7 February 2019
Nigeria’s ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), has claimed the “Next Level” as an election campaign slogan. However, little did many Nigerians know that this meant the “next level” of violence to the APC governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai.
On Tuesday, he said on national television, in response to calls from some quarters for foreign intervention if his party rigs the presidential (s)election on 16 February: “Those that are calling for anyone to come and intervene in Nigeria, we are waiting for the person to come and intervene. They would go back in body bags because nobody would come to Nigeria and tell us how to run our country. We have got that independence. We are trying to run our country as decently as possible. And we know the history of those countries that are trying to teach us these things. We have read their history. We also know their own stages of development. They went through these challenges. So, let us work together. Let’s advise one another. But don’t lecture us.”
Watch him below:
While many Nigerians should quite rightly be against foreign intervention in Nigeria’s political processes, it is pretty troubling to witness a governor brazenly breaking the law by inciting violence. The Nigerian Electoral Act states in Section 95(2): “Abusive, intemperate, slanderous or base language or insinuations or innuendoes designed or likely to provoke violent reaction or emotions shall not be employed or used in political campaigns.” Punishment for this offence is a fine of 1m naira (£2,138) or 12 months in jail.
El-Rufai, as a current governor, may have immunity from prosecution, but there is nothing to stop him being prosecuted when he leaves office. His statement demonstrates that the Senate committee that concluded in 2008 that he was unfit to hold public office was right.
El-Rufai not only has history in incitement to violence, but there are no limits to his hypocrisy. As we highlighted here:
He tops up his incendiary “body bags” comment with declarations of “independence” and “that nobody would come to Nigeria and tell us how to run our country”. This is a bit rich coming from a governor that reportedly paid former British prime minister Tony Blair £1m of Kaduna State funds to teach them about “good governance” in Kaduna.
Foreign involvement is great when it can serve as a photo opportunity for a diminutive governor’s vain attempt to look like a statesman. But those meddling foreigners shouldn’t dare disrupt carefully-laid (s)election rigging plans, or that would be the last thing they did.
With a governor like El-Rufai, harbouring such murderous thoughts, it is no wonder that his state has witnessed some of the worst mortality numbers from the violence from Fulani herdsmen in recent times. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) said he was condoning the massacres in Southern Kaduna and responsible for prolonging the crisis.
El-Rufai spoke about the history of those he accused of trying to intervene in Nigeria. But Nigeria’s great misfortune has always been having a long history of vagabonds in power like El-Rufai, who fled to London for two years when faced with corruption allegations under the regime of President Umaru Yar’Adua, never hesitating to deploy or condemn foreign influence whenever it suits their agenda of misrule.