By Gabriel Efo
Kaduna Governor Nasiru El-Rufai is a Quantity Surveyor by training (and acquited himself creditably in many projects), a former representative of AT&T the American telecom company doing business with defunct NITEL. He eventually supervised the controversial concessioning of NITEL while serving as Director-General of Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE). The Mallam was rewarded with an appointment as the Honourable Minister of the Federal Capital Territory.
His romance with partisan politics could be said to have started in 1989 when his firm was appointed alongside others like the then Triad Associates and Hassan & Partners to superintend over the actualisation of the Federal Government-sponsored construction of Political Party Offices across the then 30 states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
As Minister of FCT, he was pragmatic and changed the face of the Federal Capital City. He affected the psyche of the civil service by securing approval to withdraw the bureaucrats from the control of the Federal Civil Service Commission thereby establishing the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).
His democratic credentials left much to be desired. Whether it was as a result of his ambivalence of identity, since he has since described himself as “Accidental Public Servant” or his inert tendency to be autocratic coming from a private business background, truth is that he made a dismal showing at the 2005 Area Council elections conducted by Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Smarting from the 2003 General Elections of April 19, where soldiers and security forces were brazenly used to disenfranchise many intending voters across the country, he was to lead the PDP troops in the FCT to that election held in 2005. The outcome infuriated him as PDP could only muster Chairmanship control in three Area Councils.
Even when he had secured the star prize of AMAC control, he refused to accept the outcome in the other Area Councils where All Nigeria People’s Partty (ANPP) had won and so refused to swear in the ANPP chairmen- elect. The winner of the Kuje Council Area, ANPP’s Mr. Wowo, who has since become Senator for FCT was aghast and sought the support of his party leadership which intervened and the then President Olusegun Obasanjo hearkened and directed Mallam Nasir El-Rufai to immediately swear them into office.
Today, Mallam El-Rufai has since become an apostle of Muhammadu Buhari who used to be the symbol of the now defunct ANPP, one of the legacy parties that formed All Progressives Congress, APC.
In 2015, Mallam El- Rufai became Governor of politically volatile Kaduna State. He has had several confrontation with different interest groups, not the least is SOKAPU – Southern Kaduna Peoples Union with headquarters in Kafanchan of the defunct Jema’a Federation.
It is seen that in this early part of his second term in office and with the rumour of his presidential ambition following his seemingly urguarded statement at the elite Ikoyi Club in Lagos calling for overthrow of ” godfathers,” he has chosen to embrace populism.
His decision to enrol one of his young children in the iconic Capital School, Kaduna which sits right between the elite enclave of Dawaki road in the main GRA and Rabah Road proximal to Malali GRA gives a lie to his new image for populism. This looks duplicitous indeed a great departure from his hitherto known conservative stance on religion and public issues to populist embrace to win the gullible as a launching pad to actualise his presidential ambition in 2023.
Capital School, Kaduna was established about 60 years ago as a boarding school to cater for children of public servants and expatriates serving within and outside the then Northern Regional Capital city of Kaduna. The Kaduna State Government House is located on the way to Kawo in Kaduna North, it calls to question why the young lad was not taken for enrolment in a school sited in Kawo or Mando?
If it was not for political show, why did he not choose to allow his son mingle with the talakawas in the numerous dilapidated public primary schools littered all over. Can it be concluded that this child is the sacrificial lamb for the much-talked about 2023 presidential ambition, having failed to get the endorsement from his colleague governors to become their Chairman in the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF)?
Methinks El-Rufai should rise above primordial ego promoting jibes and serve the people of Kaduna State to leave an unparalleled legacy by surpassing the efforts of the much-revered Sir Ahmadu Bello, the late Sardauna of Sokoto, who chose to serve his people as Premier, Northern Regional Government but supported Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa to go to Lagos to become Prime Minister at Nigeria’s independence.