In this Easter season, while Christians were getting ready to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead after he was betrayed by one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Nasir El-Rufai, the Kaduna State governor chose to describe himself as a “disciple” of President Muhammadu Buhari.
El-Rufai was a guest on Channels TV’s “Hard Copy” programme and said, health-willing, he wanted Buhari to run for a second term in 2019.
Watch the interview:
Buhari will be 76 in 2019 and came back last month from the UK after spending 49 days on what the liars in his camp like El-Rufai still insist on insulting the intelligence of Nigerians by calling it a “medical vacation”. Buhari, himself, said on his return that he had never been that sick in his entire life. Since his return, the president has been virtually working part-time and avoiding public engagements. He also said he is likely to return to the UK for further treatment.
Against this backdrop, in which a British MP claimed in March that concerns about Buhari’s health were leading to instability and his government was failing, El-Rufai insisted that Buhari should continue after his first term.
El-Rufai’s claims to being a Buharist would only ring true to those unaware of his history as a turncoat, which the interviewer was too polite to remind him of. The same man saying on national TV that a 74 year old currently in poor health, should run for president again in two years time, said in 2010, referring to Buhari, who was gearing up for a run for the presidency in 2011: “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 rebutted El-Rufai with: “based on his alleged corrupt background and shoddy performance as FCT [Federal Capital Territory] Minister just a few years ago, [El-Rufai] 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 hit back: 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.”
El-Rufai, who seven years ago thought Buhari was unfit for the presidency on grounds of age and incompetence, now expects viewers to believe he is a converted Buharist and his leader is what Nigeria needs in 2019, despite illness, advanced years and a record of failure in the past two years.
Despite his protestations to the contrary, it is clear that El-Rufai’s utterances are in pursuit of his personal ambition. He said in the programme that he wouldn’t have been governor without Buhari. But El-Rufai’s ambitions run beyond his state. Shehu Sani, the Senator for Kaduna Central who has been fighting running battles with his governor, alleged while Buhari was holed up in London on “medical vacation” that some unnamed people were “wishing Buhari dead” so that they could become Vice President if the incumbent was elevated to top spot in the event of Buhari’s demise. Few doubted that Sani was referring to El-Rufai.
Former president Olusegun Obasanjo, who was El-Rufai’s boss when the latter was Minister for the FCT wrote in his book “My Watch”: “I recognised his weaknesses; the worst being his inability to be loyal to anybody or any issue consistently for long, but only to Nasir El-Rufai.”
A few people have warned Buhari that El-Rufai will betray him sooner or later. The governor was questioned in the programme about a memo he wrote to Buhari in September last year complaining about the direction the administration was going. While El-Rufai tried to to dismiss the memo as a routine matter of giving advice, it is still unclear why it was leaked. Some have suggested the memo is one of the first steps in a classic El-Rufai betrayal. He has seen the signs of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) ship sinking and rats are usually the first to desert a sinking ship. The theory goes that the mousey El-Rufai was likely positioning himself for abandoning ship in 2019.
With his loyalty to the Buhari cause being openly questioned by the likes of Sani and allegedly by some close to the President, El-Rufai was in typical Judas denial mode on the programme. Like Judas, he has always been motivated by greed – as was evidenced by a Senate committee in 2008 that found him unfit for public office. It is only a matter of time before he does the dirty on Buhari.