Former Kaduna State Governor Faces Setback in Pursuit of Ministerial Role

Former Kaduna State Governor Faces Setback in Pursuit of Ministerial Role

President Bola Tinubu’s agreement with ex-Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, regarding a ministerial role has fallen apart.

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Anticipated Role and Change of Heart

El-Rufai had been expected to lead the soon-to-be-established Ministry of Power and Gas.

This followed exhaustive discussions with Tinubu about ensuring a steady power supply for the country.

Although El-Rufai expressed an initial wish to retire abroad for a quieter life during the presidential campaign, he reconsidered after post-election “intensive discussions with the President.”

Merger Suggestion for Gas and Power

Recognizing the pivotal role of gas in ensuring constant power, El-Rufai proposed that the gas sector be combined with the power ministry.

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A reliable informant disclosed to Punch that El-Rufai had started liaising with sector specialists to realize the President’s vision of constant power.

Key figures in this team included Jimi Lawal, Olu Verheijen, Eyo Ekpo, and Tolu Oyekan.

Speculation Over Delayed Confirmation

The El-Rufai faction suspects that several reasons might have made the President postpone his confirmation.

An insider shared, “There’s a belief that some at the Villa perceived El-Rufai as a threat.

They’re perhaps strategizing for the forthcoming elections and view him as an obstacle.

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Notably, adversaries such as Senator Shehu Sani, members of the Christian Association of Nigeria, and even some Muslim clerics are believed to be part of the resistance against him.”

Historical Context

A reminder was made of the Obasanjo era when El-Rufai faced challenges with federal legislators over alleged bribe demands.

With Obasanjo’s mediation, the issue was resolved, and the Senate approved him.

The point was made that if President Tinubu was genuinely supportive, he would have insisted on clearing El-Rufai.

Planning for the New Ministry

Earlier information disclosed that El-Rufai had numerous discussions with the President about structuring the new ministry.

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They discussed the potential of merging the gas sector into the Power Ministry, and the idea of establishing the National Energy Council.

This council was proposed to include ministers from finance, environment, energy, justice, and the National Security Adviser’s office.

The President seemed to resonate with these suggestions.

Alliance Origins and Concerns

The bond between Tinubu and El-Rufai originates from the ex-Kaduna governor’s stance during a pre-election issue within the All Progressives Congress.

This alliance initially made Tinubu overlook certain unfavorable security assessments about El-Rufai.

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However, whispers suggest that key figures close to Tinubu expressed doubts regarding El-Rufai’s reliability.

Official Security Report and Clearance Issues

Punch obtained a cover letter from the Director-General, Department of State Services, indicating potential security concerns about El-Rufai.

This letter recommended that El-Rufai’s Senate clearance be deferred until ongoing investigations were completed.

However, the specific details of the concerns were not shared.

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