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Nasir el-Rufai is running Nigeria

The new governor of Kaduna State Nasir el-Rufai is at the head of the “kitchen cabinet” of President Buhahari. You wonder where he finds the time to do the job he was (s)elected to do in his state.

A source has revealed that El-Rufai tells the president what moves to make and Buhahari accepts his recommendations without question.

When Attahiru Jega the former electoral commission boss stepped down and handed over to Mohammed Ahmad Wali, Buhahari reversed the decision and handed over the reins to Amina Zakari. The source said this decision was made by el-Rufai, who used to work with Zakari.

El-Rufai was described by the Financial Times as “among Buhari’s closest allies”.

It was not always like this

El-Rufai said five years ago: “Obama is 48 and Cameron is 43 for God’s sake. So, why are we recycling leaders that ruled this country very well or very badly 25 years ago?”

He continued: “I was 25 years old when Buhari and Babangida were Heads of State and I am now 50 and they still want to be Head of State. I don’t understand that. I don’t understand that at all and I call on the young people of Nigeria to take their future into their hands and ensure that in the next election, they vote for a new generation of leaders.”

Buhari’s spokesman then hit back at el-Rufai: “based on his alleged corrupt background and shoddy performance as FCT Minister just a few years ago, lacks the moral authority to advise Nigerians on who stands the chance of providing them with good things of life, as their President in 2011″.

El-Rufai, through his spokesman counter-punched: “El-Rufai is amazed that General Buhari cannot debate this matter without scurrying to the gutter, making claims that are baseless and unsupported by any facts. Mallam El-Rufai’s tenure as FCT minister was a period of stellar performance in remaking our federal capital. Despite the difficult decisions that had to be taken to restore Abuja, Mallam El-Rufai continues to receive deserved praise and recognition for his achievements in restoring the Abuja master plan, introducing Nigeria’s first computerised land registry and helping thousands of Nigerians achieve their dreams of home ownership in the federal capital. Buhari is perhaps one of a tiny few blinded by their prejudice from recognising the quality of El Rufai’s service.

That same prejudice accounts for the baseless claims of corruption Buhari levels against El Rufai. The fact is that Mallam El-Rufai served Nigeria with integrity and has never been convicted of any corrupt act. He is boldly contesting the false charges which the Yar’Adua government filed against him in court. It is strange that a Buhari who protests when unproven claims of N2.5 billion (about US $3billion in those days!) missing oil funds are levelled against him can gleefully elevate similar claims into facts when it concerns another. How would Buhari feel if the corruption allegations made against him by Group Captain Usman Jibrin, then a board member of PTF, are today reported as if they were proven facts? So much for “corrupt background” and “shoddy performance”.

Mallam El-Rufai wishes to remind General Buhari that he has remained perpetually unelectable because his record as military head of state, and afterwards, is a warning that many Nigerians have wisely heeded. His insensitivity to Nigeria’s diversity and his parochial focus are already well-known. In 1984, Buhari allowed 53 suitcases belonging to his ADC’s father to enter Nigeria unchecked at a time the country was exchanging old currency for new. Against all canons of legal decency, he used retroactive laws to execute three young men for drug-peddling after they were convicted by a military tribunal and not regular courts of law. Buhari was so high handed that he gave himself and his officials immunity even from truthful reporting. That obnoxious Decree 4, against which truth was no defence, was used to jail journalists and attempt to cow the media as a whole. That tyrannical legislation shows the essence of his intolerance. These are facts of recent history.

The story of counter-trade and import licensing, the cornerstone of Buhari’s stone-age economic strategy and those whose interests it served, is a tale for another day.”

With friends or “closest allies” like these, who needs enemies?

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