EL-RUFAI: SAINT OR DEMON

Posted: August 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

EL-RUFAI: SAINT OR DEMON

 

Not many of us had heard of now popular Mallam Nasir El- Rufai before his very eventful tenure as minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), a tenure which has been described in mixed terms depending on which side of the bulldozer tire the concerned fell.

El-Rufai, It was that rendered many homeless to create the Abuja we now love to see; he was the same person who dared the high and mighty pulling down their houses and million naira  structures for not complying to plans or citing  on waterways and designated green areas. It was this same mallam that cleared the now returning touts, hustlers and urchins that used to hang around Area 1 and other city spots constituting nuisance and formenting trouble. He restructured FCT land ownership system establishing some form of legality, taking it away from touts and hangers-on usually found waiting in the FCT ministry’s parking lot with certificates of Occupancy in hand looking for ready buyers, by creating Abuja Environmental Geographic Information System (AEGIS). Who else if not El-Rufai had the courage to tell the almighty Nigerian senate he had allocated parcels of land to his family and friends?  Not minding what anyone thinks, El- Rufai was just meant for FCT at the time he came to the ministry.

Apart from these beautiful achievements attributed to this diminutive in structure but head strong gentle man, there was also a four year period (1999-2003) when he also held sway at the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), he was in- charge of privatization. A period when little was known about him until recently. For those who dared to know, he performed creditably well and was promoted on merit to the ministerial position already mentioned.

Unfortunately these dark years have been proven otherwise as Mallam Nasir El-Rufia is again in the media, national assembly and before the court of public discourse for his dealings within this period in mention. A drama of some sort with trading of words and exposure as well as portrayal earlier unknown conflicts. I am not an El-Rufai apologist, neither is this piece aimed at making good his image, it is rather aimed at bringing the rather obvious behind the scene kicks to enable us judge this young man clearly.

Not long after El-Rufai left the FCT ministry due to the expiry of his mater’s tenure and failure of the 3rd term project, his woes began with petitions to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on grounds of corruption and following closely was a senate probe into his activities as FCT minister- all these he survived and eventually had to run abroad to avert the heat directed towards him. He returned some time early this year to witness and be part of the political arrangement in his country, many thought he was gunning an electoral seat or would probably support his buddy Mallam Nuhu Ribadu in his quest at becoming the No1 Nigerian citizen but to our dismay and disappointment of many, he came back not only did he decide not to contest but also publicly supported Gen. Muhammadu  Buhari against Nuhu Ribadu, an action he defended on Channels Television saying “Leadership goes beyond friendship”. What a smart man!

But this has just opened a new chapter in his travails. A new can of worms has been open, one intended to eventually eat up Mallam Rufai-his deals at the BPE. Before this session of legal battles came the arrest by the State Security Service for over rating his right to speech, when he delivered a public lecture which contents were said to be injurious to national security. Though resolved (or so it seems) with little  hype and buzz El-Rufai had to answer to the state security services, what transpired we don’t know and have not asked as the case is left in the archives for those interested.

Today this man is celebrated by almost every media house in the nation as issues of the BPE probe is awash national news dailies with him at centre of all the controversy. Interestingly, this probe has brought to fore other silent angles to the deals at BPE, angles nobody is caring to explore either due to lack of interest or for the rather obvious fact that this probe is only aimed at pulling down one man for his pre –election and post – election roles.

Last week El-Rufai and his successor have mentioned a couple of high players including former president Olusegun Obasanjo over their involvements in shoddy deals in the establishment, deals that have caused the collapse of erstwhile big establishments like NICON and Nigerian Airways. It is my firm belief that this probe orchestrated will not only clear issues at BPE but also further embolden the colors already painted of some of those involved, black or white. It is my honest desire that this circus does not just pack up as with the Elemelu probe panel but also punish some people to deter further attempts to white wash Nigerians.

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