By Manasseh Turaki
In today’s Nigeria, religionists have put themselves on top of everyone. No, we have put them on top of us. They set the pace dragging all of us by the nose.
Often their personal agenda are shrouded in the defence of a faith that is allegedly raped. We should be careful. And this concerns the two competing religions in Nigeria.
No one should deceive anyone that his position is honest, objective and without bias. I am not pretending to be making any messianic submission. I am an interested party as are many of the people who are speaking for a people and area called Southern Kaduna.
Take for instance, the issue of the forthcoming gubernatorial election. The positions being canvassed only make sense when you know the personal interests behind them. Otherwise, how can Southern Kaduna which feels oppressed politically and by their faith now reject one of their own for a Muslim ticket? And that this is done in the name of rejecting a Muslim who has a deputy as Muslim!
Did Labour perform so woefully in the last election that Asake cannot be trusted to win? Will Ashiru cease to be a Muslim or not pursue a perceived Islamic agenda simply because he has a Christian running mate? How many deputy governors in Nigeria have a say in how their governors administer their states? Why should the loss of the deputy governorship of one party, a mere symbolic representation, be meted with vendetta upon members of that party and even other parties in same community?
So instead of consolidating the superlative gains of Southern Kaduna through Labour Party, some people are determined to scuttle it because they are already well positioned in a particular party, the PDP. What is it that will earn Southern Kaduna respect for future elections in Nigeria? Is it standing as a bloc in LP to be distinctly noticed and feared as happened in the presidential election or going under PDP and be swallowed up and made insignificant?
Always beware of any investment that gives quick returns. It will not last. Those with privileged positions in PDP are thinking of their quick gains and not that of their children. Whereas with Labour it is an investment for the future: It prepares southern Kaduna for future negotiations from positions of strength as the zone would have proven its capacity for producing bloc votes.
APC, with its power of incumbency, is showing indications that it will win the gubernatorial election having noted its errors in the presidential election. But the politicians in southern Kaduna who are known to have populated PDP will not see it and will not let their followers see it. So the thought of even using the outing in the presidential election to bargain for stronger positions with the APC will not even arise.
What is more is that in the last election, APC had no money flying around while the PDP lined up their pockets with the new currency that was not available to talakawa. I am told that the minimum amount deployed for the election of Atiku and his cohorts was N150,000 per polling unit! True, inda baki ya karkata nan miyo ke zuba.
Now tell me, when APC again wins election on Saturday March 11, and Southern Kaduna is again sidelined for non-support, who will be blamed? Again tell me, this deputy governorship, is it more consequential than the office of a commissioner let a lone that of Secretary to State Government or Minister?
Why have politicians in the zone not thought of bargaining for a number of commissioners or SSG and or Ministerial slot with the APC? What exactly did Ashiru Kudan and the PDP promise Southern Kaduna apart from the redundant office of deputy governor that its political elite is dragging the zone down the drains? They should speak up if there is anything that they have bargained for!
The case of Adara is even more pathetic. This is a cultural group that is yet to be accepted into the Southern Kaduna fold. It is only mobilised when it suits the interest of the political elite of Southern Kaduna. Nothing else. See the manner of the suspension of Mr. Dio Maisamari, an Adara, as acting President of SOKAPAU, simply because he does not belong. If the office of the deputy governor is something, no one even remembers that Adara has a gubernatorial running mate in the person of Dr. Sani Mazawaje of the NNPP. Of course, he too does not belong.
Dr. Mazawaje was picked by Suleiman Hunkuyi because he comes from the largest ethnic group South of Kaduna. NNPP calculated that he would receive support from his kinsmen enough to shove up the votes of the party. It never happened. Even Adara betrayed him. The political hegemony in the area is against him and his people in favour of the PDP.
Who will ever give them such an opportunity again knowing that they do not rally around one of their own?
The PDP has over time therefore arrogated upon itself the right to speak even for others in Southern Kaduna. Even against Asake’s consent they are propagating news of political alliance with the Labour Party. And it is unfortunate that this propagation is being done in collaboration with a section of religious leaders in Southern Kaduna.
People have forgotten that the Kaduna State CAN chairman is a member of the PDP and held a political appointment when the PDP held sway in the state. How ‘neutral’ can such a person be in providing political direction for his followers?
Turaki wrote from Kaduna