“… Ochonu once asked El-Rufai for a job and got turned down. He has been unable to put behind him that incident, but the truth is that at that time, El-Rufai could not provide him a job because only candidates with technical and numeracy skills were required. Available facts indicate that El-Rufai informed Ochonu and others with non-numerate and or science based degrees that they did not meet the criteria. Though Ochonu left for the US where he has done rather well, he has been unable to hide his disdain for El-Rufai mainly because of the latter’s inability to bend the rules to suit primordial personal interests.”
“Moses Ochonu, as an Associate Professor of History works on a project that focuses on “non-Muslim consciousness to counter perceived Anglo Fulani hegemony.” His focus and project fit into today’s Nigeria that is terribly divided along ethnocentric and religious lines following the April 2011 political gerrymandering that has inflicted unprecedented damage on the fragile unity among the diverse ethnic nationalities of Nigeria.” – Ajayi O. Olowa
My attention has been drawn to a publication by Moses Ochonu, a professor of African History at Vanderbilt University USA. The article in question which appeared in Sahara Reporters of Tuesday 26thDecember 2016 and Premium Times, is a continuation of a bunkum he started since early 2000, the culmination of which we see now in this recent one on the southern Kaduna killings to the extent that he makes a serious allegation against El Rufai that he has embarked in a genocide. As far as I am concern, this is the gravest allegation which should not be taken lightly.
However, before I go into details, the two quotations in the prologue have actually said it all. They have not only display the true motives of Moses Ochonu, but also summarized the historical background of his deportment; and the rationale for his mudslinging, diatribe and long-running malignity against Elrufai. And without the above revelation (that he wanted Elrufai to give him a job at FCT), it would have been surprised to see that this Prof has dedicated his whole academic life to criticizing every move of Elrufai from his days at BPE to date.
Be it as it may, there is no gainsaying the fact that Nigeria is faced with myriads of security and economic challenges, most of them inherited from the previous administrations. Kaduna state has had its own share of these security challenges in most parts of the state.
Addressing this myriad of challenges and putting the state on the path of greatness is one of the cardinal points on which the El-Rufai APC campaign promises hinged on.
Since coming to power, Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai and his deputy, Barnabas Yusuf Bala, have faced, head-on the daunting task of addressing the root causes of security challenges being faced in the entire state. Every one of us in the state is aware that El-Rufai inherited rural banditry, violent attacks, and reprisals in southern parts of the state, cattle rustling and robbery in Birnin Gwari and other parts as well as rampant cases of kidnapping along Kaduna-Abuja expressway and other parts of the state. Suffice it to say that these cases are not only peculiar to Kaduna state; there have been attacks by suspected herdsmen in Benue, Nasarawa and Zamfara states.
While farmers-herders conflicts are not new to Nigeria, the attacks in Southern Kaduna have drawn the attention of many with many voices speaking against the attacks. It is a good thing for all well- meaning citizens to come out against evil and wicked acts such as these but using the pains of those victims affected to gain politically or for any other selfish and sinister motive is wickedness and inhumane, to say the least. Sadly, many have taken this path. That will be left to God and posterity to judge, but where these people breach the constitution, the law enforcement agencies will be the right institutions to address them in accordance with the law.
It was indeed a bleak Christmas for people of Goska in Kaninkon, and the government of Kaduna State is sad about it and has since condemned the attacks and sympathized with the people while strengthening security in the area. The government has stressed its commitment to see the end of the perpetrators.
But in his characteristic manner, as revealed in his previous publications where he promotes divisions, Moses insinuated that there is a war to exterminate people of Southern Kaduna and the governor of Kaduna is sponsoring it. He even likened it to the unfortunate attacks in Agatu, Benue state. But the question is who is at war with the people of these communities? What is happening is part of a plethora of security challenges facing Nigeria; insurgency in Niger Delta, Cattle rustling and Killings in Zamfara, Armed robbery in Birnin Gwari and kidnapping in many other places in Kaduna metropolis where high profile individuals and politicians were victims as well as other parts of the country. It is sad that Southern Kaduna issue has lingered since 2011.
And in his attempt to disown History that he studied and earns a living teaching, (and I wonder what kind of History Moses is teaching his students), he denied existential facts linking the crisis of Southern Kaduna with April 2011 post-presidential elections. These were facts established by the 70-man Peace and Reconciliation Committee set up by the Late Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa which established that the crisis is directly linked to the April 2011 elections.
As the Chief Security Officer of Kaduna state and one who wants to see the end to these security challenges, El-Rufai set up the General (Rtd) Martin Luther Agwai’s committee which arrived at similar conclusions. The report of the Committee which was submitted on the 1st of February, 2016, also established the existence of a feud between foreign herdsmen and Southern Kaduna communities. The reports stated that some transhumance Fulani pastoralists were affected by the April 2011 post-presidential crisis during which many lives were lost and properties destroyed.
The month of April marks the beginning of the raining season in Southern Kaduna and central Nigeria and, therefore, at that time, the transhumance Fulani were in transit back to the Northeast, Northwest, Chad, Niger, Cameroun, as well as Senegal and Mali. They were compensated by the government for the loss of their cattle and to pacify them not to come for revenge on that account. So also were other victims of the crisis assisted or compensated.
As a professor who studied history, Moses Knows that conclusions are only drawn on the strength of available facts, but he is doing a disservice to the Academic Discipline of History by twisting facts, providing misleading information as he is used to, and raising languid arguments that are devoid of solid premises while drawing conclusions that lack logical strengths and evidence.
While he goes on to play his game of promoting sentiment and hatred, Moses should know that the El-Rufai led government will continue to handle what he is elected to do which is provide leadership to the people of Kaduna state. On this, the government will not be deterred or distracted
Preachers and promoters of hatred, divisions and confusions will never prevail over good intentions. This is because God and all good people in the state will join forces to overcome these forces of evil, and by the grace of God we will see the end of these criminals.
If Moses and his likes are concerned about the conflicts that is claiming lives, apart from their condemnation of El-Rufai and using the media to conflagrate the embers of hatred, what meaningful suggestions have they ever posited, how have they helped the people they claimed to be supporting?
A question for Moses Ochonu, do you have respect and value for history even if its facts stands somewhat opposed to what you stand for? Do you deny that there was an outbreak of violence immediately after the presidential elections in April 2011, are you contesting that Fulanis were killed as well as their cattle during the crisis, would you deny that immediately after the outbreak of post-election violence, the attacks and counter-attacks escalated in Southern Kaduna? It will be sheer mischief to ignore such facts, particularly by someone in the academia and even a professor who teaches African History.
Moses Ochonu has joined the group of those who massacre well known evidential facts of history by twisting facts and propounding unfounded lies and fallacies. There have been attacks in the immediate aftermath of 2011 post-presidential elections in Kaduna after which President Good luck EbeleJonathan set up the ShiekShehuLemu Committee. One more action taken by the Federal Government was to set aside money to compensate those who suffered loss from the crisis; compensations were paid, and herdsmen also suffered the loss of cattle that the government of Kaduna paid.
Nasir El-Rufai did not legitimize revenge and has vowed always to arrest those involved in reprisal attacks on innocent people. El-Rufai has always called on people to report cases and issues to the constituted authorities in their areas such as community, traditional rulers or law enforcement agencies. He has been working with the FG and all security agencies to tackle the restiveness in the state.
While people have their constitutional rights to freely express their views, those who peddle lies should know that posterity and God will judge them. El-Rufai will continue to do what he thinks and knows is right and his allegiance is to God his maker and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The governor and his cabinet are deeply committed to the oath of allegiance they took to uphold the constitution of Nigeria. Protection of lives and property is topmost in their minds. And this, the governor will pursue with all seriousness without letting baleful people distract him from this obligations. He is working assiduously with all security agencies to not only apprehend criminals carrying out these evil and wicked acts but also make them and their sponsors face the wrath of the law.
Ochonu relishes presentation of disjointed facts and information, and conclusions in order to portray the Governor of Kaduna state as supporting the killings going on in Southern Kaduna by criminals, which drapes from the reasons I quoted above. And his tendentious analogy portraying Nasir El-Rufai as a Fulani supremacist who supports Fulani terrorists to carry out genocide in Southern Kaduna is hardly surprising too, giving the above quote also. It is not different from what Moses is known for; that is promoting divisions and encouraging sectionalism especially among the different sections of the populations in the north.
That is what his book “Colonialism by Proxy: Hausa Imperial Agents and Middle Belt Consciousness in Nigeria” and other publications sought to achieve.
Had he beckon the sense of history, a simple search through contemporary history and check on the profile of Nigeria politicians would have revealed to him that there are few politicians in Nigeria today whose political appointees, partners, and associates are drawn from different sections of the country other than Nasir El-Rufai. This is incontrovertible, and it has been El-Rufai’s tradition and principles.
Hinging his demonization of El-Rufai on the attacks of 24th and 25th December in Goska, and the government measures taken to curtail security it, Moses disowned history and massacred well-known facts and evidence just to paint El-Rufai as a failure and one who encourages the killings in the region.
But the real facts of his penchant for the demonization of Elrufai have just been revealed. His own is not a genuine intervention but an attempt to settle personal scores. He feels the only way to get Even with Elrufai for refusing him job is to write bad things about him always. But while the Prof has taken that self-vocation, he is indirectly smacking the pedagogy he’s riding on. He is creating an image of intellectual vacuity for himself, for how can you relegate your academic life to constants criticism of single personality?
Mukhtar Garba Maigamo
A Public Commentator, Conflict Resolution expert, lives in Kaduna State.