Although a subject of controversies due to some glitches, INEC’s conducted presidential poll didn’t fail to produce a winner. The February 25 presidential election returned Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima, to lead Nigeria from May 29, 2023 and beyond.
For many Nigerians, especially those who genuinely supported Tinubu, it is a moment of “wishful thinking” in expectation of good governance for the entire nation. For those who thought that the irregularities occasioned from the conduct of the poll had substantial effect, they have been advised “to go to court.”
Significantly, this piece represents for one and many, perhaps a view of Nigerians who have begun opening the conversations in their various endeavours that no doubt Asiwaju presidency will represent a new dawn for the nation. In so doing, one man’s personality has been put on their bench of curiousity; he is the Kaduna state governor, Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai.
Throughout his sojourn in public life, El-Rufai who once described himself as “An Accidental Public Servant” had no doubt-maintained record of excellence in public service. For as many people who may have their reservations of him, none among them in his solitude can dismiss his uncommon achievements in bringing about good governance.
Many including his worst critics concede to describing him as “a man with computer brain.” This is evident of his success as an administrator of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja when he served as the minister. He mapped a modern city that could compete with Europe when the Master Plan designed by him is fully developed. Beyond this is the public outcry of his proclivity to principle and standing up for what he believes personally as just for the common man who never appreciates his efforts initially.
In the street language, many have misunderstood El-Rufai as “the iron man” which underscores his uncompromised personality, an appellation that glorifies him rather. Sincerely, it comes with uneasiness to pretend as an El-Rufai in this contemporary Nigeria where those who in one of the 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene trying to act like the “straightforward trees” in the forest of the unjust are cut-off while the crooked ones “are left standing.”
El-Rufai administration as the governor of Kaduna state brought his salient achievements and unparalleled commitment to development. As confirmed by President Muhammadu Buhari who lived in Kaduna many years before relocating to Aso Rock, the Urban Renewal Project undertaken by El-Rufai led to the development of the state as a Modern City.
Also, there are too numerous just to mention the projects started and completed by this same man in Kaduna state which by the grace of God will be continued by his preferred successor who is now the governor-elect of the state, Senator Uba Sani. For instance, this man with “a computer brain” initiated an Economic Blueprint which boosted astronomically the IGR of the state through investment drive.
The Kaduna State Investment Promotion Agency (KADIPA) will live after him as an institution testifying to his strategic thinking for economic empowerment which by continuity will transform Kaduna state to Lagos.
Remarkably, when Tinubu was campaigning all over the northern states, in the North-west particularly, Kaduna was the last state he visited. There was an initial impression by many across the country that El-Rufai remained the most difficult northern governor to “conquer”. The duo are masters of political chess game but for Nigerians, the fear was real.
It was obvious also during that period that El-Rufai was very displeased in the presidency cabals. He later voiced out when the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was in the tsunami of leadership question ahead of their National Convention. His interventions later led to the conduct of the party’s National Congress that brought Senator Abdullahi Adamu’s led-NWC. It was then that Nigerians began to fully appreciate the fact that it was too dangerous for El-Rufai to keep silent in face of national crisis.
I usually say, “history is the most enduring judge of humanity.” It will remain in anal of history of this country the role played by El-Rufai in uniting northern governors towards power shift to the South thereby ensuring that the presidency of APC in 2023 went to the zone creating the pathway for Asiwaju’s emergence as the presidential candidate.
El-Rufai unapologetically supported Tinubu with the delegates from Kaduna state. This was too much a generousity from a man most feared to conquer. In fact, he became Tinubu’s presidency dream helper despite his plan to “JAPA” after his tenure. Tinubu too discouraged such idea that his administration needed his notorious computer brain “badly.”
Reaching the climax of Asiwaju’s greatest political travails, I suppose a resurgence of the El-Rufai’s alleged “cabals in the presidency,” it was the moment of the naira redesign policy whose effect of hardship is yet to free the Nigerian masses. There too El-Rufai openly criticised the Buhari government he was supposed to campaign with. He provided the needed leadership by instituting litigation at the Supreme Court and won challenging the policy many declared as “draconic.”
Having fought for the victory of Asiwaju and a cabinet formation is underway, many are speculating that El-Rufai might be appointed the Chief of Staff or Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF). The latter is most befitting for a man whom when rightly fixed in government engine-room will drive the nation to good governance. One hopes Asiwaju gets it right with El-Rufai as SGF, regardless of APC’s possible zoning!
Otiwe, an indigene of Kogi state, writes from Lagos via 08064188686/08110160639 or [email protected]