Mallam Nasir El-Rufai may have scored an own-goal in a bid to dismiss the large turnout of crowd at Atiku Abubakar’s campaign in Sokoto as an indication of threat to President Buhari’s reign.
The presidential candidate’s PDP flagged of its campaign on Monday and in the spirit of claiming popularity among the electorates, gloated about the mammoth crowd that graced the event.
But El-Rufai has said the crowd, which comprised thousands of people, was rented. From Niger Republic.
In the Kaduna governor’s exact words on Tuesday, “Thieves have ganged-up against President Muhammadu Buhari. Yesterday, they were in Sokoto and they rented a crowd from Niger Republic just to show people that they have supporters because Sokoto people refused to come out.”
He went on to boast that “when when it is time to launch President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign in Kaduna, people should come for the whole world to see that, it is not Niger Republic people that are disguising as Nigerians.”
But El-Rufai’s claim, even if outrageous, is an indictment on the government he desperately aims to defend.
If thousands of Nigeriens can cross the border in a day without the security forces detecting the influx or doing anything about it, then there is a huge problem.
At a time the country is desperately seeking to find an end to Boko Haram insurgency as well as herdsmen rampage in several parts of the country, it is irresponsible of a sitting governor to insinuate that the border was porous enough for potential tools for uprising to find their way in easily.
Politicians are expected to know what not to play politics with. And the country’s security is top on the list.