Ibraheem Shehu Musa, the former media aide to ex-Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai, has accused President Bola Tinubu of failing to ensure his former principal’s nomination as a minister gets confirmed by the Senate Ministerial Committee.
El-Rufai was among the three ministers out of the 48 nominated by President Tinubu not to be confirmed by the Godswill Akpabio-led Senate. The current set of ministerial nominees will make the largest assemblage of ministers by any president since the return to democratic rule in 1999 if the number is kept after confirmation.
However, findings by BusinessDay revealed that indeed Tinubu wanted Rufai to be a key part of his new cabinet, especially after it emerged that the president had promised him the opportunity to lead the yet-to-be-created Federal Ministry of Energy. A ministry that would enable the president to address the power shortages limiting the economic potential of Africa’s biggest economy.
On getting these assurances, Rufai sprung to work, creating an impressive blue print that got the attention and excitement of the president. The assurance solidified El-Rufai’s belief that he would get the new energy ministry.
However, the nomination process encountered errors and security agency issues.
The former governor eventually turned his back on the nomination and sought further learning to serve in a different capacity.
“Specifically, the president-elect promised El-Rufai, in no uncertain terms, the new ministry of energy,” Musa said in an opinion article.
“Thereafter, Nasir El-Rufai mobilised his team and produced a blueprint that wowed Tinubu, about three weeks before his ministerial nomination.
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The media aide accused the president of being deliberate in not providing the much-needed support to ensure that his former principal scales through the plethora of hurdles at senate screening and security agency screening.
He stated: “Afterwards, the comedy of errors began, first by a security chief who, in a hurry to nail El-Rufai, breached official communications protocol. First, he wrongly sent a letter to the senior special assistant to the president on national assembly matters instead of the senate president.
“Second, the letter was signed by a director of the State Security Service and not the president. Third, the issues raised were rehashed political altercations and selective interpretations.
“Besides, the ban on El-Rufai from holding public office, a recommendation of a house committee, has been quashed by the court. The Senate, on mere allegations, refused to confirm El-Rufai as minister.
On the president’s alleged duplicity on the matter, the media aide said: “However, when El-Rufai met with Tinubu, the usually forthright and straight-talking president, according to reports, pleaded for time to deal with the matter.
“Tinubu, at that point, started being evasive like the politician that Tony Wilson sang about. El-Rufai, on his part, has turned his back on the ministerial nomination, gone back to school, to learn, unlearn, and relearn, to someday serve the public in another realm.”
Musa said that it was painful to watch how his Rufai has been treated, especially taking into account the role he played in Tinubu’s emergence as the party’s candidate and eventual winner of the February 25 presidential election.