Kaduna 2023: The El-Rufai masterstroke by Habib Bello




Kaduna state Governor Nasir el-Rufai



Before the recent media chat by Kaduna’s Governor Nasir El-Rufai, some politicians were quietly selling a dummy to Kaduna people. They almost misled many  people of the State with the folktale that the governor had already decided his successor within his cabinet. It is now abundantly clear that many people were fooled for nearly six months.

The man behind this ‘done deal’ rumor about El-Rufai’s successor was said to have surreptitiously threatened some politicians that if they failed to align forces with him as quickly as possible, he won’t tag along with them by the time he became El-Rufai’s successor in 2023. Many innocent, credible politicians were intimidated.


The El-Rufai media chat, monitored by radio channels in Kaduna, which was also on live-streaming across the social media space was the last straw that broke the camel’s back.

The rumor of an “anointed successor” was to fizzle out almost immediately. The governor was even quoted as saying that tough time awaits any official of his government spreading the rumour of his being the anointed successor. The governor did not mince words in giving out the stern warning to the rumour mills within the system.


The El-Rufai interactive was indeed a masterstroke. Apart from dispelling the cheap rumour about the imaginary anointed successor, the media chat has brought an end to the growing scam against APC fans in the state, who were misled into believing the ‘done deal’ successor narrative.


Of a truth, El-rufai is such a democrat that would not want to sway the tide of public opinion. As a firm believer in level-playing field in Nigeria’s democratic space, he won’t endorse any back-door transition style. This partly explains why those who know him too well chuckled at the ‘done deal’ rumour of the anointed successor.


On the whole, what the El-Rufai declaration did was not just to clear the air but the coast for anyone who might have been intimidated by the man inside the State cabinet who spinned the ‘anointed one’ rumour.


At the moment, anyone with the requisite constitutional backing is free to run in the 2023 Kaduna governorship elections. It would be a free contest as the no-nonsense El-Rufai is determined to etch his name in gold, one more time, as champion of political level-playing field. To buttress his stance, the governor asked “who knows, my successor could even be a woman”.

This further strengthens the fact that he has already set the tone for a free and fair contest, leaving the Kaduna electorate to choose his successor.


One lesson is clear from the El-Rufai’s historic clarification: he won’t impose a successor on Kaduna electorate. That was commendable move, though not unexpected, given the well-known democratic credentials of the governor.


With a history of being quite outspoken on the problems of the masses and initiating policies to address same, Governor El-Rufai has already set a good precedent in modern politics.

As a result-oriented political leader, it is ridiculous that anyone who has not establish such a niche to lay claim to being his anointed one. This is partly the reason why the governor’s media chat has given impetus to the thinking among informed analysts and commentators of Kaduna political history. One more interesting thing about the governor’s exposure of a fake successor is that it has given us opportunity for assessment between politics in theory and practical one.

Democracy in practice does always recognize the anointing method as an all-embracing strategy. That El-Rufai was quick to tackle this distraction to his government the way he did, speaks a volumes about his openness and lack of pretence in the leadership question.

For now, we can say this has set the stage for planning ahead of 2023, without seeking to unnecessarily distract the attention of the administration with rumors of an anointed successor.

El-Rufai has therefore demonstrated his willingness to crush any form of distraction as he pursues his revolutionary Kaduna Urban Renewal programme with maximum zeal. 


By 2023, if we all live long enough to witness it as residents of Kaduna, Allah will finally unveil El-rrufai’s true successor. And I have no whiff of doubt that his successor will definitely be another goal-getter and political game-changer, who must have impacted quite positively in the lives of the mass majority of people – especially the indigent ones in our midst. Next time, I shall attempt a profiling of the  El-Rufai successor.

For now, the governor has made yet another mark in transparency and frankness, clothed in democratic balance.


Habibu writes from Chikaji in Sabon Gari LGA, Kaduna state

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