By Danjuma Musa
“To disregard what the world thinks of us is not only arrogant, but utterly shameless” Cicero
In more saner countries Babachir David -Lawal, the ignominiously sacked Secretary to Government of the Federation(SGF), on a ten (10) count charge trial bordering on fraud, diversion of funds and criminal conspiracy to the tune of over N500 million, would have retired from public space, isolated by his political party and clearly unwelcome to any self respecting community.
But Lawal rather than hide his head in ignominy, continues to insult the intelligence of Nigerians by refusing to be quiet, and in an attempt to become the “hero” of his people, who never mattered while he was SGF, he has embraced ethnicity and religion. Lawal has continued to show an incredulous temerity to insult the sensibilities of Nigerians on a daily basis, simply because he is beyond shame and doesn’t care a hoot what people think of him.
For the benefit of those that might have forgotten that “grass cutting” chapter of our national life, the main charge against the disgraced Babachir David-Lawal reads: “That you Engineer Babachir David – Lawal, while being Secretary to the Government of the Federation and a director of Rholavision Engineering Ltd on or about the 22nd August 2016 at Abuja in the Abuja judicial division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, did knowingly hold indirectly private interest in the contract awarded to Josmon Technological Ltd, but executed by Rholavision Engineering Ltd for the removal of invasive plant species and simplified irrigation to the tune of N258,132,735.99, by the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation though the Presidential Initiative for North East (PINE) and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 12 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000”.
The villain, the new “champion of minority rights” whose tenure as SGF was “disastrous and calamitous”, a cog in the wheel of good governance recently accused the Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai of fueling the Southern Kaduna crisis, a view that is at outlandish variance with his previously held position on the crisis while in office. The big question is what has changed?
In 2017, the Northern Nigeria Christian Politician(NNPC), a group wholly funded by Lawal, had in thanking the president for retaining Babachir David Lawal despite the allegations against him in the grass cutting scandal of their mentor, affirmed that political opponents of the President were behind the crisis in Southern Kaduna.
Keftin Amuga, chairman of the NNCP was vehement that “the perpetrators of the Southern Kaduna crisis are foot soldiers of President Muhammadu Buhari’s political opponents, who are committed to discrediting his administration ahead of 2019 general elections”.
The lingering question is what has changed, that Lawal is now holding El-Rufai single handedly responsible for the crisis, that is clearly criminal and that is not restricted to Southern Kaduna?
Between Lawal,whose glaring incompetence was largely responsible for the slow take off of the Muhammadu Buhari administration and El-Rufai there is no love lost. In one of his leaked memos, “The Immediate and Medium Term Imperatives for President Muhammadu Buhari” to the president, El-Rufai was categorical that the late Chief of Staff Abba Kyari and David Lawal were grossly incompetent to drive the machinery of government.
“The two officials whose titles may enable them function as such generally alienate those that contributed to our success”. He further described the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, as not only inexperienced in public service but lacking in humility, rude and insensitive to party leaders, ministers and governors. The scathing memo concluded that “neither of them has the personality, experience, and the reach to manage your politics nationally or even regionally”.
El- Rufai unfortunately has been proven right. Lawal, whose lack of finesse and gutter language is legendary, made several other false statements, but thankfully he never hid his personal animosity, which was the driving motive behind the interview, the other motive being the proxy war on behalf of his mentor, Bola Tinubu. Lawal naively believes that Bisi Akande and Bola Tinubu and not Buhari were responsible for his appointment, and like other Bola Tinubu boys is engaged in a proxy war on behalf of their leader, that El-Rufai rattled in the celebrated lecture on how godfathers can be defeated,and which to “rub insult to injury” was delivered right at Tinubu’s backyard.
Lawal, by the way has never hidden his desire to be Vice President to Tinubu, which is well within his right, as it’s also within the legitimate rights of others to stop the ticket. For the benefit of Lawal, Nasir El-Rufai, like Patrick Yakowa before him, was viciously attacked, the vehicles in his convey damaged on December 20th 2016 at Kafanchan where he had moved the State Security Council in solidarity with the people and continued search for peace.
And in spite of the campaign of calumny by the likes of Lawal, the Kaduna State Government has remained resolute in pushing for more robust security deployment in Southern Kaduna, due to the narrative by some people from the zone, who describe the banditry attacks as “genocide” and land grab, even though the security challenges in the Northern part, especially the Birnin – Gwari axis is a tragedy compared to the attacks on the South. So when Lawal accuses El-Rufai of being insensitive, he is clearly being mischievous.
It’s a shame that Lawal who clearly by accident became the SGF, and was in that position privy to security reports, was unaware of the various initiatives to restore peace to the area. That by early 2017, the Kaduna State Government, working with the Federal Government had addressed the decades-old demand for expanded, permanent security presence in southern Kaduna, with the Nigerian Army establishing a base in Kafanchan.
The Kaduna State Government equally bought an estate to accommodate the mobile police squadron that was also drafted to the area. And that the Federal Government also extended the mandate of Operation Safe Haven, based in neighbouring Plateau State, to cover Southern Kaduna.
On the other issues raised by Lawal, who seems to have very short memory, I leave him with the eternal words of Amuga his political man Friday. “We, therefore, demand that the federal government arrests and prosecutes both the masterminds and the foot soldiers”. With leaders in the mold of Lawal,who lack strategic foresight the Northern minorities are certainly like sheep, without shepherd.
Lawal, must have been preoccupied with his grass cutting contracts not to be informed that El-Rufai’s first official action as governor was to convene an emergency security meeting on 30 May 2015,due to reports of killings in Sanga LGA the previous day. The outcome of that meeting was the setting up of the General Martin Luther Agwai Committee “to study and proffer” solutions to the incessant killings in southern Kaduna which had intensified since the violent aftermath of the 2011 elections.
That emergency security meeting also decided to prepare a White Paper on the report of the Peace and Reconciliation Committee that had been established by the government of late Sir Patrick Yakowa.
Still determined to usher in a regime of peace, collaborating with the Plateau State Government and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, the Kafanchan Peace Declaration as a community-led effort for sustainable peace was unveiled on Saturday, 12 November 2016, with great optimism. At the heart of the Peace Apology billboard in Samaru-Kataf was the call for mutual forgiveness and a dedication to peaceful means of resolving differences.
Talk is scandalously cheap,which is why Lawal an epitome of incompetence and intellectual laziness can dare to call people names. Meanwhile, Lawal, owes “his people” some explanations of how his appointment changed the material wellbeing of the average northern Christian, the constituency that he is courting for his next appointment?
On the appointment of Ministers, Lawal as a “Buharist” is in a better position to inform Nigerians how the Buhari government selected his ministers because the governors had no input.