Abuja—Former Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, has opted out of President Bola Tinubu’s cabinet as a minister.
In an exclusive report by an online newspaper, PREMIUM TIMES, El-Rufai was said to
have told President Tinubu at a meeting on Tuesday that he was no longer interested in becoming a minister but would continue to contribute his quota to the development
of Nigeria as a private citizen.
Quoting presidency sources, Premium Times also reported that the former governor “told the
president that he needed time to focus on his doctorate programme at a university in The Netherlands.”
Additional sources confirmed that El-Rufai who had already left the country was very angry that if President Tinubu really wanted him in his cabinet, he would have made it possible for him to get the nod of the Senate.
Another insider also told the medium that El-Rufai suggested a new ministerial nominee—Jafaru Ibrahim Sani—for Kaduna State, saying the President would find him very useful and resourceful.
Sani served as commissioner in three ministries in Kaduna State (Local Government Education and Environment) while Mr ElRufai was governor.
El-Rufai visited the President at the presidential villa a day after the Senate confirmed 45 ministerial nominees after a week-long screening of 48 of them.
The upper legislative chamber, however, withheld his confirmation and those of two others, citing security reports from the Department of State Service, DSS for the action.
The two others were a former senator from Taraba, Sani Danladi, and a nominee from Delta State, Stella Okotete.
On becoming aware of the Senate pronouncement on his case, El-Rufai, who only returned to Nigeria from London on Monday, sought and got an appointment to meet the president. At the meeting on Tuesday afternoon, President Tinubu, according to Premium Times sources, told the former governor he received some petitions critical of his ministerial nomination.
The president then asked for 24 hours grace to review the petitions and the DSS report to the Senate to enable him reach a decision. It was at that point that
El-Rufai responded that he was no longer interested in being minister since it appeared some forces around the president were scheming intensely to block his emergence as federal minister.
El-Rufai had disclosed during his confirmation hearing on August 1 that President Tinubu asked him to work with him on the power problem facing the country.
According to him, the President had given a
target of seven years for Nigeria to stop experiencing power outages in the country.
At the Tuesday meeting, Mr El-Rufai also reportedly told the President that since he would no longer be in the federal executive council, he would return the next day with his team to present the preliminary work done so far on the energy sector.
The team that accompanied the former governor to make presentations to the president on Wednesday includes Eyo Ekpo, a former commissioner at the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC); Hafiz Bayero, a former commissioner and administrator of the Kaduna Capital Territory Authority; Tolu Oyekan of the Boston Consulting Group and Ayodele Oni, a lawyer.
El-Rufai is studying for a doctorate in public policy at the United Nations University, Maastricht.
His associates said as he prepared to leave office as governor in May this year, he had indicated his desire to exit public life and concentrate on his PhD programme.
But that was until then President-elect Tinubu asked him to join his cabinet so he could charge him with the responsibility of repositioning the inefficient power sector in Africa’s largest economy.