•His Strategies & Tactics
Kaduna governor, Malam El-Rufai is one of the top contenders for Presidency. His name keeps popping up each time any list is being drawn up. This is because he is one of the frontline politicians from the North and he has been playing high profile politics at the National level since the administration of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999. He has also been very vocal, and taking very controversial decisions. By nature he is an unconventional person. He likes to fly against the grain. And he is not usually ashamed to stand by his position.
That is why he likes to tread where others avoid. At every place he has worked he has been known to be very daring and even his bosses have all acknowledged how highly principled and stubborn he is. When he was DG of BPE, he was always in the news. When he was FCT Minister, he was a tough Minister. Even as Governor of Kaduna State he has taken far reaching decisions more than any other Governor.
As he rounds up his 8 years is governor he is eyeing the Presidency. But if you ask him, he won’t admit it. If you ask his aides also they won’t say so. All they will say is why not, if not. Is he not eminently qualified. Yes, he is. He has an impressive profile that can earn him an applause in any country.
Though he won’t tell you he is running, his actions shows it. Over the last few months he has been relating with other young Turks across the country. He has been very close to Gov. Kayode Fayemi. He has also been very close to Pastor Bakare. He has also openly embraced deposed Kano Emir, Lamido Sanusi. He attends all the events that Gov. Kayode Fayemi holds. Fayemi too has maintained a cordial relationship with the man he calls Madam. It was when El-Rufai visited deposed Emir Lamido Sanusi in the village he was banished to that, many go to know that they are really close. He told reporters that he left Kaduna for the village where Sanusi was banished to show solidarity and support.
“ Both Emir Sanusi & I are very close” he said, “He has been there for me in the past and I am here to support him”
That he is close to Pastor Tunde Bakare became clear a few days back when Pastor Bakare hosted him to lunch in Lagos. It was a gathering of political judgments Gov. Fayemi was in attendance.
Not only that. El-Rufai enjoys the support of many other politics and across the country. He also enjoys the confidence of many political big wigs like OBJ, Atiku and even President Buhari. It was OBJ who made him DG of BPE and FCT Minister.
He and Obasanjo have been very close before they fell out at some point, especially when OBJ and Atiku had their frosty relationship. What happened was that he was first close to OBJ before he became close to Atiku who was than VP. The fact that the 2 of them were both involved in BPE activities further brought El-Rufai & Atiku closer. OBJ didn’t like how El-Rufai associated with his sworn enermy (Atiku). Perhaps that explain why OBJ was not charitable to El-Rufai in his book. But the good things is that OBJ and El-Rufai have made up. OBJ recently visited El-Rufai and commended him for a job well done. OBJ called El-Rufai is friend and brother, but El-Rufai quickly corrected him that he is his son.
OBJ has never hidden the respect he has for El-Rufai especially his brilliance. El-Rufai also enjoyed the confidence of Atiku, his former boss.
What are El-Rufai’s chances? It is bright. He understands the game, better than many. All he needs to do is to team up with like minds across the length and breathe of Nigeria. He represents the new thinking in the North that new players should take over the running of the affairs of the country. He shares Sanusi’s sentiments about the need to reawaken the North in the areas of Education.
That is why as Kaduna Governor he has done a lot to transform his state. He has done a lot for woman. His deputy governor is a woman. He has been known to promote the cause of women. Under his administration woman are blooming. He has also invested in the area of Education.
He has also tackled religions intolerance.
What are his qualities? He is a new breed. He is an accomplished politician. He is a seasoned technocrat who understands how Nigeria works. He has learnt from the Master’s. He is young. He is still in his SOS. He is vibrant and driven by ideas.
Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai (El-Rufai was born on February 16, 1960 in Daudawa of Faskari Local Government Area in Katsina State. His father died while he was 8 years old. He was sponsored throughout his schooling days by an uncle in Kaduna, and as a result he grew up in the Northern State. He went to secondary school in the Barewa College, where he graduated at the top of the class, winning the “Barewa Old Boys’ Association Academic Achievement” Trophy in 1976. Incidentally, in Barewa College Zaria, the former President Umaru Yar’Adua was the House Captain of Mallam Smith House which was Nasir’s dormitory as a junior.
He went off to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, earning a Bachelor in Quantity Surveying degree with First Class Honors. He also attended post-graduate programs at Harvard Business School and Georgetown University. Since leaving public service, Nasir has completed an LL.B degree from the University of London, graduating in August 2008 with Second Class Honors, Upper Division, and a master’s degree in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University in June 2009. He also received the Kennedy School Certificate in Public Policy and Management having spent 11 months as an Edward A. Mason Fellow in Public Policy and Management from July 2008 to June 2009.
Nasir established a Quantity Surveying and Project Management Consulting Firm in 1982 with three other partners. The firm handled building and civil engineering projects in Nigeria. From November 1999 to July 2003, he was the Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises and the Secretary of the National Council of Privatization where he spearheaded the privatisation of many government owned companies alongside the former Vice-President.
He presided over a real estate boom backed by the radical transformation of infrastructure and land use practices of the federal capital earlier riddled with corruption and vast deviation from the original masterplan. With the establishment of the Abuja Geographic Information System within 12 months of being Minister of the FCT, Abuja became the first municipality in Nigeria with a computerised land register and information system.
Along with the President and members of the Economic Management Team, he led the reform of the Nigerian public service which had become dysfunctional during years of military dictatorship. At various times during his tenure as Minister, he oversaw the Federal Ministries of Commerce (twice) and Interior. He also chaired several high-profile cabinet committees that led to the establishment of a mortgage system in Nigeria, National ID card system for Nigeria,Electric Power Supply Improvement and the sale of Federal Government real estate in Abuja.
During the last days of the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, the former EFCC Chairman described El-Rufai as the “de facto No. 2 official”, tagging him with the role of a Vice-President, especially after the fall-out between the former President and his Vice-President. It is believed that Obasanjo’s trust and confidence in El-Rufai angered a vast number of the political elite within the country.
In 2014, El-Rufai won the gubernatorial primaries of the All Progressives Congress for Kaduna State and was declared the party’s candidate for the April 2015 governorship election. In the April 11 governorship election in Kaduna State, El-Rufai secured 1,117,635 million votes to defeat the incumbent governor and candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero. The election was upheld by the election petition tribunal in October 2015.
El-Rufai was sworn in as the 22nd governor of Kaduna State on 29 May 2015. In his inaugural address, he announced that he and his deputy were taking a pay cut and donating 50 percent of their salaries and allowances pending an improvement in the state’s fiscal situation. On 6 August 2015, El-Rufai in one of his first acts as governor announced that Kaduna State will adopt the Treasury Single Account policy by 1 September of the same year. At the end of the exercise, 470 accounts belonging to different ministries, departments and agencies were closed and a sum of N24.7 billion was recovered and remitted to the Kaduna State Government TSA with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
El-Rufai also reformed the civil service in Kaduna State and reduced the number of ministries from 19 to 13 and the number of permanent secretaries from 35 to 18. In a bid to reduce the cost of governance, El-Rufai appointed only 13 commissioners, 10 special advisers and 12 special assistants as against the 24 commissioners, 41 special advisers and about 400 special assistants appointed by the previous administration. By blocking leakages and cutting the cost of running government, it is estimated that the El-Rufai administration was able to save N1.2 billion in just two months.
In January 2016, El-Rufai’s administration launched the School Feeding Programme, aimed at providing one free meal per day to 1.5 million pupils in public primary schools within the state. His administration also abolished the collection of fees and levies in public primary and junior secondary schools in Kaduna, thereby removing a financial burden of N3 billion from the parents. On the March 9, 2019, Kaduna State Gubernatorial Elections, he was re-elected as the governor of Kaduna State having Polled 1,045,427 votes defeating his rival, PDP’s Isa Ashiru, who had 814,168 votes.
El-Rufai is married to writer and novelist Hadiza Isma El-Rufai. Together, they run the Yasmin El-Rufai Foundation (YELF), set up to honour their daughter who died in 2011.