For serious people who want progress and development, who want to be counted among the 20 most developed economies in the world, like we have been so earnestly striving hard for, a committed, hardworking, determined and brilliant/sound man, who is not propelled by his brilliance to assume absolute or authoritative knowledge, but could listen to all sorts of people—from them, identify and pick the best out of all they say, is all they need—and getting him, they will wholeheartedly support and give him way—to carry along. They do not bother what his religion is, tribe or skin colour, provided that he doesn’t also have such inclinations. If you notice such people within a particular society, the few people who want to hinge on to power for the rest of their lives and rake in the available resources at whatever expense, without giving a hoot about the progress and development of the society, do whatever is it that is at their disposal to tarnish their image—to sideline them from the political space—and often succeeding. You cannot claim not to have noticed such people and their clashes with the few exploiting elites.
Within Nigeria today, there are many such people, one of which is that diminutive man of valour, wearing a humble baby face, a little below average feet of height and of the Caucasoid Fulani complexion, a little bit altered darker probably in the course of growth or more possibly the constant exposure to the over 30 degree C of the ABU seasonal summer sunlight, during undergraduate hustling days… my mentor, whose name withheld, describes “brilliant in an unquestionable verity”, who begs to be called Mal. Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai—the subject matter of this piece. There are many others, who are either more brilliant than him, more hardworking, or both. No cause for argument over that. But the truth is, El Rufai is not only brilliant for the sake of it. He is made determined by it, to achieve whatever is it that he sets out to achieve. That is why when he wanted some houses demolished whose owners are really big guns, occupying the loftiest positions of the state, in compliance to the demands of his office, he, from the sky space, got them down and demolished into particles of crumbled bricks, he never minded their social status. He took the nation by storm, nobody really ever thought it was going to be possible for him or for any typical Nigerian, especially when even the Niger Delta-styled latest-fashion-in-reign bowler-topped president is only known for making vows without fulfilling or who to the least, even implementing a budget fully is becoming a major thing. And in Nigeria today, one needs no any lesson to know that determination and zeal akin to that which El Rufai exhibits is what we badly lack in our leaders.
I started writing this piece some days ago, for entirely different purpose, on a different direction, and at the midst, while halfway, I was forced to make an inadvertent U-turn. I already made some remarks at the opening paragraph which I found hard to adjust into the genre I’m abruptly made to swerve to, which I thus left as it were: that most people of El Rufai’s qualities remain subject to different and cyclical harassment and intimidation, misguided criticisms, and ascription of false claims, by the discomfited ruling class, in a bid to cut them down to nothing. And I was vindicated even before I would tidy up the piece.
El Rufai, was, in what was described by the state-controlled media, DELAYED (another lesser-blunt and milder word for arrested—euphemism) by the SSS for about an hour on his way to Dubai. It was quite impending arrest although, for he knew full well that the state-sponsored SSS has been hounding him for arrest, for quite a long time, which he has since drawn the attention of the public to.
And one may be tempted to think that he has been so pursued for this long for committing more grievous crime than those who within the blink of an eye stole our N2.6 trillion and still freely parade their heads up and high like archetypes of virtue or prophets and saints who come to this world to give answers to all our problems. To the utter chagrin of many, he was so pursued for his criticisms of the Jonathan-led indefensible blunder-stricken failed administration. And the factuality of the criticisms he has been known for in his Friday Columns in ThisDay, like Mal Adamu Adamu’s, are, to rub salt to the injury caused, absolutely unquestionable. It is absolutely not the usual venting of hate-venom by some people against their political opponents/enemies whose original aim is always to launch a vocal assault. Nor that of those who want to gain relevance and attract public attention by dishing out abuses and rants, mooting out untenable theories and solutions to problems they do not or could not fully understand, in a roguish way (which heeding to is itself a DOA) such as that which Femi Fani Kayode is a master of—the SNC-addicted born-again patriot!
While to the onlooker, El Rufai has contributed a lot to the Nigerian Project, it seemed to have been perceived otherwise in the Villa, to the extent that one of their Hit men—Dr. Doyin Okupe, although a newcomer, debauched by the euphoria of his new office and his impatience to overawe his kingpin only few days after he is appointed, could not resist the urges that is unsettling him deep inside and pushed him into moving his mouth, in a way that is just too funny to be taken any serious.
Mr. Doyin Okupe, in his incommensurate defence of his inexcusably blundering and bungling boss lamented the mild mannered El Rufai and the venerable sombre-worn faced Pastor Tunde Bakare of unwarranted criticisms common to those in the opposition, without offering any suggestions as to how to overcome the current challenges the country is facing.
It is as if the new image-maker of the president has not been following the trend of events in the country all along or regained his consciousness only after his appointment and started following things on that wave, for, if he really has been following, he wouldn’t have been so shameless in such a holier-than-thou way to lament the duo for “unwarranted criticisms – without solutions” against the paralytic government in office. Here, Jonathan’s storekeeper or librarian should kindly help him with some of the N90million-rated-Newspapers of the past which Oga had already read, in order for him to catch up with the trend of events. Because for all I know, El Rufai has given a lot of advice and suggestions on how to move this country forward and get it out from the clutches of redundancy and stagnation, far more than any other person has, in recent times, i.e to the best of my knowledge. At some stage, one even wonders whether he has self-appointed himself as an overall budget consultant to the slow-on-the-uptake state governors and concurrently as an analyst for their subjects in helping them analyse the budgets of their states — identifying places of misplaced priorities and improvement-requiring ones.
But surprisingly enough, Mr Doyin is apparently unaware of all these. While we expect from him [Doyin] laudations and praises for the Nigerian talisman, El Rufai, from the Villa, for, at least, doing what is more than the sum of all the performances of the Nigerian athletes who represented the country at the 2012 London Olympics, at the cost of N2bn, for free—i.e charting ways for state governments on how to determine and fully explore the potentials of their states, sadly he [Dr Doyin] only presented the opposite. When Dokubo Asari, a militant fighting the government for years, who for all I could see, is accorded an immunity clause by the Nigerian constitution, who, withal, I for long made up my mind not to dignify with any audience/rejoinder anymore, is threatening the North with bombs; when Edwin Clark is promoting secessionist views and making us feel like we have lost our president to one section of the country, Dr. Doyin could not use his time in the appropriate way to call them to order.
Dr Doyin is better reminded by his FAF that, unless he swiftly changes this very imbecilic on-the-opening attitude of answering questions he is not asked for, we will, in fact only declare him as another Basket Mouth, to be relieving us from the state-inoculated heart rending fury. He should be reminded that well meaning Nigerians will always come in defence of sound policies and ideas from people, whether from the president or his critics. And we will challenge and reject all futile policies from whosoever.
We need leaders whose actions speak for, and image-makes them, without the tag-teams of Drs Reuben-Doyin and Chief Edwin-Dokubo, such as Rochas Okorocha, Babatunde Fashola, Nasir El Rufai, the hurricane-rode Oshiomhole etc. We cherish and appreciate all what El Rufai and his likes have been doing, and we won’t hesitate to call them to order whenever they drift away, because we know they appreciate objective criticisms.
Abdulhamid Al-Gazali, of Borno Left-Wing Writers Forum
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