Nigerian Political News Media
Why Elrufai’s ministerial screening is unstoppable
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By Aliyu Tilde (PhD)

How many times have I restrained my fingers from writing on this topic? It first came to mind when I heard His Excellency, Malam Nasiru El-Rufai, hinting that he will not be part of the Tinubu administration. I watched the clip and laughed. I said does not Malam know that he is now a Plc and no longer an individual enterprise? Can Dangote one day dream of returning to his quiet personal status of 50 years ago?

Once you are a Plc, forget it. You no longer own your life. We own it. You are our property. Our slave. Period. That is the liability you become to yourself when you prove to the public your competence in serving it. The prize of hard work is more work, they say.

I knew the positions of SGF and COS do not fit people of his personality even if he eyed them. Malam is at his best either as an executive or a project person tasked with a very difficult task. My eye for him was on either Ministry of Petroleum or Ministry of Power, which have demystified many giants before, including Chief Bola Ige.

After missing him on campus, I came to know him through many of his intimate friends in Kaduna since 1986. But I knew him from a distance the more when he started public service in BPE, then as Minister of FCT and lastly as Governor of Kaduna State. In summary, he is one Nigerian that has proven his competence beyond reasonable doubt.

That is not to say Malam, 63, is not human. Nobody can come straight in these positions without stepping on many toes especially in a country that is as tortuous as Charles H. Robinson described the African footpath in 1892. Those adversely affected by his policies, which were necessary to straighten up things, will understandably complain and write petitions against him.

Then Malam is also a politician, a fierce one for that matter. We have seen that much during the build up to the last presidential election. To complicate matters, he is vocal, unrelenting, open and many times politically incorrect; yet, calculating enough to yield result. These are the traits that court him trouble from many quarters, not the issue of competence which binds him to most of us.

One of those troubles is with the legislature. He had a problem in 2003 when the Senate refused to clear him. Finally he got cleared by the intervention of President Obasanjo and went ahead to prove his worth as FCT minister. This time the media is saying it is not about money or even the legislature per se but about some petitions or security issues.

Today President Tinubu needs to play the role that Obasanjo played in getting the Senate clearance in 2003 since he has done enough to prove that he indeed needs Malam in his cabinet and anxious to task him with the challenge of solving our incorrigible power problem, as we would wish. He campaigned for Akpabio. Some say he also intervened for Keyamo. He stood for two other competent people: Vice President Shettima and NSA Nuhu Ribadu.

The President has promised to choose for the country the best talents to serve under his government. Though he had difficulties to keep this promise on some of his nominees, the nation may not forgive him for missing the target on Malam. He should defy Malam’s opponents just as he did for many others.

Both the security apparatus and APC owe Malam a debt. His doggedness on power shift to the south and in fighting to neutralize the effect of last minute anti-people’s policy of the Buhari administration that would have cost the APC the Presidency are moral debts that both the President and the party owe Malam; otherwise, both will suffer a trust deficit in the eyes of the public. I have told many—and I may be wrong—that even from a strategic point of view, not having a cerebral and politically hyperactive El-Rufai on board will be a grave political miscalculation for the administration.

The security apparatus has no moral locus to abandon Malam either. He stood by it and acted on its reports to literally go on the ethnic cleansing of Shi’ites in his State—his one act that I strongly abhor and wrote against. The “security clearance” should come without his solicitation.

All said, Malam El-rufai will hardly miss anything by not being cleared for a ministerial appointment. If anything, that will only feed his ambition of reducing his status from a Plc to a personal enterprise. However, it is the nation that will lose his personal attributes of courage, competence and result. There are few like him among politicians from his state for the President to substitute with.

The President now has three major contentious issues at hand: Removal of fuel subsidy, dollar deregulation and the coup in Niger Republic. He must make El-Rufai Plc become the fourth.

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