The immediate-past governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has reportedly scolded President Bola Ahmed Tinubu over the controversy surrounding his clearance for a ministerial position by the Senate.
Recall that El-Rufai was one of only three ministerial nominations that were withheld when the list of 48 nominees was considered last week. Others whose nomination did not receive Senate approval are Abubakar Danladi of Taraba and Stella Okotete of Delta.
The senators, however, cleared 45 candidates, including Nyesom Wike, Bello Matawalle, Gboyega Oyetola, and Abubakar Bagudu, amongst others.
According to Peoples Gazette, during a meeting this week at the Presidential Villa, El-Rufai allegedly decried Tinubu’s failure to be upfront about any reservations the president might have held against his ministerial appointment as indicative of a suppressed animosity.
The former governor allegedly said it appeared Tinubu had “reservations about me because you can’t claim not to be aware of the petitions,” according to the account of one of the platform’s sources.
It was gathered that the president had told El-Rufai he was only waiting for a security report from the national security administrators before taking a final decision.
But El-Rufai quickly interjected and informed the president that he had already decided to stand down as a potential minister.
“We know of his high level of competence,” an Aso Rock aide said of El-Rufai, “and the president would rather have him as an ally rather than even a cursory enemy.”
El-Rufai reportedly blamed the president for allowing the National Security Adviser (NSA), Nuhu Ribadu, and other zealous security aides to withhold his security clearance and consequently allow rumours to proliferate about his status.
Before finally removing himself as a potential minister, El-Rufai rejected entreaties from allies to make peace with Ribadu to enable the national security adviser to reconsider any opposition against his nomination.
He, however, told Timubu he would not hesitate to offer support should it be required by the administration.
The source disclosed that the former governor mentioned Jafaru Sani, one of his former commissioners in Kaduna, as his replacement.
El-Rufai departed Abuja for Egypt on Thursday night, The Gazette was told, although it was unclear when he would return to the country.