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Sunday, June 20, 2021

EL-RUFAI: The Execution of the Exemplar

EL-RUFAI: The Execution of the Exemplar
Since last week, when I saw the sudden upsurge of some video clips circulating in the social media in Hausa, wherein a fluent and powerfully persuasive person, probably speaking from the podium of a mosque or a place of worship, admonishing Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna, over his planned retrenchment of about 20,000 staff in the state, I knew that the road to the execution of the exemplar is not only earmarked, but evidently signposted.
Speaking with the oratory of a potent preacher, the executioner used admonitory words on Mallam Nasir, to the point of calling on the people to inflict political pain on him, for the simple reason of attempting to prune down the workforce of the state.
Shouting at the top of his voice, with the anger of someone whose source of slush funds is blocked or seized, the preacher was extremely high with hostility on El-Rufai, stopping short of calling for the immediate wrath of God to eliminate him, as the minimum in retribution.
I simply cut the audio off, when it got to a point where he said, “Who is a Governor and What is a Governor?.” I said, although this man sounded like an Islamic preacher, he doesn’t understand the meaning, or source of power in Islam.
The Quran 03:26 said,  “O Allah! You give power to whom You will and You take power from whom You will.”  And in the Verse of Obedience, surah an Nisa 59, it orders the believers to obey Allah, to obey the prophets and those vested with power or authority.
With such instructions from God, I dont know where this preacher is getting his spiritual authority, to denounce or discredit the legitimacy of the powers given to Governors by God.
Simply because God has given us the bounty of dictum, doesn’t mean we should engage our tongues in the negative. The Bible uses strong language to caution on the abusive use of words:
“The tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.”
I had no intention commenting on the issue, but when I received a message from a friend and senior colleague of the pen profession, threatening to transfer El-Rufai to the Black book, I said to my self, something must be done fast, to arrest the skid of sentiment.
The crux of the crisis is the speculation that Kaduna State Government is planning to downsize it’s workforce, and in an interview with Governor El-Rufai, he answered in the affirmative, saying: “In 2015, we announced that we will fight waste and ensure that government resources serve a majority of citizens rather than the few persons working for government. You will recall that we began doing verification in 2015 to help ensure the integrity of our payroll and weed out ghost workers. We also decried a situation where most public funds went into paying the wages of less than 100,000 public servants in a state with close to 10m people. Those who work must be paid, but the people of the state must also be served by their government. That is why we launched the public service reform and revitalisation programme in 2016. As part of the reform, we also reviewed salaries. We followed this up by increasing the minimum pension of persons on the defined benefits scheme to N30,000 monthly. This increased the wage burden of the state government and immediately sapped up the funds of many local governments. Due to the serious problems affecting our national economy, our state finances are stretched by salaries. What we receive from FAAC can barely pay salaries and overheads. In November 2020, we had only N162.9m left after paying salaries. That month, Kaduna State got N4.83bn from FAAC and paid N4.66bn as wages. In the last six months, personnel costs account for between 84.97% and 96.63% of our FAAC revenues. In March 2021, the state had only N321m left after settling personnel costs. We got N4.819bn from FAAC and paid out N4.498bn, representing 93% of the money we received. We were elected to develop the state, not just to pay the salaries of public servants. We were elected to promote equality of opportunity, to build and run schools and hospitals, upgrade infrastructure and make the state attractive to the private sector for jobs and investments.”
I failed maths with honours, so I wouldn’t be able to situate the position of 100, 000 people with respect to 10 million people in a ratio. But even at my poor maths, I can feel the weight of the difference and the irrationality in the immorality.
It is a pity that the very people that benefitted most from the system are the ones that are playing albatross on the same system. The elites, or those who exploited all the opportunities, are the ones turning round with ingratitude, to discredit any system that tries to bring in equity.
Almost all those in our generation went to school from primary to tertiary level on scholarship. After graduation, we were immediately absorbed into the civil service on monthly pays and allowances. Meanwhile, the resources used to train and automatically employ us, were state’s resources for every indigene of the state, regardless of his or her status.
Instead of us to thank God, for the rare privilege we had, which escaped other legitimate indigenes, we resort to castigating those who want to entrench egalitarianism. That is not only sinful, but devilishly diabolical. Are the resources ordained only for the service of our own selfish interests?
In other societies, people who had the advantage of benefitting from a system, give way to others to enjoy other benefits. This is done by going private, or using the knowledge acquired through a non governmental arrangement. That way, resources become free for better public benefit.
I once heard Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, in his capacity then as the Governor of Kano state saying, on the day of judgement, every leader would come before God in chains. It is the volume and value of the justice you delivered to your subjects that would unchain you.
I don’t know where this preacher of doom, the proponent of 20,000 workers above 10m people, who has taken it upon himself to endanger and execute El-Rufai, would stand on that day, when Allah is addressing leaders, that arrived before him in chains.
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