NASIR EL-RUFAI: CONTROVERSIAL ACCIDENTAL PUBLIC SERVANT
Nasir El-Rufai notoriously never watches his utterances. He has consistently exploited his gift of a vile tongue to gain relevance, power and authority. At first glance he appears as an un-conformist, but he controversially has a knack for feigning forthrightness or bluntness. In fact, his actions since his days as the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) reeks of unapologetic contention and this depraved trait has spawned into his administration as Kaduna State Governor so much so that controversy is now synonymous to his name. His latest hullabaloo and false claims that Governor Mai Mala Buni’s sack as National Chairman of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Committee Planning (CECPC), and replacement by Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello was ordered by President Buhari, is disparaging and makes mockery of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In staying true to his extremely controversial nature, El-Rufai deliberately incites an internal conflict in the APC with this skewed narrative, giving grounds for the opposition to spite his party and set it up for unsavoury commentaries in the public space. Why would someone who claims unalloyed loyalty to his party and President make such tactless assertions despite knowing the implications will project the APC as fractured and conflict stricken? Interestingly, multiple facts have emerged indicating otherwise. El-Rufai’s claims showcase him as a dangerously flippant person and a compulsive liar. Even if the President indeed confides information in him, why take the place of party or President’s spokesperson with such discordant media expose’? His action was not only a mockery of the President, but also a complete breach of oath of secrecy and allegiance. But for Governor El-Rufai, that has always been the style. He ferociously pursues any self-serving interest and makes emphatic reprehensive and fictitious statements with a borrowed sense of authority. Laughably, El-Rufai once claimed he was begged to become the DG of Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE), so also his appointment as Minister and Governor. Who knows if he is now looking for those that will beg him to be President or Vice President? What a wonderful accident Civil Servant.
No wonder, his former boss, Olusegun Obasanjo in his book My Watch, Vol.2 describes him as “a malicious liar, a pathological purveyor of untruths and half-truths with little or no regard for integrity”. Obasanjo further notes that “Not only is El-Rufai a deceiver but also selfish”. As FCT minister, he was allegedly renowned for land grabbing and stripping individuals of legitimate land and property. Also, as Minister he was accused of coveting the official residence of the Vice President and allocated lands to his friends and family. One will expect that by now he should have satisfied his vain materialism.
But El-Rufai is soulless, devoid of emotion and spares no one. His nasty penchant to forcefully acquire has left a trail of victims of illegal demolition, revocation and ejections. One of such cases is the premature demise of late Justice Bashir Sambo, former Chairman, Code of Conduct Tribunal, which was attributed to the forceful seizure of his residence by El-Rufai. Similarly, his administration as Governor of Kaduna State is riddled with similar cases of land grabbing, grandstanding and illegal forceful takeover of property as well as obliterating life investments, cutting across the poor, rich, political opponents, retirees, widows/widowers and orphans. His family members and associates have been met with his merciless antics including own uncle turned foster Father as well as elder half-brother have all had their bitter share of El-Rufai’s viciousness.
Even ABU Zaria, his alma mater is a victim of the fiery darts of his untameable and unquenchable wickedness. The school is currently calling for withdrawal of his degree certificate for encroaching into the institution’s land. El-Rufai remains ruthless, heartless and unperturbed by the consequences of his undesirable character. In fact, he is insensitive and wants what he wants no matter whose ox gets gored. He is so self-seeking and self-centred that his former boss described him as a man without character who can only deliver under close supervision and lacks ability to sustain loyalty for long. It is impossible to fully describe El-Rufai outside Obasanjo’s perception of him. The former President recognised El-Rufai’s ease to betray at the slightest impulse. This is not far from the truth. His recent hysterics and misconception about the CECPC translate to anti party activity thus re-establishing El-Rufai as someone unfit to hold a public office under a truly democratic set up.
While it is glaring that his long nurtured Presidential ambition is becoming slim as 2023 elections approaches, it is evident that he has taken up the path of destroying the reputation of the APC to cut down the chances of whoever might emerge as its candidate. This is not surprising, as he is known to barefacedly lie against his colleagues and so-called friends. Word around the circle of Governors is that he is ostracised for his careless maleficence and callous grandstanding when humane decisions are being considered.
His recent foul mouthing against not just the APC but the President is to further his unethical ambition. His claims of having the President’s ear, was always a scam. Could El-Rufai have been working for the APC? From his utterances, it is obvious he is for his pay masters. One won’t be surprise if by tomorrow he goes back to the PDP or works for Atiku. He may be out to destroy the APC and even the PDP-all for the good of his grandmaster- Obasanjo. Nigerians must remember that while serving as Obasanjo’s lieutenant, he disparaged President Buhari. Once the tide turned, he was everywhere kneeling before him like a stooge and allowing himself be photographed to meet his motive. El-Rufai cannot change. He can defame and betray anyone; even sell his soul in the quest for sustained inordinate power.
The unfortunate thing about El-Rufai is his inability to realise that Nigeria is bigger than him. Nigeria is far beyond his reach. Clinching presidential candidacy to satisfy his egoistic ambition would only be a pipe dream given his negative antecedents. Majority of Nigerians do not like him. His ancestral home of Zaria loathes him. To them, he is a traitor and economic predator. His ploy of setting confusion in the APC to further his interest has surely backfired on him. Not only has he exposed himself as an agent of destabilization and the mole used by some interests to weaken the party, APC faithful and the general public can now reconfirm he was and always will remain a con politician. For a person of dishonourable and questionable character like El-Rufai only doomsday await him.
By Salihu Abubakar, a Public Commentator from Kaduna