Politics, for Nigerian politicians, is a mere clash of interests which they often manage to masquerade as a contest of principles. For them, politics is simply an avenue that allows them to make their selfish desires seem like national interests without raising so much suspicion.
Of a truth, millions of innocent and law-abiding Nigerians did not see the current naira swap saga coming. Over the past two weeks, the cash redesign policy has seen an unexpected wave of cash crunch visited on the long-suffering populace without the brains behind it considering the grave implications on them or how to cushion the effects.
If, according to the Central Bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the aim of the naira redesign was to curtail slush funds in the hands of the kidnap kingpins as well as to drastically reduce the over bearing influence of money on politics, given the alarming rate of poverty in the country, one would say that the aims were salutary and should be commended.
But that is not the real issue, the issue is that for suffering Nigerians, it is amusing and perhaps more interesting to see Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai abdicate his duties as State Governor in search of succour for the masses. Wonders shall not end they say!
It is interesting because rather than working to first secure the lives of his citizens first in the heavily terrorist-infested Kaduna, his immediate concern, appears to be the kind of money they spend.
From one media house to media another hopelessly jumped as he continued to preach his message that Nigerians were suffering and needed to be rescued. While those media rounds lasted, he was ravenous and ravening, and seemed consistent in his quest to fight for the interest of the ‘common man’.
Many Nigerians were shocked to see El-Rufai swap roles with the opposition parties despite his perceived closeness to President Muhammadu Buhari and his so-called ‘cabal’. From that vantage position, he did the absurd. He launched a ferocious onslaught on Aso Rock and its chief occupant who was obviously the same President he used to be purportedly loyal to.
During the media rounds, El-Rufai dared the so-called dreaded cabals, calling them out for war in the process because he was quite convinced that they needed to be checked. According to him, their aim was to scuttle the presidential ambition of his new lord and personal saviour, Bola Ahmed Tinubu using the ill-timed naira re-design and fuel crisis.
Right after firing the first shot, he went on to recruit like minds. Governors Bello Matawalle and Yahaya Bello of Zamfara and Kogi States respectively fell for it almost immediately, and off to the Supreme Court they went to block the CBN from going on with the implementation of the naira policy. For these Governors, speed became their watchword. Nigerians knew very well that these Governors were motivated by their self-interests but no one seemed to imagine that these Governors were that wicked and parochial.
For a faulty motive, these governors and their likes have since then continued to boil and fume, not for the collective will of Nigerians but for their own self-motivated interests.
Rather than tell Nigerians that criminals, bandits, and terrorists who have billions of old naira notes stashed in the forests were on his neck, El-Rufai kept insisting that Nigerians were suffering and needed to be allowed to use the old notes to survive the hardship.
Many Nigerians since then have been wondering where El-Rufai, the new champion of the common masses has been on all this while. They have been confused as to why El-rufai and his fellow attention-seeking Governors never saw the need to stand in the gap for Nigerians when their children in government-owned universities were forced to stay home for eight months for no fault of theirs last year or why the persistent fuel crisis which has now become endless never got their attention. El-Rufai never deemed it fit to complain to Aso Rock, and neither did they go to court. Rather than fix the rot in the educational system, they always fly their children abroad to get the education available to mankind and they flaunt this with reckless abandon.
It is sad to imagine that Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom as a lone voice in the wilderness has continued to cry his heart out against killer Fulani herdsmen and none of his colleagues have deemed it fit to add their voice to his call or rush to the Supreme court to compel the Federal Government and the Nigerian army to rejig the security architecture of the country. Rather than do that, they prefer to mock him because their wicked interests were not involved.
El-Rufai and his goons were hit below the belt by the policy of the CBN and that is what their reactions have shown. Against their wishes and plans, their vote-buying agenda was truncated, scuttled, and derailed and that was enough to ruffle their feathers. How can one even wrap his or her arms around it? They got to office on the back of empty promises only to end up living a life of deceit not giving a hoot about the pains of the people they are governing.
Lately, Nigeria can be likened to an enormous, bizarre kitchen where all sorts of concoctions are recklessly thrown up. Issues that break other countries into irreconcilable pieces are mere pastimes here and this explains El-Rufai’s temerity and why he was emboldened to become impatient in his defiance which motivated insubordination on his part.
On Monday, February 7, 2023, he did the unthinkable. He practically jumped out of his cage, spitting fire. He roared to the high heavens. He poured out. He let off his pent-up anger. He ranted all the way. No pretense about his real element. He lost his self-control, he threw it to the wild winds. All known and unknown cautions were ignored. He fought dirty as if he would not fight another fight.
El-Rufai vomited. He was cross, and vexed. He angrily told his trader audience to rebel. In fact and indeed, he led the insurrection:
‘Nasir El-Rufai, Uba Sani, and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu promise you that if we (APC) are elected, this policy will be changed. Everyone will be given sufficient time to change their money’ he roared.
No ambiguity whatsoever was intended and he meant every word pronounced. He went on to issue a counter-order:
‘Stop taking your money to banks, keep them with you. Nobody can make your money to become worthless. It is the law; nobody can do it.’ He even relied on the same law to justify his action
He was not done yet: ‘It’s just a matter of time, be patient. We have 18 days to the elections. Once the elections are over, you should expect what Tinubu would say, which is the change of this policy’.
He was so cocksure: ‘You should help us pass this message to relatives. Everyone should stop taking money to banks. Continue trading with the old notes’.
One can only imagine what would have happened if this treasonable message had emanated from any other part of the country but the North! One will only wonder.
From those interactions, one can clearly see that El-Rufai was out to rock the boat. Sadly, no one will create an Nnamdi Kanu or Sunday Igboho out of him. His immunity is giving him uncanny audacity. Guts for anti-people policies. And leading him to revolt against the very citizens he swore to protect.
In conclusion, it is great that Nigerians were able to see through his antics. El-Rufai is only wallowing in a delusion of grandeur and thankfully, in three months’ time, he will be history. Nigerians must start making sure jokers like him never make it to public office under any guise in any part of the country.