- El-Rufai, a Fulani and former Governor of Kaduna state allegedly aided the genocidal attacks of Kaduna natives by Fulani settlers and mercenaries
A group known as the Middle Belt Patriots has cautioned the Awujale of Ijebu Kingdom, Ọba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, against associating with former Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai. The group cites El-Rufai’s alleged involvement in the Southern Kaduna killings as a cause for concern among the Middle Belt people.
In a statement issued by its General Secretary, Patrick Anum, the group expressed reservations regarding the chieftaincy title (Gbobaniyi) bestowed upon El-Rufai by the Awujale.
The statement emphasized that honoring an individual with a controversial background contradicts the values and principles that have historically guided the Yoruba traditional institution. Drawing parallels to Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s philosophy, the group believes that if alive, Awolowo would vehemently oppose honoring someone like El-Rufai, who faced public criticism and was deplatformed by the Nigerian Bar Association in 2020.
The group’s concerns extend beyond El-Rufai’s alleged genocidal activities to his actions in Southern Kaduna, including renaming traditional stools and undermining chiefdoms.
The Middle Belt Patriots accuse El-Rufai of changing the name of the Gbagyi traditional stool and diminishing the influence of the paramount ruler, turning it into an open position for any Chikun resident. Additionally, they highlight El-Rufai’s controversial statements on loan repayment for those defending against Fulani herdsmen, expressing worry about potential repercussions for Yoruba communities.
The group urged the Ijebu Kingdom to reconsider its association with El-Rufai, emphasizing the Senate’s decade-old declaration that he is “not a fit and proper person to hold public office in a democratic setup.”