With Uche Nnadozie
No matter how we look at it, there should be some method to madness. This is more so when the mad character isn’t yet pulled into an asylum. What played out in Kaduna state last week is simply wicked and vindictive. It’s even worse where the government apparatus of is dragged into the mix. If the Governor of Kaduna state, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai was man enough, then he should have done the demolition in his personal capacity. Not hiding behind the state government to commit evil.
Since after winning elections in 2015, the new party, All Progressives Congress, APC in that state began to pander to selfish factionalisation. It was until this month that the factions came to light. After the inauguration of a parallel party office, the building said to be owned by one of the leaders of the faction and a senator of the republic was reduced to rubble. The building located at 11b Sambo Road was demolished by the state government in the wee hours of Monday, last week.
At the last count, the party has broken into three factions. They are: The “Restoration APC,”’ led by Tijjani Ramallan and Suleiman Hunkuyi (owner of the demolished property), a senator; the “APC Akida,’’ led by Shehu Sani, also a senator, and the Chief of Staff to the Senate President, Hakeem Ahmed; and the “APC Government House,’’ led by the governor and his deputy.
Information about the demolition first got out through the owner of the building and it was strange. People naturally waited to confirm the authenticity of the news. Hunkuyi, a leader of “Restoration APC,’’ alleged that the demolition was masterminded by the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai.
Writing on twitter, the senator stated, “in the early hours of today, the @GovKaduna Mallam @elrufai personally drove a bulldozer accompanied by armored tanks to destroy my house at 11B Sambo Road. This is a new low and fighting dirty with such low level of pettiness is indeed unprecedented in Kaduna State.” Although, the governor did not “personally” drive the bulldozer to the demolition, whatever may be the case, his agents did.
In a swift reaction, the Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Agency, KAPSUDA in a statement signed by its Director-General, Ibrahim Husseini, said the demolition was part of operations the agency was undertaking across Kaduna metropolis in compliance with its mandate. “In partnership with sister agencies, KASUPDA is clearing illegal structures, tackling street hawking and restoring order across Kaduna.
“This morning, a building on 11B Sambo Close was removed for flagrant violations of land use and non-payment of ground rent since 2010. This illegal violation of use had begun to distress neighbours who were being forced to endure an influx of thugs and blockage of the road,” the statement read.
Trying to be smart by half, the agency said it duly served the occupants of the building a notice of revocation which they did not yield to. Here, the Kaduna government is the prosecutor, defendant and the judge. It is only a competent court of law that should sanction the demolition of a building in that manner. No agency of government has the right to unilaterally demolish a building not to talk about a building that is said to owe some lawful rates and taxes.
Speaking further, “the Kaduna Geographic Information Service, KADGIS issued a revocation notice of statutory right of occupancy No. KD. 16712, that covers 11b Sambo Close in the Ungwan Rimi area. The appropriate notice of revocation was delivered at 28 Inuwa Wada Road, the registered address of the company that held the title to the property. The notice was also delivered to the building in question, and sent by post to the registered address of the previous title holder.”
To complete the farce, the agency, KASUPDA claimed that the land will be turned into a public park. “The land has now been allocated to KASUPDA for the purpose of developing and maintaining a public park that will provide a green area and a serene place for recreation in that residential neighbourhood.”
The governor is not new to this sort of behaviour. Let us treat what he did in Abuja as FCT minister as a far gone event. But el-Rufai did do the same thing to another party leader. This demolition is coming barely a year after a building belonging to the North West Vice Chairman of APC, Inuwa Abdulkadir, was demolished by the state government.
This is typical jankara politics. A man who purports to have made first class in Quantity Surveying and also studied law later should not be seen to behave in such a lowly level. This is a governor that people think is a future leader. This event has reduced him to a local champion. Everything is wrong with the demolition. It does not show magnanimity at any level. Sure I am aware that he has waged political battles since 2015 against his traducers, yet in the end, it is still matters relating to politics. In this case people of the same political party. One can only imagine if this war was between the governor and members of the numerous opposition parties in Nigeria. Democracy brings with it a lot of intrigues and blackmail. But it doesn’t sound well for a governor to descend to the level of obvious malice, confrontation and outright bullying. His education should not indulge this sort of behaviour.
He has only succeeded in polarising his party the more. Now don’t get me wrong. I am equally aware that some of the senators representing the state also used their official position to block loans that should have been approved for their state. That too is spiteful politics. Nigerian politicians can play their tricks but must ensure that institutions of states are immune from their devilish schemes.