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El-Rufai’s Sons: Guard Dogs of Secrecy and Deflectors of Accountability

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By Abdulrauf Aliyu

The recent events surrounding Bashir and Bello El-Rufai, sons of the former governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, have once again brought to light the complexities of power, privilege, and accountability in Nigerian politics. In a fortnight, Bashir El-Rufai was embroiled in controversy for his aggressive online behavior, followed by his elder sibling, Bello, facing similar criticism yesterday. Their actions reflect a troubling trend where individuals in positions of power or proximity to power misuse their influence to stifle dissent and scrutiny.

The core issue at hand is not just about the behavior of the El-Rufai siblings, but it is emblematic of a broader problem within Nigeria’s political landscape—the erosion of accountability and transparency. When individuals like Bashir and Bello El-Rufai resort to attacking, insulting, and disparaging anyone who questions the policies and decisions of their father’s administration, it sends a chilling message to society. It signals that accountability is a luxury reserved for the privileged few, while transparency becomes a distant ideal rather than a fundamental principle.

The role of public figures, especially those with familial ties to political power, should be one of fostering open dialogue, welcoming constructive criticism, and embracing accountability. However, what we often witness is quite the opposite—a defensive posture that seeks to shield those in power from any form of scrutiny. This not only undermines the democratic process but also erodes trust between the governed and the governing.

In the case of the El-Rufai siblings, their recent actions have been directed towards individuals and groups calling for a thorough examination of their father’s eight-year tenure as governor of Kaduna State. The demand for accountability is not an attack; it is a fundamental right of every citizen in a democratic society. Yet, instead of engaging in meaningful dialogue or providing clarifications where needed, the response has been one of aggression and intimidation.

The irony is stark when we consider that Nasir El-Rufai himself has advocated for transparency and accountability in governance. His administration in Kaduna State was marked by various reforms aimed at improving governance practices. However, the actions of his sons paint a different picture—one where accountability is selective, and transparency is a facade rather than a reality.

It is crucial to recognize that holding public office, or being closely associated with someone who does, comes with a higher level of scrutiny and responsibility. Public servants and their families should expect and welcome questions about their actions, decisions, and use of public resources. This is not an attack on personal integrity but a necessary mechanism to ensure that those in power remain accountable to the people they serve.

The recent warning issued to Bello El-Rufai by the Kaduna State House of Assembly Speaker serves as a reminder that no one is above the law, regardless of their familial or social status. Threats and intimidation have no place in a democratic society governed by the rule of law. It is imperative for individuals like Bello El-Rufai to understand that dissent and accountability are not threats but essential components of a healthy democracy.

Furthermore, the media plays a crucial role in holding power to account and fostering transparency. Journalists and media organizations must be allowed to operate freely without fear of reprisal or censorship. The attempts to silence or discredit media outlets that seek to investigate and report on matters of public interest undermine the very foundations of democracy.

As citizens, we must demand a culture of accountability, transparency, and respect for the rule of law from our elected officials and those in positions of influence. This includes holding individuals like Bashir and Bello El-Rufai accountable for their actions and ensuring that they do not misuse their privilege to shield their father’s administration from scrutiny.

Abdulrauf Aliyu
Writes from 46 Ashiru road, Unguwan Dosa, New Extension, Kaduna

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