#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

EU Pledges $50 Million To Fight Boko Haram

President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to redouble efforts and ensure that Boko Haram is completely defeated, and rendered incapable of targeting even soft targets.  This pledge by the Nigerian President comes as the European Union has promised the sum of 50 million dollars to assist Nigeria in the fight against the terror group. German President, Mr Joachim Gauck, made the pledge on behalf of the EU after holding bilateral talks with President...

EFCC Declares Tompolo Wanted

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Thursday declared a former Niger Delta militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, wanted. The anti-graft agency in an advertorial signed by its Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, said it declared Tompolo wanted following two bench warrants issued against him by a Federal High Court in Lagos, where he has been charged with N45.9bn fraud. In the said advertorial which carried a photograph...

2016 Budget Fraud: Reps Block Ministry’s Controversial N1 Billion Allocation

The budget defence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, on Thursday, ended in a stalemate over controversial allocations to the ministry. There are proposals of N1.07 billion for “optic fibre and satellite space segment” and N50 million for “global communication network computer” in the ministry’s budget. The budget was presented by the minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, on Thursday. Both budget subheads are meant for a global communication...

Supreme Court Dismisses Aisha Al-Hassan’s Appeal

The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Aisha Al-Hassan. In a judgment delivered by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour, the Apex Court held that the appeal lacked merit and substance. The Apex Court upheld the Appellate Court’s verdict which had earlier dismissed the petition on the grounds that the APC and its governorship candidate cannot question the nomination of Governor Darius Ishaku as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party...

TSA enhancing autonomy, research, transparency in tertiary institutions – Emmanuel Agha

At no point in the history of contemporary Nigeria has government been able to fully account for all its funds, at once, from a single consolidated view, until now. Thanks to the Treasury Single Account, TSA, which makes this possible. The TSA initiative is not only to the advantage of the federal government and its agencies, but to the benefit of the entire Nigerian populace. This is why it often comes as a surprise when unnecessarily jabs...

Supreme Court Affirms Ishaku As Taraba Governor

The Supreme Court on Thursday affirmed that Mr Diarus Ishaku of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the April 11, 2015 governorship election in Taraba.   The Justice Bode-Rhodes Vivor-led six justices of the Supreme Court held that the appeal lacked merit.   "We have studied and reviewed the submissions of all the counsel to parties in this appeal and found that there is no merit in the appeal. The decision of the Court of Appeal on this matter is hereby...

Free Feeding: Kaduna Govt Sacks Headmaster, Suspends 2 Others For Diverting Pupils’ Biscuits, Oranges

The Kaduna State Government has sacked two senior education officials and suspended two others for diverting food meant for the feeding of primary school pupils. The Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Dr Shehu Adamu, said at a news briefing in Kaduna on Thursday, that the officials had circumvented laid down procedures of the government’s Schools Feeding Programme, which commenced in January. “A School Support Officer in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area (LGA), Ibrahim Abdullahi has been...

Consumer Protection Council Orders MTN To Pay 1.85m Naira To Promo Winner

CPC has directed MTN Communications Limited to pay 1.85 million Naira to one of the winners of its Ultimate Wonder Promo for lack of due diligence. The order of the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) came on the heels of a complaint brought by Mr Omeje Fidelis against the mobile telecommunications giant that he had been underpaid after he was declared winner of two million Naira in the said sales promotion held in 2012 According to Omeje, he participated in...

I Refused To Give Future My Number, Later He Became Famous – Victoria Kimani

In a interview with YFm's Dj Sabby, Kenyan born Chocolate City artiste, Victoria Kimani, revealed how future tried to holla but she blocked him. I never got his number, never really gave him a chance, to really holla at me. I felt really messed up about it later and like years later, he ended up being future.

President Buhari Receives German President In Abuja #Photos

President Buhari received the President of Germany, Joachim Gauck, at the state house, Abuja today Feb 11th. See more photos below...

Kendall Jenner Sues Skincare Company For $10m For Using Her Face Without Permission

The 20 year old model is suing a skincare company called Cutera for $10milion with claims that they used her face and name to advertise their Laser acne treatment taking without her permission. The advert in question features a photo of Kendall and claims their products and treatments improved her skin. The ad reads - "Acne "completely ruined" Kendall Jenner's self esteem" TMZ reports that the documents in the...

U.S Embassy Condemns Attack On IDP Camp Dikwa

The U.S. Embassy in Nigeria has condemned the suicide attack on the Internally Displaced Persons in Dikwa town, Borno state which has left over 51 persons dead and scores injured.   A statement from the Public Affairs section in the Information Office of the Embassy at the Federal Capital Territory says the United States remains committed to assisting the Internally Displaced Populations in the North-east through humanitarian relief...

FG Inaugurates $160m World Bank SME Fund

Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah on Tuesday unveiled a $160 million (about N49.2 million) World Bank powered scheme to improve access to finance to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in order to boost employment in the country. Also launched, an online vehicle to properly execute the programme was the Business Innovation and Growth (BIG) platform. BIG is landmark initiative of the Federal Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investment, which is...

Germany Seeks Favourable Investment Environment In Nigeria

The visiting President of Federal Republic of Germany, Mr Joachim Gauck, has advised the Nigerian Government to create the right investment environment for more German businesses. Gauck made the call in Lagos at a reception held for him and members of delegation of German Parliament and German companies that visited Abuja and Lagos. The German President, who expressed satisfaction at the successes so far...

Fire Guts NPC Headquarters In Abuja

A mid-day fire outbreak, yesterday, gutted  the headquarters of the National Population Commission (NPC), in Abuja. The fire incident which was caused by a faulty air conditioner affected the training unit on the ground floor of the complex. In a statement signed by Mr Simon Otene, director, public affairs, NPC, at the time of the fire outbreak, technical staff of the commission were undergoing in-house capacity building training. He said some furniture items, office...

Mexican Crime Reporter’s Half-Naked, Bound Body Found By Side Of Road

Half-naked, bound and with a plastic bag over her head,was how they found the body of a Mexican crime reporter who was murdered after being abducted by 8 armed men wearing military uniforms. Mother-of-two, Anabel Flores Salazar, who was a journalist for the newspaper El Sol de Orizaba, was snatched from her home by men with guns claiming they had a warrant for her arrest.

EFCC Seizes N5bn Houses Of Ex-NAF Chief, Amosu, Others

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has seized houses and other properties belonging to the immediate past Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (retd.), and other senior military officers worth N5bn.  senior EFCC official, who did not want his name in print, told our correspondent that the suspects and others were cooperating fully with the anti-graft agency. The source in Abuja, said, “We have sealed a block of 12 luxury flats, located on...

Colonel Adegbe, ADC To Ex-President Jonathan Arrested – Report

Nigerian authorities have arrested Colonel Ojogbane Adegbe, a former Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to former President Goodluck Jonathan over an issue we are yet to ascertain as at press time. Colonel Ojogbane Adegbe A usually credible source familiar with...

Naira Crashes Further, Now N318 To A Dollar

The naira on Wednesday continued its fall against the Dollar on the parallel market, closing at 318 against the United States dollar. It was the third time in three days the naira would experience a drop. The currency, which was traded at 310 for a dollar on Monday and 313 on Tuesday, crashed again on Wednesday against the dollar, amid dwindling liquidity and now sells for N318.

NBA Accuses Buhari Of Plot To Intimidate Judiciary

The Nigerian Bar Association has condemned in strong terms the recent criticism of the judiciary in the fight against corruption. Speaking at the valedictory session organised in honour of a retiring Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Mohammed Muntaka-Coomassie, NBA President, Augustine Alegeh, said the recent attack directed at the judiciary over the ongoing anti-corruption war was unacceptable. “The NBA condemns in its entirety the generalisation and/or categorisation of the Judiciary as being corrupt and...

NLC Calls On Nasarawa Govt. To Implement Full Benefits

The Organised Labour are asking the Nasarawa State Government to pay civil servants full January salaries and to implement all promotions with benefits from two thousand and eleven to date among other demands. The ongoing strike is predicated on twenty one point demands which after five extensive meetings between the government and the Organised Labour has been trimmed to fourteen. Addressing journalists in Lafia, the State Head of Civil Service, Joseph Ancho says the government...