor of the north western state of kaduna and Samuel Ortom, a former minister of State, Trade and Investment and now governor of the north central state Benue state.
Note thathe two governors, going by the insecurity situation in the country are facing the same problemsof heightened insecurity situation in their respective states. While the Benue state insecurity challenge was said to have been perpetrated by suspected armed Fulani herdsmen from Niger, TChad and other countries in the sahel region, with their Nigerian Collaborators which Ortom, in his capacity as the state Chief Security Officer, with the security operatives are struggling to contain, el-Rufai see it differently.
. Although what is happening in Benue state may not be different from the situation in Kaduna state which had been under the siege of the Bandits for years,killng and kidnapping people but el-Rufai may not have seen anything wrong with it.
Even when Mohammed Abubakar Sa’ad, a retired Brigadier General and Sultan of Sokoto, had said that the Bandits have made the north one of the worst regions to live in the country, that may not have occurred to the Kaduna state governor that something is wrong somewhere that needed to be fully addressed to ensure that peopel live in peace in the region. Many believe that he has singled Ortom for attack in order to win the ears of President Muhammadu Buhari, popular, PMB, and a retired Army General that he is a true loyalist working for him.
The Kaduna state governor had accused Ortom of attacking, the Katsina state born Nigerian President led Federal government’’to over his own failure’’, stating that he ‘’no longer take Ortom seriously. He was emphatic on his dislike for the Benue state stat governor for daring the Nigerian President. Hear him: He has other issues of governance that he is using the retired Army General as a punching bag to attract attention for his failure.
The Benue state governor who could not take the attack on his person from his Kaduna state Counterpar any longert, had described him’’as one of the worst enemies of Nigeria’’ who do not hide his divisive tendencies ‘’elevating nepotism and ethnicity above the good values that have held Nigeria together over the decades’’.
Describing him’’ as a sycophant, ethnic Champion and religious bigot, who hates everyone who does not share the same faith with him’’, he disclosed that the Kaduna state governor ‘’is among the very few persons who have misled Buhari’’ in the governance of this great nation, Nigeria, which has become a laughing stock in the commity of nations in the recent time.
He noted that the former FCT minister has’’ no moral justification to talk to him because he has ‘’failed in several areas as governor of Kaduna state’’, stressing that he has divided the people of the home state against each another ‘’ by not hiding his hatred f indigenes on account of religion and ethnicity’’.
The Benue state governor had accused his traducer of paying armed herdsmen whom he had invited from other countries in the Sahel region in the guise of stopping attacks in southern Kaduna but had succeeded in escalating the killings in area. He believes that el-Rufai and his Collaborators at the Federal level who had declared war on him’’ to silence him, are doing so in order’’ to ensure that their Conquest and expansionist agenda succeed’’.
He appears to be mocking the Kaduna state governor hen he said that , ‘’ kidnapping has become a common crime in the state’’. it has been estimated that at every given time ,not less than ‘’ 300 persons that have been abducted in the north western state , describe as a home of the elites in the north, have been ‘’’identified as the governor’s kinsmen’’.
According to the aggrieved Benue state governor, el-Rufai’’pays them billions of naira to embolden them to attack and kinap’’ , thus making the state one of the worst places to live in Nigeria today’’. Ortom, who could not hide his feelings was said to have taken the Kaduna state governor to cleaners on the issue of ‘’payment of salaries and ensure improved welfare for the workers which he had been opposed to over the years.
He cited the Kaduna state governor’s recent sack of 4,000 workers to trim downthe state workforce to buttress his claim, stressing that he is an serious governor ‘’who should be ashamed of himself’’.
He may have taken advantage of the quarrel that have been initiated by the Kaduna state governor to ask him ‘’what has happened to all the electioneering Campaign promises he had made to the people of his home state in 2015 and 2019’’, noting what the people are now getting in return from him are nothing but intimidation from the Bandits and sack of the state workforce.
The Benue state governor was said to have Challenged el-Rufai to test his popularity by taking the bold initiative to call for a Town Hall meeting to see if the Kaduna people would pass a vote of Confidence on him. He was said to have told him that only recently, the people of Benue state met at a stakeholders meeting in Makurdi, the state Capital and unanimously passed ‘’a vote of confidence on him in recognition of his performance’’.
Ortom had said that ‘’ who is who’’ in the state had attended the meeting irrespective of the political dive including the APC Chieftains, showing that the people have brushed aside their political differences to save the state from being taken over by armed herdsmen.
He was said to have informed el-Rufai and other people opposed to him in the Buhari Administration, that the state government ‘’will not repeal the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment t Law’’,no matter the blackmail , hatred, threats and war waged on him’’. Appealing to the Kaduna state governor to leave him and Benue state alone, Ortom was said to have asked el-Rufai ‘’ to focus his attention in addressing the numerous problems in his home state’’.
In a related development, the Channels Television , had reported that the Bandits operating in the Shinkafi Local government Area of Zamfara state, which had been declared a ‘’no fly zone by the retired Army General as a way to clip their wings ‘’ have resorted to giving out cows in return for dangerous Pharmaceutical drugs. The Television station had cited pantax injection, Tramadol and several other such hard drugs ostensibly to enable them perpetuate the attack on Communities in the state.
Abdullahi Shinkafi, a former National Secretary of All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA had, reportedly said that a gunrunner had sold over 250,000 live ammunition in company of some security personnel in the state. He had confirmed that the gunrunner who had engaged the services of thesecurity operatives ‘’as escort ‘to deliver ammunition to the Bandits in the bush have been arrested.
This is a message to other security operatives deployed to the state who play a double game in the banditry war in the north west state to watch it as Lt.General Ibrahim Attahiru, the Chief of Arrmy Staff, COAS, and his soldiers have beamed their searchlight on them.
An aggrieved Shinkafi, the former APGA, Chieftain had said that some Traditional rulers in the state are not helping matters as they contribute ‘’ to the heightened insecurity situation in the state by aiding the Bandits in return for the pecuniary material gains’’. This may have informed why he has appealed to the people of the state to support Matawalle Bello, the state governor to end the crisis .