Most Nigerian students and youths of present age may most likely not be conversant with the name, Kaduna Mafia. Yet Kaduna Mafia welded immense power as it controlled virtually every thing about Nigeria. Kaduna Mafia was not for only Kaduna indigines but it was an organization for all powerful northern personalities who lived in Kaduna or had any thing/ link with Kaduna.
At the height of its immense invincible but highly proactive invisible reign that lasted for about a quarter of a century plus half a score, Kaduna Mafia was the sole determinant factor in taking decisions on virtually everything Nigeria. Its tentacles cut across every stratum of the country’s national life.
To demonstrate how powerful, influential and intimidating Kaduna Mafia was, politicians of substance trooped to it enmasse during electioneering and genufleted before its hallowed altar for endorsement and blessing. On the other hand, military top brass, ranging from the coup plotters who ultimately emerged as heads of state, administrators, to brigade commanders, besieged its pontifical temple in a bravado fashion, to bow before it for acceptability and legitimacy.
As a matter of fact, Kaduna Mafia was spectacularly feared respected by its preys and majestically adored and loved by its beneficiaries. Its support for any topic is typically an imprimatur. Its rejection of any politician or group is an indication ofa national abhorrent. Kaduna Mafia’s maisma of control cut across nearly all spectrum of Nigeria and its jagged phenomenon to wit: politics, education, religion, economy and social tools. It was funny and factual.
Remarkably, the Kaduna Mafia was not structured the same way Mafia groups functioned elsewhere. Recall that other Mafia organizations in America, Europe, particularly Italy, Mexico and Colombia were absolutely violent and bloody in their operations. However, the Kaduna Mafia of old “existed to protect its interests. It does this by placing its men in highly sensitive positions in the nation’s political, social and economic frame work to ensure that it controls these facets of life”, a publication revealed.
In his opinion, Nduka Onum, former politics editor of Punch newspapers who eventually was editor -in- chief of the Statesman newspapers, Owerri, noted that “Kaduna Mafia refers to some bureaucrats in the north of Nigeria who started coming together in the 1950s and 1960s to pursue their common interests. They are made of the educated class only. The businessmen (who are not educated) are left out”. The term, Kaduna Mafia, according to a published report, first came into popular consciousness in the mid 1970s when Mvendaga Jibo employed it to describe a group of powerful individuals who he said had insidious influence in the New Nigerian newspapers where he was political correspondent. It was then alleged that the impeachment of then Governor Babarabe Musa of Kaduna State was the handiwork of Kaduna Mafia who never appreciated the radical change he was carrying out in the state. Research showed that the counter coup of 1966 was the brain child of Kaduna Mafia who handed the idea to its military subjects.
All available records indicate that the Kaduna Mafia that worked assiduously to ensure that neither Zik nor Awo ruled Nigeria in executive capacity just as it determined successive military governments in the country up to the time of retired General Ibrahim Babangida, and which seemed to have outlived its usefulness, is, like a phonix, being resurrected to reckoning in a seemingly disingenuous manner by the serving Kaduna State governor, Mallan Nasir El Rufai. Unlike the previous body, the El Rufai Kaduna Mafia is violent in mode and operation. Unlike the former, the present El Rufai Kaduna Mafia is serving only the interests of the governor. Another striking difference between the erstwhile fraternity and the current El Rufai group is the former was invisible and invincible while the latter is visible and vicious! The past Kaduna Mafia was faceless. The present El Rufai regurgitation is known and identifiable.
At least, in a recent petition to the NBA on why El Rufai should be stopped from participating in its 2020 Annual General Congress, the petitioners catalogued the governor’s crime against humanity, humanities, God and mankind, ranging from gross human rights violations, insensitivity to Southern Kaduna killings, constitutional abuses, verbal insults on fellow compatriots without apologies and other sundry issues that are unbecoming to a governor and demeaning to the ideals, principles and aims of the one time all powerful Kaduna Mafia.
To substantiate El Rufai’s one man riot squad of the new face of the new phase ofKaduna Mafia, this is an abridged part of the petition concerned NBA members never wanted the Kaduna governor to participate in their event “at the end of June 2020, Civic Media Lab, which monitors mortality in Nigeria’s many security crises, declared Kaduna State, which is governed by Mallam El-Rufai, as “the most dangerous state in Nigeria.” As recorded by the organization, Kaduna’s “record of 493 persons killed between January and June, is higher than the reported deaths in the Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorised territories of Borno; 290, Adamawa; 37 andYobe; 5.”
Today, Southern Kaduna is the most active site of massacres and mass atrocities in Nigeria. Despite this, when the governor met with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kaduna on 17 August, Governor El-Rufai dismissed the atrocities going on in Southern Kaduna as “media hype”. The previous day, on 16 August, he informed Seun Okinbaloye on Channels Television’s “Politics Today” programme, that he had been unable to visit the sites of atrocity in Southern Kaduna nor extend empathy to the victims because of COVID-19.
However, on 8 August, Governor el-Rufai found time to travel to Benin-City for the flag-off of the Campaign of his party in the Edo State Governorship elections. Apparently, COVID-19 did not preclude that.
In April 2020, Bello ElRufai, Governor El-Rufai’s son, who is also himself a special adviser to the Senator representing Kaduna Central in the Senate, Uba Sani, threatened another citizen who had criticized his father, the governor, with the gang-rape of the person’s mother. Wh en Samuel Ogundipe, a journalist with Premium Ti mes, reported the episode, Bello El-Rufai, parlaying his filial propinquity to a powerful governor, threatened to arrest or disappear Mr. Ogundipe.
In the runup to the 2019 General Election in Nigeria, Governor ElRufai infamously threatened foreign observers that they would “go back in body bags” if they reported what he or his ruling party did not like. He suffered no consequences.
On 9 December 2019, Quartz Africa named Governor ElRufai at the head of a “powerful” group of Nigerian state governors who “now regularly use security agents to arrest & intimidate journalists & activists who dare to question their actions or attempt to hold them accountable.” One of the most prominent victims of this is University lecturer, Abubakar Idris, better known as Dadiyata, who was abducted from the gate of his house in Barnawa, Kaduna, on 1 August 2019 and has not been seen since then. At 10:16 Hours on 23 December 2019, one of Governor ElRufai’s sons, Bashir, issued a tweet gloating over the disappearance of Dadiyata, in which he signed off with the line “Dangerous lines in the public space have consequences.”
Many other critics of Governor El-Rufai have been luckier, but only because they ended p in prison or detention. These include university lecturer Dr. John Danfulani. Digital activist, Stephen Kefason, was abducted from his home in Rivers State on the orders of Governor El-Rufai and detained for over five months. Luka Biniyat, journalist with Va nguard Newspaper, was also detained and, at the instance of Governor El-Rufai, fired from his job for writing a report the Governor didn’t like. The same thing happened to Segun Onibiyo, another journalist with the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN.
On the eve of the presidential elections in February 2019, Mallam El-Rufai took to the television to announce on 15 February 2019, that “66 Fulanis” had been massacred in an Adara settlement in Kajuru Local Government Area in Southern Kaduna. The Police as well as the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), denied that any such incident happened.
As Governor, Mallam El-Rufai has shown no regard for the rule of law, for human rights or for human beings. He has been reckless in his utterances, hubristic in his outlook and irresponsible with power. Offering him the platform of the NBA Annual General Conference 2020 is reward for misrule”.