Today, Wednesday, December 13, 2017, Yours Truly stumbled on some photos on the verified Facebook Page of the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, where he was reportedly signing some documents for a whopping N1billion Libel Suit, he is bringing against one Baba Ahmed Datti.
Since May 29, 2015, when he was rail-road to power via the ‘Change’ Vehicle of President Muhammadu Buhari, till date, this is the third Defamation Suit that I know Governor El-Rufai is bringing against some Nigerians, perhaps who were just being critical of his administration.
If Nigerians were told that a serial and vociferous government critic like El-Rufai would become so averse to criticisms when he gets executive powers, they wouldn’t believe. I mean, the same Nasir El-Rufai- a serial critic of Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and more recently, Goodluck Jonathan. Indeed, life is mysterious.
This dramatic U-turn and Governor El-Rufai’s penchant for bringing lawsuits against his critics was what the 19th-century British politician; Lord Acton saw when he said of men: “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
No doubt, El-Rufai over the last two and half years has shown that he can’t belly criticisms just like the Jonathan’s of this world bellied his serial criticisms and #LiesFromThePitOfHell.
Nasir El-Rufai Vs Audu Maikori
Recall that in February 2017, Chocolate City boss, Audu Maikori, was arrested by the Nigeria Police on charges of incitement, based on a petition by the Kaduna State Government.
Maikori, an indigene of Southern Kaduna had been at the forefront of advocacy to bring the world’s attention to the Southern Kaduna carnage following admittance by the Kaduna State Governor that he had paid some murderous Fulani herdsmen aggressors to stop the wanton killings, particularly in Southern Kaduna.
Maikori was arrested by the Nigeria Police on charges of incitement based on a petition by the Kaduna State government attributed to a tweet where he had called the attention of Nigerians and the global community on the carnage against his Southern Kaduna People. Just a tweet and El-Rufai picked up Maikori with his executive powers? Same El-Rufai whose lies particularly against former President Jonathan were busted on several occasions?
Well, the long and short of this story is that Maikori sued El-Rufai for the gross violation of his human rights in a suit (FHC/ABJ/CS/385/17) dated May 16, 2017, filed by his lawyers, Ballason’s Chambers, before Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja. Maikori had the suit sought for damages to the tune of N10 billion.
Maikori prayed the court to enforce his fundamental rights against undue harassment and intimidation by the Kaduna State government, the State Governor and the Nigerian Police.
Meanwhile, on October 27, 2017, the Federal High Court, Abuja ordered Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State and three others to pay N40million as damages to Audu Maikori. Has this money been paid?
Nasir El-Rufai Vs Luka Biniyat
Before we could say Jack Robinson, on July 12, 2017, owing to a suit filed by Governor Nasir El-Rufai, former Kaduna State Bureau Chief of Vanguard Newspaper, Luka Binniyat, was remanded in Prison custody by Justice Bashir Sukola of the Kaduna State High Court. The Judge granted Binniyat bail under very strict conditions.
Binniyat, a vocal critic of El-Rufai’s handling of the Southern Kaduna crisis, had reported that herdsmen attacked and killed five students of the College of Education, Gidan Waya, Kaduna State. According to him, the story was based on information given to him by a resident in the area, but it was later discovered that no such attack took place in that area.
Governor El-Rufai subsequently got Binniyat arrested and charged to court for “spreading false information” which, according to him and his handlers “was capable of disrupting the public peace.” Despite apologies by Binniyat for the error and withdrawal of the story, Governor El-Rufai hardened his heart like an Emperor, arresting and remanding poor Binniyat.
Nasir El-Rufai Vs Datti Baba Ahmed
Today (13/12/2017), photos and story making the rounds say Governor Nasir El-Rufai was at the Kaduna State High Court to personally sign a lawsuit against a former chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr Datti Baba Ahmed for defamation, saying El-Rufai is claiming a whopping N1billion as damages. What a Governor and Father of the whole Kaduna Indigenes.
Datti Baba Ahmed was a member of the House of Representatives from 2003 to 2007 and later Senator under the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, in 2011.
He had just recently returned to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, but not after describing the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari as “incompetent, corrupt and a lying government.”
From my personal research, the relationship between El-Rufai and Ahmed fell apart after the 2015 Elections, when El-Rufai emerged as the APC Gubernatorial candidate ahead of Ahmed.
On July 26, 2017, Ahmed had penned an explosive Op-Ed entitled: “El-Rufai’s vituperations against Sardauna, Awolowo, Zik,” published on Daily Trust, where he had blasted El-Rufai over his YouTube video clip, where he had purportedly criticized Sir Ahmadu Bello, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe for not doing enough to build the nation, Nigeria.
Among other things, Ahmed had in the piece chronicled El-Rufai’s grass to grace sojourn in Nigeria’s political firmament since 1999; how he had allegedly called Senators fools during a Ministerial Screening; his unfair comments against former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; General Muhammadu Buhari (before 2015); Obasanjo.
The article read in part: “Nasiru is a risk to himself, his people, party, and government. The 2014/15 largesse and his election contributions to APC can never justify the damage this man is causing. As he insults, he is looting the state dry and promoting insecurity. As he plots 2019 presidency, and schemes to deputise Osinbajo by force, his state is left to burn and her resources for his personal use.
“I can go on. But to conclude this distraction, I observe that there is hardly anyone left now for Nasiru to insult. He can either go higher up and commit blasphemy or descend on his hopelessly misgoverned people. May God help us calm Nasiru down.”
However, El-Rufai had also replied Ahmed in a Bombastic Rejoinder. But while the pint-sized Governor is now filing a Libel Suit against Ahmed is what Yours Truly cannot fathom. For me, I think Ahmed is his match, so, let them have their field day in court.
My Take Home
Amid Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s penchant for bringing frivolous lawsuits against his fierce critics, like Obasanjo, I recognise the fact that he is intelligent, having bagged First Class in Quantity Surveying from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. But whether this translates to a large heart for accepting criticisms, Yours Truly, says CAPITAL NO!
Let’s hear what Obasanjo said of El-Rufai in his controversial book- My Watch:
“A leader must know the character and ability of his subordinates. Character-wise, Nasir has not much going for him. But he is a talented young man who can always deliver under close supervision.
“So, when Osita Chidoka approached, among others, propping Nasir as my possible successor, believing that whoever I supported would make it, which was a false belief; I did not hesitate to point to Nasir’s naivety and immaturity, talk less of his inability to give honour to whom honour is due.
“My vivid recollection of him is the penchant for lying, for unfair embellishment of stories and his inability to sustain loyalty for long. Two years after I had left office, Osita came to me to confirm how right I was in my assessment and judgment of Nasir. I knew what I could make him achieve and he achieved it for my administration and for the country.
“I believe that he can still be used in public service but under the guidance and sufficient oversight, making allowance for the psychology of “his petit size and his elephantine brain.” He was described as a malicious liar. He was more than that; he is a pathological purveyor of untruths and half-truths with little or no regard for integrity. In all of this, he unwittingly does more harm than good to himself.”
By and large, I seize this medium to do a quick reminder to Governor Nasir El-Rufai on how he had lied against former President Jonathan in a Facebook post on October 1, 2015.
It has gone down in the history of Nigeria that former Minister of National Planning and National Publicity Secretary aspirant at the PDP Convention, Professor Abubakar Sulaiman, was that man who checkmated the penchant of Governor Nasir El-rufai of Kaduna State for dishing out Lies and Black Propaganda against former President Goodluck Jonathan and his administration.
If we all recall, Governor El-rufai had penchants for dishing out a lot of falsehoods against Jonathan and his government since he left the PDP and joined opposition politics.
But the last straw that broke the (El-rufai’s) back, was when he lied to Nigerians via his Facebook page on October 1, 2015, that the Jonathan administration spent a mind-boggling N64billion for the country’s independence anniversaries in four years (2011-2014).
El-rufai who was as usual then, still basking in the euphoria of Buhari’s victory, perhaps wanted to please Buhari by proclaiming that while Buhari earmarked N70 million as the spending for the 2015 Independence anniversary, the Jonathan administration had spent N64billion to cover the country independence anniversary spending in four years, giving the breakdown as:
N13billion spent in 2011; N15billion in 2012; N14billion in 2013 and N22billion in 2014.
Where the petite-sized Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-rufai got that falsified statistics is yet to be explained to Nigerians till date by him, even after he was busted by Prof. Sulaiman.
Busting El-rufai, on October 4, 2015, Prof Sulaiman who is also the Spokesman for former Ministers’ Forum, had in a strong-worded and widely circulated press statement, disclosed that the Goodluck Jonathan administration only spent N333 million on three independence anniversaries (2012-2014) and not the billions of naira alleged by the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai.
In the statement, Prof Sulaiman described as “tissue of lies” the statement by Mr El-Rufai on his Facebook wall that the Jonathan administration spent billions of naira on Nigeria’s independence anniversary celebrations between 2011-2014.
Conclusively, I hereby admonish Governor El-Rufai to look back and understand where he was coming from. He must remember that Power is not permanent but Transient.
Ikenna Asomba is a Social Commentator.