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Nasir El-Rufai: How the Cookie Crumbles – His Many Controversies



By Eric Elezuo

In addition to being one of the immediate past governors, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai had made headlines in his political career, most of the times for the wrong reasons. Needless to say that the ex-governor of Kaduna State courts controversies, a trademark he is probably proud of.

A lot of questions have however, been raised as to the weight of allegations against the former governor that necessitated the Senate that had shown deep reverence to his person to suddenly step down his nomination and screening, pending thorough investigation into alleged infractions bordering on security and human rights. Recall he was among the set of former governors on the list of nominees of President Bola Tinubu lavished with respect by senators during the screening exercise on 2 August. Reports say that senators fell over one another to speak in his favour while some even discouraged their colleagues from asking him questions. So what finally went wrong? What misgivings became too difficult for the political class to cover up? How did yhe cookie finally crumble under one of the fiercest political figures with connections up to the mightiest in the government?

It was also gathered that during his ministerial screening, the former Minister was prevented by the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, from responding to inquest into what a senator said was a plethora of petitions against him. This was when a Senator from Kogi State, Sunday Karimi, after commending El-Rufai for his achievements in public office, said he had a petition against him that bothered on “security, unity and cohesiveness”. He urged the Senate to consider the petition while the screening the nominee.

In response, Akpabio said “that would be handled during the confirmation hearing” which would be done behind closed doors. He ordered El-Rufai to take a bow and leave.

However, an unconfirmed conspiracy theory that trended has it that the petition was actually given to Karimi by the Senate president to present.

Another senator confided in The Whistler that “all the senators including the three senators from Kaduna State were unanimous in rejecting El-Rufai.”

The Boss further learnt that following the rejection of the Senate, albeit unwillingly, el-Rufai took the easy way out, informing Tinubu that he was no longer interested in being a minister in his cabinet. One would wonder why, having a few weeks before stood his ground to robustly defend his intentions be minister while preferring theorical solutions to the power sector, where it was believed he would head.

According to Premium Times, El-Rufai, who had been a Minister of the Federal Capital Territory informed the president during his visit alongside former Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, who came to make a case for him, that he was no longer interested in becoming minister, pledging his loyalty and readiness to contribute to the administration, but from the sideline. He made excuses of unavailability, citing need to focus on his doctorate programme at a university in The Netherlands.

The former Kaduna helmsman was obviously shaken by his rejection by the Senate on account of “dirty” petitions which bordered on national security. He also a suggested a former commissioner in his administration, Jafaru Ibrahim Sani, as his replacement.

To give El-Rufai a soft landing, two other nominees that were also rejected; they are Sani Danladi from Taraba, and Stella Okotete from Delta.

However, more facts have emerged as to why the former Kaduna State governor is going through his present travail. Tinubu does not forget, a source told The Boss, noting the fracas that took place between the duo may still be etched heavily on the minds of the president even with his new status, their reconciliation not withstanding.

“Anybody can scale through screening whether from the Department of State (DSS) or Senate so long as the president wants the person in. So, it is not out of place to say that the president has a hand in the travails of El-Rufai. The fact remains that Tinubu or some of his influential handlers don’t want him in the administration otherwise clearing him is just a snap of the fingers,” a source confided in The Boss

Recall that the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory had told Tinubu during the presidential campaign that he would prefer to travel out of the country to live a quiet life, but he changed his mind after what a ‘source’ described as “intensive discussions with the President after winning the election.”

The PUNCH reported that El-Rufai told the President that the ministry of power should be made to include gas after telling the President that gas was a must-have product if the country was to have regular power supply.

The paper added that El-Rufai had started assembling egg-heads, including Jimi Lawal; the Special Adviser to the President on Energy Matters, Olu Verheijen; Eyo Ekpo and Tolu Oyekan, who had been briefing the President on how to achieve his major electioneering promise of providing uninterrupted power supply.

“Certain elements in the Villa might have felt threatened by El-Rufai. They don’t want him because they are already planning for the next election as the case may be and they see him as a potential threat to their aspirations.

“Some political foes like Senator Shehu Sani and some elements in the Christian Association of Nigeria and even some Muslim clerics are all part of the gang-up.

“Recall that during the administration of former President Olusegun  Obasanjo, El-Rufai had issues with federal  lawmakers when he alleged that some of them were demanding bribes from him. Obasanjo intervened and the matter was resolved and the Senate cleared him. So, if President Tinubu wanted El-Rufai, he would have insisted that the former governor be cleared” the paper maintained, raising suggestions on why the president is not lifting a finger in overturning the alleged discoveries of the DSS.

While it is believed that Tinubu may have bought into the ideas of the former governor, forces beyond his control, including past confrontations, have stood in his way of continuitheir newfound friendship.

The President and El-Rufai has forged a bond during the crisis preceding the conduct of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential primary, where the former Kaduna governor stood solidly for Tinubu against his northern colleagues.

But some influential members of the Tinubu kitchen cabinet, who were of the opinion that El-Rufai should not be allowed to wield enormous power in the government, alleging that it would be difficult to completely trust him won the heart of Tinubu.

“So, his enemies won when the second security report on him was sent to the offices of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), President of the Senate and the National Security Adviser detailing the numerous reasons why El-Rufai should not be cleared for a ministerial position,” the paper added.

In a covering letter signed by one Aminu Yusuf on behalf of the Director-General, Department of State Services, dated August 4, 2023, with reference number SV.8/1430 titled, ‘Re: Security Vetting’ and addressed to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), which was exclusively obtained by Saturday PUNCH, the secret police wrote, “Further to this Service letter S.V.8/1426 dated 1st of August, 2023, giving provisional security clearance to three (3) ministerial nominees, including Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai, pending conclusion of vetting. (Appendix ‘A’ instructive).

“This Service wishes to state that further vetting and background checks conducted revealed some underlined issues which have negatively affected the nominee and as such, it is recommended that El-Rufai’s clearance by the Senate of the National Assembly be stepped down until the issues are cleared as investigation continues.

“Summary of the issues under investigation are (sic) attached as Appendix ‘B’ for ease of reference.

“Accept the assurances and esteemed regards of the DGSS

Much as the appendixes ‘A’ and ‘B’ attached to the letter detailing the issues for which El-Rufai’s clearance was put on hold, was not made public, it is assumed that it was enough for both the president and El-Rufai to agree to step down from the ministerial assignment.

El-Rufai and his many Controversies

From the days when his book The Accidental Public Servant, hit the shelves, El-Rufai’s controversial life gained momentum. The book exposes the working of his mind, especially as literally went on a demolition spree of buildings, including the residence of the powerful chairman of the ruling party, in a bid to restore the Abuja master plan. He was Minister of Federal Capital Territory. He had, at the age of 38 reluctantly entered government in 1998 as an adviser for the military government of Abdulsalam Abubakar, and then the Director-General of the main privatisation agency, the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE).

El-Rufai’s handling of his official portfolios led to his persecution and eventual self exile when he left office.

While serving during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, El-Rufai reportedly had an issue with the lawmakers when he alleged that some of them were demanding bribe from him. The matter was settled when Obasanjo intervened.

Recall that in 2019, while giving a lecture on godfatherism, El-Rufai said that during the last election only 1 million registered voters came out to vote in Lagos out of the 5 million voters, so he asked why did the remaining voters refused to come out, pointing out, if he is the governor of Lagos he will go all out against those who did not come out to vote to defeat the godfathers in Lagos. He was apparently referring to Tinubu though he later denied it alluding to Tinubu.

It was also during the same election in 2019 that he made the statement about international observers going back to their countries in bodybags. He also said he was quoted out of context.

In August 2020, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) withdrew the nomination of El-Rufai as a speaker at its 60th annual conference citing his poor human rights records and commitment to the rule of law. They also accused him of not doing enough to end the killings in the southern part of his state, Kaduna.

On February 16, 2023, El-Rufai gave a live broadcast to the people of Kaduna state, overruling then President Muhammadu Buhari on the currency redesign matter. Buhari had announced that only the N200 should be in circulation, but El-Rufai, who had earlier with two other governors, taken the Federal government to court, publicly rebuffed Buhari, and asked Kaduna people to go ahead and spend all categories of the currency.

In June 2023, El-Rufai, who has always received knocks for perceived hatred of Christians, was quoted as saying during meeting that “Because religion was used that’s why Allah gave Tinubu victory. What we successfully did in Kaduna (Mu-Mu) has now been replicated all over the country. No liar will ever contest as a Christian and win election ever again. Peter Obi tried and you can see where he is today, we’ve done the medicine for that one. Since Asiwaju won the election, CAN has been silent.”

El-Rufai’s utterances and actions may have been the reason behind the collapse of the bond he supposedly forged with Tinubu, not ruling out his fierce approach to political and religious matters.

However, stakeholders believe that his case is not completely hopeless if Mr President is not pleased with his rejection. But isn’t Mr President?

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Identity Saga: Tinubu Pleads with Court to Release Only His Certificate, Not Academic Details




President Bola Tinubu has reluctantly allowed a federal judge in the United States to give his university certificate to his political opponent Atiku Abubakar.

But the Nigerian leader pleaded with Judge Nancy Maldonado to block all other details, especially the gender, and admission records, among others, of the person who owns the certificate from being disclosed.

Mr Tinubu’s prayers on Monday morning came as part of the ongoing legal battle unfolding at the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago.

The case was brought by Mr Abubakar, who has been on a judicial quest to establish that Mr Tinubu was not eligible to be Nigerian president despite his election in February 2023.

He won the election by 36 per cent of the vote after Mr Abubakar and Peter Obi, who was his running mate in the 2019 election, fell out, subsequently dividing their potential votes into at least two parts, paving the way for Mr Tinubu’s victory with the slimmest margin in Nigerian presidential election history.

Mr Tinubu’s acceptance that his certificate could be released came after he narrowly escaped full disclosure on September 21 by pleading severe harm to his life in order to obtain a stay of a magistrate judge’s order on September 19.

“There is harm in allowing discovery on issues and documents outside the diploma,” Mr Tinubu’s lawyers said in their full briefing to the court seeking a review of Judge Jeffrey Gilbert’s order by Ms Maldonado, a district judge.

The identity of who was admitted into Chicago State University in the 1970s has been a hot issue after college transcripts emerged that indicated the school admitted a female Bola Tinubu from Southwest College Chicago in 1977.

Source: People’s Gazette

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Sanwo-Olu Floors Jandor, Rhodes-Vivour As Court Dismisses Petitioners’ Application




The Lagos Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, on Monday, dismissed the petitions brought by Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour and the Labour Party, and Olajide Adediran, also known as Jandor of the Peoples Democratic Party, challenging the victory of Babajide Sanwo-Olu in the March 18 governorship election.

The tribunal therefore, affirms the election of Sanwo-Olu as the winner of the March 18 Lagos State governorship poll.

Jandor and Rhodes-Vivour had contested the results, challenging the victory of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Dr. Obafemi Hamzat.

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Supreme Court Building Catches Fire




A portion of the Supreme Court is on fire.

The fire, according to source, engulfed a side of the judges’ chamber of the apex court.

Details about the incident are still sketchy as of the time of filling this report.

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