Quick one on 12 August
This morning, I was on Freshly Pressed on Smooth 98.1 FM, Lagos. Some of the stories we talked about included Malami’s attempt to bully the governors over $418 million, and El Rufai’s letter to Buhari about a new government in Kaduna…
We have to look at Malami’s behaviour beyond just Nigeria’s political elite squabbling, as usual, for money. Malami has repeatedly attempted to get this $418 million out for these four contractors despite court pronouncements and ongoing litigation on the matter — another manifestation of his disdain for the rule of law.
Fundamental question: is there a compelling reason to rush through this refund before Buhari, and thus Malami, leave office in a few months?
What is the hurry?
Isn’t government a continuum and so the next government can pay it off if the courts rule that way?
Sadly, cases of Nigerian officials pushing proposals for personal benefit are not rare. The key difference is that, in this case, the governors are an equally powerful group and where their interests are clear, they know how to use the instruments of law and due process to tackle issues.
Conversely, this implies that where they fail to do so, such as in this ASUU strike, they do not see such issues as their interest. If you have not seen BudgIt’s report on states that are owing salaries, and I am ashamed of the SE/SS, then you need to see it now.
We need to engage our states a lot more.
Meanwhile, on the letter that El Rufai wrote to Buhari, I wish I can feel some satisfaction over it, especially after all the insults I’ve received over the years from rabid APC fans on these streets for saying the obvious that the ungoverned spaces in the North-West would become a huge problem one day. Sadly, I can’t. Human life is at stake here, and these groups, Ansaru especially, are in the process of creating new facts on the ground. Some years back, SBM Intelligence did a video on them two years ago that’s worth watching.
We have reached the point where we will have to negotiate with one or more of these armed groups and give concessions. The Nigerian state simply lacks the ability to take all of them on at the same time. And our getting to this point is simply because of the hypocrisy of El Rufai and his ilk. Just a year ago, he was calling these same groups “businessmen”…