Kaduna Mafia is a name given to a loose group of young and old Northern Nigerian intellectuals, civil servants, business tycoons and military officers residing or conducting business in the former Northern capital city of Kaduna during the end of the first republic. However, it is different from the American version of the Mafia. It is believed the resentment of competing interests led to the creation of the acerbic idea of a clique gaining headway through its closeness to power and thereby approximating resources of the state under the banner of capitalism. The group supposedly achieved most success during the first era of Obasanjo’s government, where many of its members were appointed to key positions of power and used its alliance to obtain patronage and disburse favor to friends and associates. The term Kaduna mafia was supposedly popularized by a columnist, Mvendaga Jibo, who favored the old clique of rulers in the Yakubu Gowon and Balewa administration.
The origins of the Kaduna mafia revolves around the demise of the first republic. The loss of many northern leaders in the coup prodded a group of northern civil servants to rally around and oppose the new government of General Aguiyi Ironsi. The group, a diverse mixture of aristocrats and civil servants who were elites and based in Kaduna. Many of its members were educated at the famous Barewa College in Zaria, and had demonstrated a certain level of managerial competence in comparison to some of their older contemporaries. They were known for their intelligence, commitment to the traditional values and socio-political interests of Northern Nigeria and their internal camaraderie. Members were involved in varied aspects of the Nigerian nation, they were bank directors, ministers, military colonels and owners of business; their main differentiating symbol was the prominence of economic interest as a driving factor in their activities
After states creation in 1967, Until now this ideology has been metamorphosing and keep changing to adopt to a changing time. And, any act of mafia moves across the northern States was always being planned, masterminded and executed from Kaduna State and its only a matter of assigning responsibility to who is representing which state, to do what and where and when to do it. To summarized it all, Kaduna mafia, is a group of highly intellectuals, politicians, bankers, business tycoons, retired military generals and police, cabals who are residents in Kaduna and have for fifty years or so, been influencing the political and economic dynamism of old northern capital and now Kaduna state for mostly their selfish and personal gains through power influence, contracts and political reward system.
Now, two years ago, when a new administration was elected by over one million majority votes which saw the emergence of Mallam Nasiru Ahmed Elrufai as the new executive governor of Kaduna state. Many people had described his emergence as governor was by chance because of President Muhammadu raised his hands and solicited on his behalf for people to vote for him, while others have seen it as a result of hard work and determination with critical examination of his track records when he was a minster of Abuja the sit of government. One can’t dispute the two school of thought as even the subject never denied the former assertion. Simply, is the combination of the two factors that informed the decision of the voters in Kaduna state in 2015, general election.
Traditionally, if you have killed an elephant, there is a festival of sharing of meat depending on how braved you were during the hunting would determine what parts you are taking home as share. This goes also with a political game where political offices and appointments would be shared accordingly. It is at this point, political compensation and God fatherism come into play. Mafias, carbals and power play will set in, suggestion and selection of who is to be what in Abuja or commissioners and advisers or board members in Kaduna state cabinet.
When Mallam Elrufai came to power, he decided to change the configuration by completely deviating from old standard of doing things, he distorted the old order by not allowing everything to be decided by mafiarism, he also proved to the mafias that not all variables would ever remained constant in political maths. But how he does that?
1. He brought on board completely New set of people mostly youths whose names hardly known by populace and appointed them into political offices.
2. The appointments made were not on the basis of whom you know or sends you rather base on competence and capacity to deliver.
3. He allowed due process to work
4. He decided to give power back to the common man by sanitizing and improving the state electoral system through a planned electronic voting system in the up coming local councils election at the expense of his powers. And this act alone, would bring back the senses of politicians that money will not buy everything.
5.0 Provision of massive infrastructures and up grade of the existing ones that use to be a night mare in Kaduna state.
As a result of these, you don’t expect things to go down well with mafias. The must fight back and the fight will be a serious one because, they are like institution and a very strong one.
Since last year, immediately after what they perceived and called major or juicy appointments both in state and federal were concluded, we begin to noticed the emergence of different groups, and sub groups including associations. Some would say they are bringing APC back to the track of Akida, but one may decide to ask which Akida that is more than provision of basic needs of citizens? Protection of life and properties while the other group would say they are to restore Kaduna state from the hand of Elrufai, which restoration are we talking about? Is it back to the olden days of mafiarism where only the sons of the elites will be recognized and appointed?
The ball now is in the court of people of kaduna state, they are the judge, they have the power, either to return to the mafias or maintain the current status core of new political order because their vote is their power.
Finally, there is no doubt that the new political order has emerged in Kaduna state and clearly is on the side of the masses and is directly opposite to the side of the mafias.