The Mai Rusau And The Burden Of Justice

Nasir el-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna state

By Christian Okewu Emmanuel

Everyone living in Kaduna in recent times, with ears to the ground would have heard about the concept of “Mai Rusau”. It is a referent to the person and governing style of Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, the exective governor of Kaduna State. Made popular during the campaigns that led up to his election, Mai Rusau means One who demolishes. The “Demolisher”. The “Demolition Man”, to borrow the title of a movie Directed by Hollywood’s Marco Brambilla.

The Hausa coinage recalls the antecedent of Mallam’s years of stewardship as the Honourable Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja. By the time he was done, he had earned the name “Mai Rusau” in memory of demolition of houses, churches, mosques, business properties and other private buildings that reduced to rubbles. Kaduna citizens knew this antecedent to be a tendency of the man. Yet, faced with a choice between a PDP’s Yero who has lost control over the moral or political compass of state; and an APC’s El-Rufai who came with pledge of justice and fairness, the electorates made their choice. They did so on the streets on Kaduna, at the top of their voice, calling all to hear: “Sai Mai Rusau”. They made good this resolve by voting out the former and voting in the later. They have their Mai Rusau.

Ironically, however, it seems that the human tendency for fickleness can never be outdone. Fickleness is the name of the game when humans speak from the two sides of their mouth. With one side they shout “Hossana”; with the other they shout “Crucify him.” In a recent Article, Hassan Mohammed, a managing Consultant, Lecturer and Author, succinctly captures this fickle tendencies among the citizen of Kaduna, saying: “You shouted “change” and “Sai Mai Rusau”. And now both are here. Change and Rusau are here….As for those of you who know nothing about what is going on and are busy spreading lies from 1,000 kilometers away, your 15 minutes is up. We will not let anyone continue misleading the people.”

The Rusau has begun. And the people are already crying. But as Ibraheem A. Waziri argued, (, the wailing can stop the execution of justice. Writing recently in defense of the demolition exercise, he said, “Justice means doing the right thing. In Islam it means taking something to or keeping it where it really belongs. If it is a case of capital punishment it says you should kill the perpetrator and no matter the extent of their wails after verdict. Justice is not when pity is taken on a victim”. He concluded the article by invoking the Holy Qur’an 5:8 to substantiate his point: “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is acquainted with what you do.”

However, in this matter of rushe-rushe, the concept of justice raises another question. If the government feels a moral burden to reclaim lands unjustly grabbed by others, would she feel the same burden to relinquish mission schools grabbed by government to her original owners? Or is doing so not justice? If it is not why did other state governments relinquish such schools to their original owners? As I write this, I could not but think of mission schools seized by the government; schools like St John’s College (now Rimi College) and Queen of Apostles College (now Queen Amina college), to mention but a few. In other words, when the bulldozer of the Mai Rusau eventually arrives schools like Rimi College to bring justice to illegal occupants, Mai Rusau should remember that even what he calls “government property” today, IS (note: I didn’t use WAS) actually a mission property. The mission are anxiously watching – and waiting for justice; for as Allah says, “Be Just”.