EL-RUFAI’S DEFICIT: DEMOCRACY AND PLURALISM

By Kajit J Bagu (John Paul), PhD, (Edinburgh).
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WITHOUT PREJUDICE In exercise of my rights to freedom of expression, I wish to make the following observations about His Excellency, Governor Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai and his government, especially now that he has practically declared Martial Law in most of Kaduna State at a festive period (Or indeed any period).
To his clearly well-intended mind, the town hall meetings and feedback therefrom are sufficient demonstrations of democratic and pluralistic ideals in governance. To him, factors like indigeneity and its pluralistic character in a post-colonial, post-military and pseudo-autocratic order like ‘Nigeria’ and Kaduna State, are mere irritants. Therein lies his near innocent deficit which as they say, ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’- Saint Bernard of Clairvoux.
El-Rufai means well and must be commended for his firm determination NOT TO PAY ‘noise makers’ who live to criticise Government and be paid to keep silent till the money gets exhausted.
Listening to Governor Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai yesterday, you get the sense that he means well but is carrying a load beyond the scope of his worldview. He is a Quantity Surveyor being deputised by an Architect. I listened to his media chat yesterday 21 December 2016 from start to finish and perhaps am now in position to understand the deeper levels of the origins of his deficit as a democratic Governor.
INDICATORS OF DEFICIT:
  1. He is ‘tabular rasa’ (clean, plain, blank) in understanding the ideas of pluralism and multiculturlism, moreso as they affect Kaduna State;
  2. He is a consummate cosmopolitan who should ideally be with Kwame Anthony Appiah in the USA, as a foreigner-settler who has no idea of indigenous peoples or rights and the accompanying sensitivities, something like what James Tully calls ‘Rootless Cosmopolitanism’. The ironic caveat is just that he seems to be keenly aware of his roots in Guinea and beyond as a Fulani man, and thus compulsively detests the idea of indigenous peoples and their sensitivities in these parts (Kaduna), where the Fulanis would logically be ‘immigrants’ (even if 200 years or more) and thus, settlers within that context;
  3. His ‘political philosophy’ (if we may call a collection of his ideas about governing a political society such), is a version of the fundamentally discredited ideas Utilitarianism and Positivism where the law of force holds sway, and the will of the ‘Political Majority’ (real or imagined) can trump the others, even if it means exterminating them. This seems to be the case despite his efforts to think he is treating everyone equally as seen from his reference to treating the Senatorial areas (1,2 and 3) equally, despite having the least votes from 3 at the last General Elections (something he keeps making reference to);
  4. His sub-conscious mind (of which he is not even aware) operates to place and treat people of his own identity as ‘normal’, and those of other diverse identities as somehow sub-normal and thus sub-human. Remember I said sub-conscious, so do not expect either himself or those in his worldview to appreciate this. This is why he cannot possibly imagine sending a task-force against the heavily armed Fulani Herdsmen who have invaded, killed and expelled indigenous communities around Godogodo, Sanga, Gidan-Waya axis with recurrent murders of farmers, rapes of women and orders ‘not to return to the land’ (A victim came to my office to narrate his family’s ordeals at Gidan Waya axis and how armed Fulanis ordered them never to return to their lands. Anyone is welcome to take this up). His deputy’s assimilated nature in this regard complicates the deficit when he refers to the killings as ‘so-called’ (His December interview with Channels TV), and the Fulanis as ‘Indigenous Fulanis’;
  5. His ‘perfect relationship’ with his deputy poses the greatest threat to his understanding and appreciation of his democratic and pluralistic deficit. The two have become so much assimilated into one (The El-Rufai in them assimilating the Barnabas in them so that the Barnabas disappears and settles into the El-Rufai), to the point that democratic dissent, arguments and conflict between the top two leaders, healthy for governing a diverse citizenry, is missing. The effect is that they live in a blissful parallel world of perception, cut-off from the realities of pluralistic dissent and engagement. In this, he cannot but perceive anything outside his radar as ‘hostile’ and ‘enemy’. Even his deputy thus loses the capacity to mirror the concerns of his people from Souther Kaduna who consequently get increasingly agitated and act in ways that seem irrational to El-Rufai, but which is perfectly rational. They have lost confidence on the Deputy as representing and projecting their voice;
  6. His dominant predisposition is to treat the populace like a structure to be surveyed in quantities, and put in shape. His efforts to acquire the skills of governing democratic society are clearly significant, but sadly, they are peripheral and lacking the crucial rootedness necessary for a society that existed prior to either the Fulani immigration (and/or invasion) to these parts of West Africa, or the British Colonial adventures which led to the artificial edifice ‘Nigeria’. His response to issues arising from these realities are therefore reductionist and likely to trivialise, condemn and discard same, using a variety of terms.
There are many others I could outline as a Constitutional Theorist and Political Philosopher who has studied these and related issues in different global contexts and examined/contexualised the domestic ‘Nigerian’ context.
By Kajit J Bagu (John Paul), PhD, (Edinburgh).
[email protected]

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