Ganduje and the proxy war with El-Rufai

There is no doubt that the Kano state government has for quite some time been spoiling for a fight with Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna state, over his unalloyed loyalty to Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, his long standing friend that as the last emir of Kano was a thorn in the flesh of Abdullahi Ganduje, Governor of Kano state. Despite strident efforts by well meaning Nigerians, Ganduje not only deposed Sanusi, but split Kano Emirate into five emirates. The Kano state government’s handling of the coronavirus was to bring both men to another head on confrontation. While the Kaduna state government was fantastic in its management of the rampaging pandemic, the same can’t be said of Kano state, that was in denial until the federal government was forced to step in. 

Unfortunately, every attempt to ridicule El-Rufai like the laughable and utterly false press statement by Abba Anwar, Ganduje’s Chief Press Secretary, that “El-Rufai is copying Ganduje in fight against drug abuse” – always fantastically falls flat on its face. 

The press statement by Abba Anwar, is laughable and unfortunately not true, but thankfully self debunking, because it contains the ammunition to refute the fat lie by the Kano state government. Hear Abba Anwar,  “Because we are determined in this fight, that is why we said we must institutionalise the effort. A Bill is before the state assembly on Drug Administration Agency”.

On assumption of office in 2015, El-Rufai inaugurated the Bala Bantex Committee on Substance Abuse, which recommended the setting up of the Kaduna State Bureau of Substance Abuse, Prevention and Treatment (KADBUSA). So how can El-Rufai who by 2015 had already set up the agency to combat the menace of drug abuse, be copying from a man who is just about sending a law to that effect to the House of Assembly? In August 2016, after the KADBUSA law was enacted, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai appointed Dr. Isah Baka as the pioneer DG of the KADBUSA. Baka was replaced in 2019 by Dr. Joseph Maigari, a consultant psychiatrist. The Commandant of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency(NDLEA) Kano office, Dr Ibrahim Abdul, the source of the glaring misinformation can be pardoned for peddling falsehood. But for his education Kaduna state doesn’t have a special adviser on substance abuse, but a director general, in charge of the agency. 

The unwavering commitment of El- Rufai to combating the drug menace has seen him go beyond setting up KADBUSA to active engagement, the benefit from his days as minister of the Federal Capital Territory. His wife Aisha Mohammed El-Rufai chairs a State Standing Committee on Drugs Abuse, that organises the popular Arewa Drug Free Movement Walk, which aims to draw attention to the scourge of drug abuse and the need to eradicate it from the North, and not just Kaduna state. The Kaduna state strategy is clearly more encompassing as it raises awareness, addresses demand and supply and treatment. 

The facts clearly show that Ganduje is playing catch-up in the matter of tackling the drug abuse scourge. He is in the process of implementing in 2020 what El-Rufai started implementing in 2015, and unfortunately allowing his misguided media aides to associate him with patently false claims. 

There is nothing wrong with copying, so long as what is being imitated is progressive, efficient and fair. Where would the world be if each individual insisted on inventing their own wheel? Most people simply took the rational decision to use the wheel or to make it with better materials. It would really be nice to become a fount of ideas and actions that others would emulate for the public good.

Modern governance benefits from comparative experience. That is why the National Economic Council (NEC) adopted a resolution in 2007, based on the African Union Peer Review Mechanism, for states to peer review themselves, a resolution that was subsequently endorsed by the Nigerian Governors Forum. The objective of the States Peer Review Mechanism (SPRM) was to “assist states to foster good governance and accelerate the pace of their development through periodic reviews of progress in the implementation of their development policies, plans and programmes”. The expectation is that “through participation in the peer review process, state governors” would adapt and adopt innovative and good practices in their respective states, because it’s a precious waste of time trying to reinvent the wheel. 

So assuming, but without conceding that El-Rufai shamelessly copied from Ganduje’s “award winning” drug fighting strategy, he wouldn’t have broken any law, rather he has lent credence to the SPRM. And giving his education, El-Rufai, contrary to the negative impression spread about him by his traducers, readily acknowledges copying from others, like he recently acknowledged during the birthday colloquium of Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Interior, because originality is non-existent, the difference, like Luc Godard argues is “not where you take things from,  it’s where you take them to”. 

Hear El-Rufai, “I had to send officials from Kaduna to under-study his (Aregbesola) style and system of governance. And l spent some time with him for tutorials. I am not ashamed to copy when I see something that is good. In fact, I am shameless when it comes to learning. These days, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. There’s no new idea. If something has worked somewhere, there’s nothing shameful in borrowing and replicating it”. So without doubt there is absolutely nothing for the Kano state government to celebrate about, because if in reality he “copied” from Ganduje he would most certainly acknowledge without any inhibition. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything to copy from the Kano state government on the war against drug abuse. 

The Kano state government is hereby put on notice, that in the future El-Rufai would take similar swift actions to enforce presidential ban on interstate travel, and to protect his citizens from being infected. If the Kano state government had been proactive, El-Rufai wouldn’t have been forced to take the actions he took, including deploying his commissioners to monitor the ban. It was a duty thrust on him and his action was not in any way personal. Being a gateway state, El-Rufai had a responsibility to safeguard the citizens of Kaduna state and he owes no one any apology for the various steps he took.

Musa writes from Kaduna

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