El-Rufai and the short trek to posterity

Hassan Gimba.
Hassan Gimba.
El-Rufai and the short trek to posterity

By Hassan Gimba

The chickens, the saying goes, always come home to roost. But some people would prefer to be Shakespearean by quoting the insightful words uttered by Marc Antony in William Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar, “the evil that men do lives after them while the good is oft interred with their bones.”

The first is a long-established English idiom that was used as early as 1390 AD in Chaucer’s The Parson’s Tale. It means that wicked deeds or words return to trouble their originator.

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In the second, spoken at Julius Caesar’s funeral, Mark Antony, referring to Brutus, Caesar’s murderer, was saying that when someone dies, the bad things they did continue to afflict the living, but the good things they did often do not, and therefore are buried along with the corpse.

The first one tells us that the law of karma is for the living and that like Frankenstein’s monster, every wrong and everything not done with good intention, especially against people, always turns around to torment the doer.

The second has now been overtaken by events, as we can see in today’s world. The bad ones do not wait for the leader’s death before they begin to haunt the person, as we shall soon see. Likewise, the good things they do, they leave them behind and we see them everywhere. Posterity is now, no longer tomorrow or left to be regurgitated by future generations.

About four years ago, my friends from Kaduna started being ecstatic whenever we met, beating their chests and clapping wildly, sometimes with even their feet, and telling me that El-Rufai was doing wonders constructing roads and fly-overs, tunnels and bridges, even telling me that he constructed one fly-over with four roundabouts under it.

I always did my best to calm them down. I would ask, with which revenue are the constructions being executed: locally generated or from the federation account? They would say he collected a foreign loan of hundreds of millions of dollars. And being “smart”, to get the loan, apart from local politics at the National Assembly, including ensuring that his lackey, now successor, was made chairman of a committee that could help facilitate the loan, he made someone from the loan givers an “honorary adviser” in his government. But this is for another day.

Then I would ask them simple but pointed questions like which construction companies are doing the work? Who owned them openly and who owned them through “blind trust” as with Obasanjo and Transcorp? I will then ask by how much the roads, bridges and fly-overs would increase the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and service the loans collected. To all these questions, their faces looked blank.

I believe that if a state must take a loan, then it should not go into servicing a lifestyle or financing projects that cannot repay the loan or improve IGR, except in the health sector.

I told them that the way things were going, a time would come when the state would not be able to pay salaries and render basic services to the people, by which time the loan taker would have since left the stage. Those who do not know would start accusing the new government of incompetence, whereas it was the past government that made the state “ungovernable”.

Fine, the roads and all have increased the value of houses and plots around them, and so what? In what way does that affect the poor man and his struggle to survive? The temporary appointments offered by the constructions are gone because the companies, not indigenous, have returned to base, boosting their areas of domicile.

Utilised differently, those loans could have been used to resuscitate moribund industries – and God knows Kaduna has a lot of them, build more, especially agro-allied ones. That would have offered direct and indirect employment to thousands of people who have dependents and eased the food insecurity in the land. The employed would pay taxes as that would have boosted the state’s IGR from which it can now embark on road constructions to open up rural and industrial areas and upgrade the infrastructure in the towns out of necessity.

Without taking anything from the above, part of the loans can also go into building world-class hospitals that could turn the state into a medical tourist centre. Intra-town transport service, which may include light rails, could have been done.

With massive employment at every corner, the crime rate in the state would have reduced significantly and the insecurity, especially incessant kidnappings bedevilling the state, wouldn’t be as it is now.

And so there is nothing wrong with Governor Uba Sani coming out to tell the citizens their situation: the state cannot pay salaries because out of its ₦10 billion share of the monthly dole outs, sadly, ₦7.5 billion goes into the payment of the debt of $587 million, ₦85 billion, and 115 contractual liabilities it inherited from the government of Mr El-Rufai.

Tragically, one of his sons, firing from all cylinders, instead of denting Uba Sani, ended up further soiling his father’s reputation. He claimed that the governor had “deflected” from his responsibilities and abandoned his duty as governor. “These guys have realised that they are wholly incompetent and the only way to mask the nonsense is to deflect. From a governor who is always sleeping in Abuja to a litany of incompetent aides who were only rewarded for foolish political reasons,” he vituperated.

By accusing the governor of being incompetent and surrounded by incompetent aides, El-Rufa’i’s son is only pointing at his father for picking and handing over to an incompetent lackey as well as foisting incompetent aides on it, right from the deputy governor down.

Many outgoing governors, or even presidents, go to extreme lengths to produce their successors, not necessarily because they are thinking of the continuation of any “good work” they are doing; they just want to ensure that their flagrant abuse of the people’s trust is buried, at least for the time being.

Now the people of Kaduna will feel the impact of the negative acts of selfish leadership. Many of them allowed themselves to be used, thinking they were “fighting for Islam”, while the “Chief Jihadist” was empowering himself, his family and friends.

It is on record that some far-sighted senators who fought to stop the loan were denied return tickets, to the accolades of those now feeling the heat. Even when the then-governor boasted that he had done more than the Sardauna who did what he did without collecting loans, the same characters were nodding their empty heads like agama lizards. And now a lot of these gullible empty-heads are thinking of such a character as president!

But this development, hopefully, will further entrench democracy in the country, as well as probity and accountability in governance.

As long as leaders do not work with the fear of God, good intentions and the welfare of their people in mind, they will be having altercations with their anointed, even if they are their biological children.

Hassan Gimba is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Neptune Prime.

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