NewsEl-Rufai: Testing The Waters

El-Rufai: Testing The Waters


March 24, (THEWILL)- After his political trajectory suffered a setback with the disappointing end of his ministerial nomination in August last year, immediate past governor of Kaduna State, one-time Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and prominent founding member of the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, Nasir el-Rufai proceeded on an academic journey abroad.

Shocked by the way the Senate failed to clear his ministerial nomination, he took to his X platform and wailed about betrayal by enemies posing as friends as portrayed in a popular hit song ‘Who the Cap Fits’ by late Reggae maestro, Bob Marley.

But like the politician that he is, staying in circulation and hitting the headlines in a big way to generate reactions that set tongues wagging.


Recall that a leading national newspaper recently reported that party stalwarts from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the governing All Progressives Party, APC, were about to form a mega party to contest the 2027 General Election.

According to the report, at meetings held offshore in “a North African country” and other meetings within Nigeria, the ‘mega-party’ planners led by a former northern governor as the arrowhead of the new quest, “aim, according to them, to prop up a former governor from the north widely known for his radical views and disposition on national issues as presidential hopeful against President Bola Tinubu and his deputy, Kashim Shettima, in case they decide to seek a second term in office in 2027.”

So, when El-Rufai paid a visit to the national headquarters of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, in Abuja on Thursday, there were allegations that he sought to recruit the party into a mega platform.

According to sources close to the SDP headquarters, El-Rufai allegedly plans to lead an emerging mega platform that would wrest power from President Bola Tinubu in 2027.

In a video recording of the meeting, El-Rufai was heard saying “you can post it, I don’t care,” when someone was cautioned against sharing the video on social media platform X (formerly Twitter).

THEWILL gathered that the SDP visit rattled the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who consider it an anti-party activity.

Concerned APC Leaders in the North are, however, worried that El-Rufai’s visit and pronouncements during the meeting at the SDP headquarters constitute anti-party activity for which he ought to be severely punished.

They have, therefore, called on the national chairman of the party, Alhaji Umar Ganduje, to immediately convene a meeting of the National leadership of the APC to decide El-Rufai’s fate before it is too late.

Speaking in a statement in Abuja, Dr Faruk Ahmed, Chairman of Asiwaju Support Group (North), said El-Rufai’s visit to SDP is an open confirmation of the rumour that he was working clandestinely against APC and President Tinubu.

According to him, APC must rise and take decisive action on El-Rufai so that he does not spread a virus that will tear the party apart like he did against the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) under Goodluck Jonathan.

“We have seen the report of his visit to SDP and through our intelligence network also established his mission.

“We understand that he is forming a mega party and is recruiting other small political parties to join him. But we won’t allow that to happen. That is why we are calling on our National Chairman to immediately call a meeting of the national leadership of the APC to take decisive action on him before he destroys our party.

“You will recall that this was how he started immediately Jonathan refused to pick him as his vice president and chose Governor Namadi Sambo instead.

“If you still remember what happened, he had visited Jonathan and lobbied to be his vice president. After that, he started saying good things about Jonathan and praising him. When Namadi Sambo emerged as the Vice President, he turned against Jonathan and started to undermine him and he eventually joined APC.

“Now, we see him doing exactly the same because President Tinubu did not make him a minister. APC must step in and take proper action so that what happened before does not repeat itself.

“You heard him in the video, say, “I don’t care.” That means he knows what he is up to and the consequences. It is that consequence that we now want the APC leadership to act on,” Dr. Ahmed said.

Meanwhile, El-Rufai’s spokesman, Muyiwa Adekeye, has denied any plans by his principal to defect from the APC or work against the party in 2027, saying insinuations towards that are effects of “obsession with politics”.

He said El-Rufai only returned the Iftar visit by the SDP National Chairman, Alhaji Shehu Musa Gabam, adding that there was nothing political in the meeting.

“I consider the most recent speculations about Malam Nasir El-Rufai as reflecting an unhealthy obsession with politics.

“People have personal histories and relationships that predate political affiliations. It cannot be a hallmark of civilisation to have friends from within only your political party. When people visit each other or mingle across party lines, it is because human relationships exist, distinct from the political or the partisan,” Adekeye said.

But Ibrahim Modibbo, a former member of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Presidential Legacy Group thinks otherwise.

He said, “It’s not surprising that El-Rufai will visit the SDP National Secretariat for consultation about the future of his political career. In terms of infrastructural development, El-Rufai has performed well and he’s one of the best-performing governors during the last administration. El-Rufai is somebody like Nyesom Wike.

“Since he left office, the APC has not considered him for anything and this is a man in search of relevance. He is a performer.”

That search for relevance also took him to the South-West recently. Specifically, on December 15, 2023, El-Rufai had stirred the hornet’s nest when he announced with glee on his X handle his installation as Gbobanyi of Ijebuland by His Royal Highness, Oba Sikiru Adetona. A media statement by one his admirers and immediate past Director-General of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, sums up the public reaction to the import of the installation.

Jamoh said, “The fact that His Excellency @El-Rufai is the first person outside the South-West to be conferred with a chieftaincy title by the traditional ruler speaks volumes about the person and character of the two- time former Governor of Kaduna State. This title also brings to the fore El-Rufai’s detribalised disposition towards everyone and his acceptability across the nooks and crannies of the federation.”

Having left his footprint in the sands of time in the Federal Capital Territory as Minister and Kaduna State as Governor, Dr Jamoh assured the people of Ijebu land in particular and the South-West by extension that they will benefit from el Rufai’s wealth of experience in leadership.

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Amos Esele is the Deputy Editor of THEWILL Newspaper. He has over two decades of experience on the job.

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Amos Esele, THEWILL
Amos Esele is the Deputy Editor of THEWILL Newspaper. He has over two decades of experience on the job.

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