The struggle for southern Kaduna has been characterized by various contradictions, twists and turns, rustle and bustle, ironies and fantasies so much so that it can be aptly be described as a tragicomedy. Like a bandwagon, it carries different characters; activists, politicians, mischief makers, and even comedians, to mention but a few. As a result, the struggle has no direction, no traction, no law; no rules whatsoever or a guide. It is just like the blind man’s fight, who throws stones in all directions and anyhow even if it would fall on one of his own. His aim is just to fight or to be seen to be fighting, regardless of whether or not he can inflict any injury on the enemy. Such, sadly, is the near perfect description of the SK struggle.
Yet, over the years, the struggle has grown considerably in stature and so too the number of its army. Of this army of freedom fighters, there is this group who has nothing and pursues nothing but the peace, unity and progress of our people. They are those people who would engage in gathering instead of scattering, in healing instead of injuring, and in building instead of breaking down. They are those who quietly empower our youths and light up our communities; those who speak against injustices and stand for justice; who quietly rebuild/rehabilitate our shattered communities and displaced brothers/sisters without making much media noise about it. These people live amongst us, and we know them by the fruit of their good deeds.
The second is the group which fights, but their fight is against perceived enemies – people who in one way or another have worked against their personal interests or those of their friends and cronies. And once they can get their own pound of flesh using the name of the struggle, the comrade or activist in them dies or better still goes to sleep until another season of need. There are a handful of such tradesmen.
And then the third group, the group of polished writers and orators who are always writing beautiful pieces or speaking. It is the group with a blend of the middle-aged and the young activists -cum-politicians who use the name of the struggle for personal aggrandizement; the acquisition of wealth or political appointments or both, depending on what they can lay their hands on. They are those who directly or indirectly attack virtually every government and the southern Kaduna persons that serve in them; those who coined and ascribed to elders, religious leaders and young people alike various derogatory names for being members of the PDP or its apologists in the build-up to, and shortly after and even ever since after the 2015 general elections. This group is the deadliest and fearless and can pull down anything or anybody that stands in their way, all in the name of the struggle. The group has no shame or any qualm of conscience. For instance, when they wanted to hit hard at the late Yakowa, they made us believe he was the enemy of the people-a stooge in the hands of the oppressor; one of us who did nothing to improve the plight of his kinsmen. But shortly after his death, when they wanted to bring down the government of Ramalan Yero in favour of the small man – El-Rufa’i, these people suddenly changed the narrative. At that time, Yakowa became a hero and the symbol of the southern Kaduna struggle, and the many good works which he started and in need of completion became the reference points of the struggle.
Similarly, following the worsening situation of insecurity, the lack of equity and brazen injustice in and against the southern Kaduna region as a result of the wicked policies of those who now govern
us, some of these activists-cum-politicians who were either left out when appointments were made or sacked for reasons best known to the governor suddenly emerged champions of the struggle. They became what the indefatigably sycophantic spokesman to the small man would call ‘emergency activists.’ They would not let this government sleep, let alone its appointees from the southern part of the state; partly because of the crimes of the government, but majorly because their personal interests were not protected after the swearing in. Why do I think so? It is because some of their presentations in the past sounded like a protest; protest against the lack of recognition of their IMMENSE contribution (in the name of the struggle) to the victory of the APC in southern Kaduna, let alone a commensurate reward or compensation.
Only recently, there has arisen the issue of the relocation of the Kafanchan Campus of the Kaduna State University which has, once again, exposed the many contradictions/weaknesses of their struggle. While some are of the opinion that the decision of the new Vice Chancellor of the University asking all students affected by the closure (which by the way, took place months before his appointment) to resume studies at the main campus is illegal and so unacceptable, there are a few who think it is the right step in the right direction; reasons being that, it is a greater injustice against the affected students if allowed to continue to stay at home, and possibly lose some semesters or years should the government decide not to reopen the campus anytime soon. The problem, however, didn’t lie with these standpoints, but how both groups (with the support of others who joined in the debate) suddenly turned the struggle into the usual fiesta of insults, character assassination, and deliberate victimization of one another, particularly those who work for the government. This, in my opinion, is tragic.
As dubious as the southern Kaduna struggle may seem, there is still hope that someday it will pay-off – if it is not even paying off already. To be fair to the struggle as well as its army of mostly dubious activists, some level of success has been recorded. If not for anything, the sustained consciousness (whether false or real) that there is a struggle which has even led to the arrest and incarceration of many by the government will give one a sense of consolation. To keep this hope alive would require sincerity, tact, and genuine commitment to our common cause. Struggles such as the southern Kaduna one require planning, deliberate strategy, great deal of sacrifice and the consciousness that it is never a struggle for neither the weak nor one that can be accomplished in a week.
It is my earnest prayer that God may create in us new hearts; hearts that do not unnecessarily bear grudges or groan against one another. I pray also that God will rise up for us men/women of character and sound mind that will be ready to fight our cause without hoping for material and or political gains in return. And if God be God, I have no doubt; the answers to my prayers are near. Yeah, very near.
By Edward John Auta