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Why is Nasir El-Rufai no longer part of President Bola Tinubu’s cabinet after the senate refused to confirm him



A former Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, has withdrawn his interest in being part of President Bola Tinubu’s cabinet, PREMIUM TIMES can exclusively report.

The Nigerian Senate had confirmed 45 out of the 48 ministerial nominees of President Bola Tinubu.

However, the Senate failed to confirm the nomination  of the immediate  past  Governor  of Kaduna  State and the ministerial  nominee from Kaduna State, Mallam  Nasir El-Rufai as a minister  of the Federal  Republic  of  Nigeria.

Presidency sources said Mr El-Rufai 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.

“He also told the president that he needed time to focus on his doctorate programme at a university in The Netherlands,” one of our sources said.

Another insider also told this medium that the former governor suggested a new ministerial nominee — Jafaru Ibrahim Sani — for Kaduna State, saying the President would find him very useful and resourceful.

Mr Sani served as commissioner in three ministries in Kaduna State (Local Government Education and Environment) while Mr El-Rufai 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 State Security Service for the action.

The two others were a former senator from Taraba, Sani Danladi, and a nominee from Delta State, Stella Okotete.

Our sources said on becoming aware of the Senate pronouncement on his case, Mr 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 our 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 SSS report to the Senate to enable him to reach a decision.

It was at that point that Mr 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 1 August that Mr 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.

Olu Verheijen, the special adviser to the President on Energy Matters, presented on Gas.

El-Rufai is studying for a doctorate in public policy at the United Nations University, Maastricht.

The Secure Nation Group, has commended the Senate for refusing to confirm the nomination of Nasir El-Rufai, a former governor of Kaduna State, for appointment as minister.

The Senate on Monday confirmed 45, out of the 48 ministerial nominees sent by President Bola Tinubu.

Godswill Akpabio, president of the Senate, informed that the three nominees not confirmed would be subjected to further security checks. He urged those not confirmed to take their matter to the President.

Reacting, the group in a statement by signed on their behalf by Ahmed Lawal, Mabel B. Abraham, Mohammed S. Bashir, Kriss Allen and Godwin E. Emmanuel said: “It could be recalled that on July 31, 2023 , we as Nigerians expressed our dismay over the nomination of the immediate past Governor of Kaduna state Nasir El-Rufai among the ministerial nomination list despite his crimes against the people of Nigeria.

“While protesting at the National Assembly, we made it clear that Nasir El-Rufai’s nomination is a disaster to this present administration and to Nigerians in general.

“It is on record that many Nigerians have demanded the investigation and prosecution of the ex-Governor at the International Criminal Court, ICC, if found culpable in the genocidal murder of many Nigerians as well as destruction of properties in Kaduna state.

“In every democratic dispensation, all citizens must be free to follow their conscience in matters of religious faith, freedom of speech and association.

“Freedom of religion includes the right to worship alone or with others, in public or private, and to participate in religious observance, practice, and teaching without fear of persecution from government or other groups in society.

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