Nigeria: In need of Elrufa’ism




Kaduna state governor Nasir El-Rufai

Do you remember when El-Rufa’i chased bandits into the bush, along the Kaduna-Abuja expressway as he came across a bandit attack along the highway? He practically trailed the assailants into the bush, chasing the gunmen, along with his retinue of armed escorts. He just wouldn’t stand aside and watch the security men put their lives on the line alone. They had no choice put to cover him as they pursued the bandits. Some were shot, and a few escaped with injuries.

El-Rufa’i is a hands-on man and practically chases the reality of things to the letter. If you were a Chief of Air staff, with El-Rufa’i as your C-in-C, you would probably be called to a scenario where El-Rufa’i is in one of your bases, manning a drone attack himself. I bet you, he could even be in one of the Tucanos, spitting fire on terrorists; and you would end up answering yes sir to him, over the mic, from the fighterjet.

No garrison commander, or head of any of the counter terrorism would ever allow himself to be caught flat-footed by his irrepressible commander-in-chief. You can’t be in a command guest house somewhere, while your commander-in-chief is in an MWRAP elsewhere in the battle field, charging your soldiers on, to carry the battle to the terrorists. El-Rufa’i would not waste time in naming the bandits as terrorists, so he wouldn’t be handicapped in fully annihilating their terror! If all the North-western states’ governors had co-operated with El-Rufa’i’s plans long ago, they would have proactively put in place all the crunching measures — that would have ended the banditry plaguing the region today.

Do you know that Kaduna’s IGR of N13.6 billion in 2019 has grown to a whopping N51 billion in 2020, anticipating a N60 billion IGR in 2021? This could simply mean that our monthly federation allocation of an average of N600 billion, could be well over N1.5 trillion, to a probable N2 trillion monthly! El-Rufa’i would find all those nooks and crannies of our economy that are not yielding fruits to the federation account — and make sure they matter to our economy.

The Kaduna IGR example is a classic case of economic diversification, which is what Nigeria desperately needs. The PMB administration has laid the template for this, and what remains is the right lieutenants, to take it to the next level. States would be mandated to replicate the federal template on revenue generation, and there would be less pressure on the federal purse. More viable states would be the elixir to the economic emancipation of Nigerians. Governance would be made to impact on the local level, as revenue generated would reflect in the development of the rural areas. Under El-Rufa’i, revenue generation would not be a problem at all!

Have you seen how El-Rufa’i is developing a new generation of technocrats, entrepreneurs, and public servants? We have a chief executive in Kaduna state who is just 29 years old! Most of his commissioners are under 40 years of age. New metropolitan authorities have been constituted and are charged with the development of their base areas.

All these executives are young indigenes who are representing the younger generation well. El-Rufa’i is giving the youths a hands-on advantage of learning and gaining experience. He is grooming a new age of leadership in Kaduna state, which would never be bereft of ideas; and the zeal to implement those wonderful developmental ideas. This is aside the practice of making youths SAs or SSAs only, as the highest offices they can attain. This is profiting from the abundance of technical knowledge that the youths can offer. This is harvesting youth IT knowledge and potential, away from the yahoo-yahoo industry.

Nigerians aren’t so law abiding and are fond of cutting corners and profiting from the lapses of our laws, as well as law enforcement. Till date, no FCT minister is missed, the way El-Rufa’i is yearned for in Abuja. The disarray and chaos in Abuja is unbecoming. It would take an El-Rufa’i to reset the town and make it a befitting nation’s capital. I’m sure the income that the FCTA would generate will be unprecedented — enough to manage itself, with or without any federal intervention.

Kaduna has become one magnificent project site, as projects run rampage across the state. A before and after picture of the Kawo bridge area is breath-taking. ‘Kasuwan Barchi’ is now a ‘kasuwan farke’ (a transformed and brand new metropolitan market). I can only imagine the Mambila hydro project in the hands of El-Rufa’i, or the Abuja-Kano-Maiduguri highway. The North-eastern road networks’ deplorable situation would become history.

I’m sure the South-west and South-east would be filled with light rail networks. Industrialisation of our agro-allied processes would be in full swing, just the way agro-processing industries are springing up in Kaduna. We would then be ably competing with countries like Holland, in the production of milk. We could compete with Mexico in the export of tomatoes, where they make over $2 billion. El-Rufa’i would make sure that federal laws are respected and adhered to, and would make real scape goats, to deter other goats from grazing on the wrong side of the law. Nigeria desperately needs ‘Elrufaism’. If Nigerians can target their own national infrastructure and bring it down to a halt, who better to handle us?

Tahir is Talban Bauchi.