By Emmanuel Aziken
When Mallam Nasir El-Rufai recently told a Vanguard reporter that it would be untenable for a Northerner to aspire for the presidency in 2023, he again projected his well-known doggedness to principle.
That doggedness was shaped decades ago, and sometimes, at great personal cost.
In the early 90s, being one of the most cerebral quantity surveyors in the land, El-Rufai reportedly took a stubborn decision not to involve himself in the charade that passed off at the Petroleum Trust (Special) Fund, PTF. At a time when folks with less intelligence were reaping from the PTF, Mallam took a principled stand not to partake in that twisted venture.
It was apparently irritating for Mallam that all jobs of the PTF were channeled through one company, Afri Projects Consultants, APC.
The APC, it later emerged, was founded by a relative of one of the key leaders of the PTF. The man it was later alleged, took ill, and died the day word leaked out that President Olusegun Obasanjo would probe the PTF scheme.
At that time, El-Rufai was embedded in the inner circle of the Obasanjo presidency, and it cannot be proved whether he was or was not a facilitator in the decision.
But whatever, he became an alluring star in the Obasanjo presidency to the extent that Atiku Abubakar, a man renowned for tapping good brains, was willing to pay the N50 million bribe required by some avaricious senators to confirm him as a minister in 2003.
In four years as a minister, El-Rufai remodeled Abuja and rectified the master-plan. However, it was at a great human cost as many agonised because of the demolitions.
But he set a standard especially in the establishment of a standardized land registry which has since become a model for many states.
Indeed, the enthronement of merit he brought to bear in the FCT administration has been replicated in Kaduna.
Hate or love him, but what no one denies is his unusual brilliance. Another trait of Mallam is his pursuit of development wherever he finds himself in public service.
Besides the infrastructural development and education reforms ongoing in Kaduna are the exemplary good governance models as shown in the prompt presentation of budgets.
The attachment of portfolios to commissioner nominees is one good governance instinct that has prevailed since his first term.
Indeed, his intellectual inclination to governance is the departure point in approaching the contradictions in Mallam’s present political dispositions.
How a man who so much despised the set up framed by APC (Afri Projects Consultants) for the PTF has now become so much swallowed up in the frailties inherent in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC is a wonder?
That contradiction is worsened by the fawning fervor Mallam pays to the political leadership of the APC, as personified in President Muhammadu Buhari.
That Mallam espouses himself a Buharist in the face of the seeming incapacity of his political leader to resolve the internal dissensions in his government is shocking. It is a government where various sub-heads are in perpetual conflict, holding the nation hostage to their tantrums.
Earlier this week, Mallam showed another contradiction when he apologized for the bandit attack in communities in Igabi. It was a welcome stunner in the face of sycophantic adulations from the Amen Corner of the presidency over the questionable defeat of Boko Haram.
It contradicts the narrative of his mentor in passing blames to all for the glaring failures Nigerians see in leadership.
Even more of a contradiction to Mallam’s promotion of intellectual elegance in governance is the seeming lack of religious tolerance in his government.
Social media has lately been animated with the distribution of power between Christians and Muslims in the state.
Up until the present administration, previous governors had almost always sought a balance. It was there during military rule when a Christian deputy in the person of Mrs. Pamela Sadauki was chosen.
But apparently, equity and accommodation have now been rejected. So, the governor, deputy governor, speaker, deputy speaker, majority leader, SSG, are all Muslims.
Even more, the two ministers from the state are Muslims.
Of course, one would have expected Mallam’s political leader to tutor him on tolerance. But no, apparently some suggest that Mallam’s present inclination may actually be his way of proving his loyalty to the leader, given that marginalization at the national level has become the norm.
In choosing his deputy, a southern Kaduna Muslim woman, El-Rufai may have proved his knack for political survival.
The choice of the Muslim woman became a rallying point for him among Muslims across the state. In fact, he could have lost the election without the Muslim-Muslim ticket.
The claim is that even if he had appointed the pope as his running mate that the Christian South would still not have voted for him.
Mallam through that knowledge, showed his political sagacity by going for broke with a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
While some disregard his violation of religious sensibilities given the unprecedented developments in the state, the promotion of equity is an undeniable trait in sound political leadership.
These are contradictions to a valuable legacy!
Vanguard News Nigeria.