Kaduna, the historic city upon which sat the seat of government of what used to be Northern Nigeria until the series of creation of states in the country is in the news in a paradoxical way. While a grand durbar attended by the leaders of the region – governors, traditional rulers, politicians, etc, marked a hundred years of the city, a section of the state timed its protest of marginalisation to coincide with the occasion, thereby raising the question whether it was a coincidence or the politics of killjoy. Whichever one it is, the Southern Kaduna People’s Union, (SOKAPU) brought up a problem peculiar to no less than six other states in Nigeria presently: perceived marginalisation of certain groups from power.
For keen observers of Nigerian politics, this is nothing new. The question is why it keeps re-occurring but has had no answer. If it is nonsensical, why has it not been proved so by now? If it is reasonable sentiment, why is it that no individuals, power caucuses and leaders thought about how to solve the problem? Is it the case that the elite in these six states have not heard how their counterpart in Cross Rivers State have responded to the same problem in a very educated manner?
To be fair, a solution to the problem of exclusion unique to those states was contemplated under the Obasanjo administration. How even Obasanjo himself could not put it into practice is the puzzle now. So, the matter remains unattended to. Even the principle of rotation of power that should have resolved that is made not to fly.
Instead of solving the problem, beneficiaries would be alleging that the complaining groups are bringing ethnic or religious consideration into the matter when they themselves have exploited the same ethnic and religious politics to have retained the power. It presents the same situation as when an armed robber declares his hatred for dishonest people.
Now, SOKAPU, fro instance, is making the call for its own state out of Kaduna on the ground that it has never produced a governor for the state nor about to produce one. The call apparently aimed at contradicting Nasir el-Rufai, the Kaduna State governor’s claim of Kaduna being at home with best practices is predicated on the position that it would be very difficult for them to make any headway politically or produce their own son or daughter as the governor of the state under the current circumstance.
“The present delineation of federal and state constituencies, wards, local government areas, registration areas, polling units are deliberately skewed to the disadvantage of the people of Southern Kaduna and other ethnic minorities in the north so that a person of Southern Kaduna extraction for instance will find it almost impossible to aspire to hold certain critical positions in Kaduna State e.g. Governor”
What is in the DNA of the Nigerian power elite that enables them to comfortably close their eyes to exclusionary practices until it explodes? Is it possible that they do not know that they undermine their own class power and long term interests by such behavioural tendencies?