By Kamaluddeen Sani Shawai
A wise saying has it that when someone saves your life and gives you life to breathe, there’s need for gratitude and humility.
The recent outburst by the Former Military Governor of Rivers state and Chairman, Southern Kaduna Elders Forum Zamani Lekwot describing General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida as an awkward character as well as Malam Nasir El-Rufa’i as a bad leader speaks volumes of his character as an unrepentant being, whose action brought shame not only to him alone but to the people of Kaduna State, Nigeria and humanity as a whole.
The same Zamani Lekwot who was found guilty of causing the death of several innocent lives and convicted for the same.Other charges were illegal possession of arms, rioting,unlawful assembly, among others.
Someone who should have been sent to the gallows or firing squad but pardoned despite the death sentence on his head.
Also, He would have been long forgotten if not for the intervention of the same Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.
For those who do not know or might have forgotten, Zamani Lekwot was arrested for complicity in the February 1992 violence in Zangon -Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State where over 400 people were massacred, thousands displaced while millions of Naira worth of properties destroyed.
Zamani Lekwot was a key player in the ethnic cleansing crime executed by himself alongside other blood thirsty bigots as confirmed by the Chris Benedict Okadigbo led Special Tribunal’s verdict.
The tribunal left no room for appeal, and the convicts including Zamani Lekwot were in detention and were eventually granted pardon and released under the regime of General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.
Of course, many might not know the reasons behind the way and manner the former Head of State takes such decision but reliable information reveals that, there was a close relations between Maryam Babangida’s sister and that of Zamani Lekwot brother. Whome they were married.
Unfortunately however, victims of that terror have not been served the justice they deserve, as such there is a need to be reconsidered by the Government.
The execution of the 1992 death sentence on Zamani Lekwot is also paramount so as to deter anyone wishing to follow his footsteps and ensure sustained peace in the land.
This is necessary as After nearly three decades of his pardon, Zamani Lekwot seems to be planning another violence through mischievous comments and fabricated stories.
His calling the former Head of State and Mal Nasir El-Rufa’i all sorts of names and trying to manipulate facts behind his heinous crime need to be examined.
The lesson to be learned here is that, the former Head of State should have allowed the tribunal to take its course, so as to avoid such chief black mailer, unrepentant and blood thirsty bigot like Zamani Lekwot from facing death sentence.
The atrocities committed by Zamani Lekwot and other convicts remain fresh and alive in the minds of the victims who are still calling for Justice.
As for Malam Nasir El-Rufa’i since he assumed office as Executive Governor of Kaduna State, sanity and justice were instituted.
El-rufai blamed the continued killings in southern Kaduna for not allowing the law to take its course on the main culprits right from the beginning.
Still, during his tenure, Mal Nasir El-Rufa’i maintained his political will towards punishing culprits and whoever violates law and order shall be punished accordingly so as to instill confidence and tolerance among people of the state and the country at large.
This was without ethnic or religious consideration against insinuations that he was the sponsor of Kaduna crises.These are but acts of mischief and enmity to the progress of Kaduna State.
The ex-convict’s recent attack on El-Rufa’i is just to attract People’s attention. While Lekwot and his cohorts are afraid of and see El-Rufa’i as a threat to their evil plans of causing more havoc by creating division, hatred, intolerance as well as religious politics and violence.
As a normal security strategy, Mal Nasir El-rufai envites the traditional rulers to a certain level of security situation in the state and luckily enough at that time the emir of Atyaf was in company with Waziri Atyaf who was happened to be Zamani Lekwot. Elrufai told him that from now on he doesn’t want to see him around because his crime against humanity is still as fresh as more than 400 victims blood will continue to covers his body.
While, the white paper in which the former Kaduna State government released under AVM Usman Muazu entails categorically that, Zamani Lekwot was found guilty of complicity in the massacred of more than 400 people in Zangon-kataf but Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida pardoned him at federal level over his atrocities.
Meanwhile, the Kaduna State however set up a committee of enquiry which the members of the committee indicts him and others cohorts blood thirsty bigot as already confirmed by Chris Okadigbo led special tribunal ‘s verdict.
Based on this Malam Nasir Elrufai told Zamani Lekwot that if he hears any of his involvement in what ever circumstances related to violence in the state will leave him with no options other than revisiting the report of the said enquiry set up by the state and endorses the recommendation for punishment.
The most funny things in the whole senerio of what transferred between Malam Nasir Elrufai and Zamani Lekwot was that since their encounter, Zamani Lekwot was so silent nor do he involved himself in any anything but supringly and just recently after Malam left the corridor of powers has now started making noises.
The real reason why he keeps on accusing Malam Nasir El-rufai is because Malam is telling a bitter truth that he is a blood thirsty bigot, a someone who plays a significant role towards eliminating hundreds of people in Zangon-kataf crisis.
Upon this, If he dares again, Malam will go ahead and punish him based on the recommendation by committee of enquiry set up by the Kaduna State government.
Indeed, those working to tarnish Malam Nasir image would continue to fail as they also failed to realize that El-rufai is already an outstanding icon who exhibited professionalism, loyalty, commitment, sacrifice and dedication in the discharge of every assigned responsibility.
A talented and result oriented gentleman whose ability to take decisions speak volumes on his personality.
El-Rufa’i has given so much to his people in Kaduna state especially in the areas of security and social wellbeing, his accomplishment, even his enemies know and could testify to.
As for Nigerians this is a clear betrayal by Zamani Lekwot against General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida after he was pardoned by him and now he resorted to start calling IBB with all sorts of names even to the extent of discribing him as an awkward character but of course IBB considered such decision as mere relationships by ingnoring the people who were killed in hundreds and pardon Zamani Lekwot.
It’s a pay back time for anybody who instead of using the recommendation of an enquiry report by a respected and highly distinguished personality.
The recent outburst of Lekwot against IBB is total betrayal and clear mischief towards paying back with evils.
This single action will serve us as a clear lesson also especially those in authority in the nearest future.
Well, the message for Zamani Lekwot and his blood thirsty bigot is that , Mal Nasir El-Rufa’i will continue to stand tall in the midst of his contemporaries as one of the best son of Northern Nigeria and Nigeria as a whole.
It’s therefore, the right time for the authorities concerned especially the federal government of Nigeria as a matter of urgency to revisit the case of Zamani Lekwot and the remaining convicted persons after more than 27 years without executing the verdict.
A highly controversial figure obviously Zamani Lekwot carries a lot of baggage, with many issues related to ethnic cleansing in Zangon-kataf, Kaduna state attracts a total condemnation from all parts of Nigeria.
Indeed, while many had tried in the past to call the government attention so as to revisit the verdict of Lekwot and cohorts proves to be abortive, perhaps knowing what at stake, and has since returned to his usual tantrum, that may be a pointer to what his pastime would be in coming times.
Kamaluddeen Sani Shawai wrote in from Kano, Nigeria