The Controversy of the last few days has warranted some comments. That a professional organization has elected to endorse a one-sided narrative on a profound national issue is something that its members may wish to reflect upon.” – Governor El Rufai’s spokesman, Muyiwa Adeyeye.
Governor Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna State has always been a defiant man who appeared to care less what others think of him. However, his reaction, through his spokesperson, Muyiwa Adekeye, that the governor chose to be sober, probably indicates that the withdrawal of invitation given to El Rufai to speak at the upcoming NBA virtual conference really got to the governor.
Surprisingly, El Rufai‘s statement, through Adekeye, was rather timid, very unlike the Kaduna State governor. Why the timid response, you may ask; this may have more to do with the 2023 presidential election. The withdrawn invitation, coming just few days after he was upbraided for his handling of ongoing killings in Southern Kaduna, might just have been too much for El Rufai to bear. An almost certain death to his rumored 2023 presidential aspirations.
For a man rumored to be interested in the presidential race of 2023, either as main candidate or as running mate, two major controversies in the span of three days isn’t good for his public perception. It could be a rude awakening because the governor always had influence with President Obasanjo, and now President Buhari.
The fact that he was partly credited by some to be responsible for drafting Buhari to contest in 2015 after the General had declared he was no longer interested in contesting, after three failed attempts, could have made El Rufai to believe in himself as larger than life. Perhaps that wrong perception of himself (by himself) could have been behind why he made statements to effect that a southern politician shouldn’t necessarily succeed the current president.
The final straw to El Rufai’s NBA misfortune may have come from Femi Falana, SAN, who wrote a letter to the organizers of the upcoming NBA conference. Falana was able to raise other issues on El Rufai’s antecedents which other NBA members didn’t mention in their condemnation of the now withdrawn invitation. While others had concentrated on the unfortunate killings of people in Southern Kaduna, Falana through his letter, implied that El Rufai was a leopard that can’t change the spots on its skin.
Excerpts from Falana’s letter:
“You will agree with us that Mallam El Rufai’s penchant for disobeying court orders is inconsistent with the aims and object(ives) of the NBA which includes promotion of the rule of law.” He wrote.
This statement may appear brief but to El Rufai, it’s a signal to the type of opposition he’s likely to come up against, if at all he decides to throw his hat into the 2023 presidential ring. This is further complicated by the fact that one of the strongest allegations against the current president is that he doesn’t obey court orders. Hence having another man with similar antecedents, either as President or Vice would just not fly, for many.
That’s not all, many of his ‘transgressions’ as former Minister of the FCT, Abuja, would begin to reappear. Furthermore, his handling of the southern Kaduna crisis mean potential electorates are more likely to view him as an extension of Buhari’s ‘legacy’. What an irony.
El Rufai, this is just the beginning. If he has been so strongly opposed to speak at an NBA conference, just imagine the level of opposition he’s likely to face while trying to sell his candidacy to other professional organizations, pro-democracy groups, pressure groups, christian religious organizations, etc.