#KakandaTemple: El-Rufai: Memoir of a Political Scam Artist – by Gimba Kakanda

Published:23 Feb, 2013

Mallam Nasir El-Rufai is a saint. El-Rufai’s intellectual and managerial wisdom is unmatched by any living thing that has ever been in power in Nigeria. Those are the things we discover in his memoir, The Accidental Public Servant. TAPS is not only a celebration of an individual’s narcissism but a revelation of the destructive elitism on whose back this polarised nation suffers. But because TAPS documents the political tragedies we have witnessed since the coming of this present democracy in which the author was a privileged actor, we must repaint our triumphal arch to welcome this confession of an insider.


I won’t advise any hypertensive person to open the book, if not for the author’s inability to contain his large ego in this overtly expressive tome but for his exposé of the financial scams and abuse of power by the political elite who, despite declared differences and public opposition, are actual friends and family in the closet. El-Rufai reveals, somewhat unwittingly, that Nigeria is just a chessboard on which the masses are manipulated and taken for granted.


In TAPS, there is President Obasanjo who wants to overstay, the lawmakers who abandon their duties and scramble for complicity, General Babangida who is just an expired buffoon, Nuhu Ribadu an unreliable confidant who is also an unprincipled anti-corruption crusader and Atiku Abubakar who is a smooth criminal—everybody wears the garb of a devil in this book. One, though, hears a man too angry, as an opposition party member, to be decorous.


El-Rufai has guts, and he is really arrogant about his illusory intellect and academic exploits. He makes everyone around him, including his boss Obasanjo, seem dumb as he keeps screaming about his A-grades at Barewa College where the late President Yar’Adua whom he portrays as unserious student and chain-smoker managed to leave with good grades which seemed to have shocked El-Rufai. It doesn’t matter that El-Rufai didn’t even meet Yar’Adua at the school.


Similarly, the literary prowess which he plays down in his major case of condescension in the book—with a claim that he was better with figures, as though he had propounded a mathematical theory—was later overblown in his boast that he wrote a speech “single-handedly” for the then military Head of State General Abdulsalam Abubakar. He never lets you forget he graduated with a first class honours degree; perhaps that is because he is the only one who has ever done so? Nor does El-Rufai fail to remind you that he is a penniless Ghandi who, after his notoriety as FCT Minister, couldn’t afford a stay in Dubai. He could only afford having his children at elite schools in Maryland and London.


TAPS is built on a diseased mindset. It romanticises the author’s intellectual wisdom as the flight that conveyed him to our cloudy political sky. But there was no accident in El-Rufai’s public service career; the author is just too dumb to recognise nepotism for what it is. What he optimistically calls an accident was in fact an invitation from his elder brother’s friend to serve as a member of the advisory council in General Abdulsalam’s transition government. Let us examine El-Rufai’s own words:


“I subsequently learnt from a mutual friend that (General Abdulsalam) Abubakar had remembered me because I had met him a couple of times in the course of my quantity surveying career and MAY HAVE (emphasis mine) debated the role of the military in politics and governance. My GUESS (emphasis mine) is the Head of State THOUGHT (emphasis mine) he needed contrarian views to enrich his policy decisions… (p. 53)”


You don’t need a language tutor to see through the lame excuses and reasons given in the excerpt above, especially the self-indicting words in upper case: There was an unnamed mutual friend who revealed what had escaped the author’s memory; and in the use of “may”, El-Rufai, who remembers page-long dialogues, is clearly being economical with the truth.


Note that El-Rufai bases his reason on a conjecture by the use of “guess”, pondering the so-called accident that earned him a slot in that team. So you may be eager to know how he guessed a man’s thought. General Abdulsalam didn’t say it. In Nigeria, we know that political opportunism is facilitated by ethnic, religious and regional cronyism. Yes, you only need to be member of a certain group to make it to that cycle!


And as a member of that team, El-Rufai justifies his own brand of “cronyism” on recommending for ministerial appointment a man whose eligibility was built around what El-Rufai too calls “rumour mill”. The nominee, a suspended Deputy Governor at CBN, Alhaji Ismaila Usman, whom El-Rufai claims he had met just once, was rumoured to have refused to be an accomplice in a financial scam ordered by the late General Sani Abacha. This selection criterion, which is exactly the practice that brought El-Rufai too on board General Abdulsalam’s transition government, is an undeniable nepotism.


I always campaign for right to expression and even recently have written to defend El-Rufai from his political antagonists on the alleged blasphemy accusation and other matters. I had maintained that his past in public service must not be allowed to be used to deny him a right to political activism.


But TAPS is an explosion of that egalitarian utilitarianism on mine and the outrage of that belief is a welcome development from me, in my barricade amongst the citizens of common sense. Our resolve now as citizens is to study and challenge what elitism does to this country. The arguments in support of El-Rufai’s elite-aggrandising policies while he was FCT Minister fail anytime we have a gander of the effects they had on the common people of Abuja, especially the “subaltern” residents who were never compensated, whose lives were destroyed by that insensitivity to our socioeconomic structure.


There are only three saints in El-Rufai’s book: His late daughter Yasmin, elder brother Bashir and the countless people he introduces as “mentors”. But any attentive reader would understand that El-Rufai who couldn’t resign in a government known for reigns of corruptions, despite his unsuccessful attempts to justify his stay, is apparently suffering from Out-of-Office syndrome. His portrayals of Yar’Adua, especially when he engaged the services of foreign lobbyists to make Yar’Adua appear like a military leader, betrays the honesty of his activism.


The El-Rufai who afforded such media stunts wasn’t broke as declared in this memoir. That politics is too cheap for Nigerians. The trick in this new turn of El-Rufailitics is to wallop his fellow members of the elite class just to earn the sympathy and trust of the “Suffering Class” and, more importantly, the Twitter-based youths many of whom only think that Nigeria is just the size of their blogs. One thing El-Rufai fails to acknowledge is: Though a crocodile may stay with a community of alligators, it can never become one. May God save us from us!



– by Gimba Kakanda

@gimbakakanda (on Twitter)

  • Precious Olu

    WOW.. This is simply brilliant, Gimba. Never thought someone would ever reduced Nasir El-Rufai to a pitiable thing.

    I’m beginning to love Nigeria again!

  • Haruna Sanusi

    I’m neither for or against El-Rufai, but I failed to see a balanced review of TAPS. Please do a comprehensive and balanced review instead of this highly one sided commentary. This will benefit many who may not have the opportunity to read the book. Thank you.

  • moshood Isah

    As the reviewer indicated that el rufai never said anything negative about himself, I also love as the review was just critics and no appraisal..

Related Posts

Recent Posts

Chris Oyakhilome Facing Trouble In South Africa Over Money He Makes There

Chris Oyakhilome is facing trouble in South Africa after refusing to comply with government orders to release his financial records. According to a report in News 24, several prominent church leaders have not adhered to the demands of the South African Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities. The Commission, led by Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva is investigating the commercialisation of religion and the abuse of people's beliefs within South Africa, where...

Rapist Jailed After The Woman He Tried To Rape Tracked Him Down On Facebook

A young woman who was sexually assaulted by a man she met outside a nightclub tracked him down on Facebook after he mentioned they had friends in common. Chanel Purchase, 21, found the picture of 22-year-old James Huggett after trawling social media following the attack in April last year. The man - who did not tell her his name - had offered to walk Miss Purchase home, but pinned her to the...

Scott Disick Takes Kourtney Kardashian To Lunch

Scott Disick and Kourtney Kardashian were spotted going to lunch together in Calabasas, California, on Wednesday. It was the first time the two were seen together without their kids or other family members present since their bitter split this a couple of months ago over Scott's cheating, drinking and partying. More photos below...

Stripper Attacks Man After He Tells Her To Lose Weight

A South Carolina stripper attacked a man after he didn't want her to take off her clothes — he wanted her to lose weight. The Derrieres Gentlemen's Club stripper had heard enough out of Kyle Yeoman, 23, after he told her, "go to the gym and lose weight" early Sunday morning, according to documents obtained by The Smoking Gun. After he gave some dumbbell advice, she lunged off the stage and punched him in the face four times, causing...

Husband Storms Church, Demands Money Wife Paid As Tithe

An angry husband stormed a church service demanding his Sh200,000 loan that his wife gave as tithe for prayers against demons in a local church last Sunday. Mr. Geoffrey Odhiambo said his wife took the money, for which a bank used his car as collateral, and gave it to the church, without his consent.According to the  wife,she gave the money as “tithe for prayers as there were evil spirits and devils in her house”. An eyewitness, Lawrence Odengo...

Ethiopian Man Told He Was Too Short To Be A Pilot, Builds Personal Plane Using YouTube Videos

An Ethopian man has built his own plane after he was told he couldn't be a pilot because he was too short.Asmelash Zeferu did not want to let being too short stop him from flying a plane,so this weekend, the 35-year-old, plans to take his handcrafted K-570 light aeroplane to the air near the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and marry his fiancé Seble Bekele when he lands. He has never flown before and he...

ISIS Website Hacked And Replaced With Advert For Viagra

An ISIS propaganda website on the dark web has been hacked and replaced with an advert for a service selling prozac and viagra tablets which told extremists to 'calm down.' The site for the terror group appeared on the Tor browser of the dark web last week in a bid to get extremists to join up. However, less than a week later, the site had been hacked and visitors to the page were greeted with a message for the medication. It...

Obasanjo Congratulates Goodluck Jonathan For Handing Over To President Buhari

Almost six months after the change of government, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has for the first time congratulated former President Goodluck Jonathan for successfully handing over to President Muhammadu Buhari and commended him for continuing to have faith in Nigeria. Obasanjo’s commendation was contained in his reply to President Jonathan’s earlier notification of his plans to establish a foundation following the end of his term in office as president. Jonathan had in a letter dated...

South East Traders Disown Biafra And Their Struggle

The‘South East Markets Amalgamated Traders Association  have disowned the Director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu and the pro-Biafran struggle. In a statement by their President and the Secretary, Okwudili Ezenwankwo and Temple Udeh respectively and made available to journalists in Awka on Tuesday, the traders said they had nothing to do with the Movement for the Actualisation of Biafra and the Indigenous People of Biafra. The statement read, “We are constrained to react...

Teen Girl Who Fled To Join ISIS Beaten To Death After Trying To Escape

Samra Kesinovic, 17, pictured left who fled Austria in April 2014 along with her friend Sabina Selimovic, is believed to have been beaten to death by ISIS terrorists having tried to sneak out of Raqqa.  Sabina is believed to have died in December during a period of heavy fighting. Both girls appeared in propaganda videos for ISIS soon after they arrived in Syria.Her friend who went with her was killed months earlier .

Kylie Jenner Explains Her Relationship With Tyga On Ellen Degeneres Show

Kylie Jenner's interview with Ellen Degeneres doesn't air until Monday, but the show has released a sneak peek and it's juicy. While Kylie is really there to promote her upcoming lipstick line, Ellen doesn't let her get away too easy, asking her if she really, actually broke up with Tyga. "I don't know what's going on, all I hear is that you're with Tyga, you're not with Tyga?" Ellen asked.  "No. We're not broken up,"...

House Of Reps Demands End To Customs’ Roadblocks

The House of Representatives has asked the Nigerian Customs Service to stop the practice of mounting road blocks in search of goods that have already been brought into the country. After considering a motion of public importance raised by Temitope Olatoye, the House urged the Comptroller General of Customs to deploy more personnel to the borders to curtail the activities of smugglers. The Nigerian Customs Service has also been encouraged to engage in continuous training and development programmes...

Buhari Establishes E-UNIT To Cut Cost Of Governance

President Muhammadu Buhari has taken a critical step towards cutting the cost of governance with the establishment of the Efficiency Unit, E-UNIT, which will vet all major expenditures of Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs. The E-UNIT which is to be domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Finance is headed by a Project Leader, Ms Patience Oniha. The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who announced this in Abuja, yesterday, explained that the E-UNIT was...

Minister Of Youth & Sports Confirms Payment Of N5,000 To Unemployed Nigerians Begins 2016

The federal government has assured that it would commence payment of N5,000 promised unemployed Nigerian youth during the electioneering campaign, from 2016 . The minister of youth and sports, Solomon Dalong, made the commitment on Wednesday when he paid a condolence visit on the national chairman of the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, John Odigie-Oyegun, over the death of the party’s governorship candidate in the recently held inconclusive election in Kogi state, Abubakar Audu. Mr....

Buhari Departs To Malta Tomorrow For Commonwealth Summit & UN Climate Change Conference

President Muhammadu Buhari will leave Abuja on Thursday for Malta to participate in the 2015 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which begins on Friday. The Commonwealth is made up of Britain, Nigeria and 51 other countries that work together to pursue common goals and promote development, democracy, peace, security and good governance. President Buhari and other Heads of State and Government, who will be in the Island nation for this year’s summit, are expected to...

Katsina Mosque Bomb Blast Confirmed, Suspect Nabbed With Explosive Remnants

Explosion rocked a mosque at Yartabki village near the headquarters of Funtua local government in Katsina State on Tuesday. The state’s police public relations officer, Aminu Saqiq, confirmed the incident to the New Agency of Nigeria. But said no one was injured in the incident. The police spokesman said a suspect had been arrested, disclosing that two mobile cell phones and remnants of the explosives were also recovered. He added that the recovered items...

Pro-Biafra Groups Reject South East Govs’ Resolutions

The South East governors have failed in their effort to end ongoing protests by members of the Movement for Actualization for Sovereign State of Biafra and Indigenous People of Biafra, over the continued detention of the director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu. In a statement on Wednesday, MASSOB rejected the resolutions, arguing that it did not address the major reason for the protest – the continued detention of Nnamdi Kanu. Igbo leaders including present and...

5 Suspected Robbers Gunned Down In Shootout With Police In Lagos

The Police in Lagos on Wednesday killed five suspected armed robbers and arrested one with bullets wounds. Police sources told newsmen in Ikeja that the suspects had engaged policemen from Elemoro Division, Ajah in Ibeju-Lekki Local Government Area in a shootout where they were killed. He said that five of them were killed on the spot and one injured by bullets was arrested. “The police in Elemoro got information that the suspects were operating at Abule Parapo, opposite Awoyaya...

7 Types Of Marriage Betrayal That Are Often Overlooked (MUST READ)

1. You always put the kids first.  Who comes first in your life, your spouse or the kids? While you should prioritize your kids' needs, putting too much focus on them could cheat your spouse out of your energy and full presence, said Otto Collins, a relationship coach who co-authored the book Passionate Spark, Lasting Love with his wife Susie. "You think focusing on your kids and other obligations will strengthen and make your relationship better but...

AWOOF: Motorists Get Free Fuel In Kaduna

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), has dispensed fuel to motorists and motorcyclists for free in a filling station in Kaduna State. The station, Samrada Nigeria Limited, located at Romi Junction in the state capital, was said to have a total of 19, 500 litres of fuel which it was hoarding. The agency, led by the Zonal Controller, Usman Ndanusa, during its routine inspection of petrol stations across the state, discovered that the petrol station was also selling above...

Emir Of Kano Pays Courtesy Visit To Oshiomhole, Delighted Over His Performance As Governor

The Emir of Kano, His Highness, Muhammad Sanusi II has expressed satisfaction with the performance of Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, saying the Governor is doing well. Speaking during a courtesy visit to the Governor in Government House, the Emir said “I am happy to see that the governor is doing well.” According to him, “I have been following some of your recent comments on the minimum wage”, adding that the Governor has remained consistent to the ideals for which...