El-Rufai prepares to fight Tinubu in two courts

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The immediate past governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai is preparing to fight President Bola Tinubu in at least two courts, Saturday Vanguard can report.

The prospects of the battle are to be staged in the courts of the land where El-Rufai expects to clear his name of the allegation of being a security risk, and also in the court of public opinion where political actors expect him to be a major barricade to the president’s re-election in 2027.

The stage for the coming battle follows what both friends and foes of the former governor assert as his public humiliation by the Tinubu administration of being a security risk unfit for ministerial office.

In a way that has garnered public interest, Mallam as he is fondly referred to by his close associates, has excited the political class with gyrations across the North in the last two weeks.

Besides two public meetings with the Social Democratic Party, SDP chiefs, the former governor has consolidated his identity with the political opposition with a visit to the suspended lawmaker representing Bauchi Central Senatorial District, Senator Abdul Ningi.

The proclivity towards the opposition follows what friend and foe describe as the public humiliation served on the former governor.

El-Rufai according to multiple sources despite his immense contributions both strategically and financially to the emergence of Tinubu as president had pledged not to serve in the new government.

The former governor had reportedly preferred a sabbatical in academia.

He was, however, courted by the president with a plea to help revive the energy sector. Even before his ministerial announcement, El-Rufai it was gathered had started laying down plans and processes to tackle the sector. His preparation flowed from his years as director-general of the Bureau for Public Enterprises, where he was involved in the energy reform programmes of the Olusegun Obasanjo administration.

However, to the shock of all El-Rufai was dropped during the Senate ministerial screening on the claim that he failed security clearance.

The shock of the failure to get a security clearance numbed several political actors given his strategic role in moving the hands of Northern governors to back Tinubu ahead of the All Progressives Congress, APC convention. Besides, it was gathered that the former governor played key roles in facilitating the election of the president in some Southwest states not controlled by the APC.

A senior government official from one of the Southwest states on the condition of anonymity said:
“He played a key role in funding us in my state and I can tell this because I was personally involved,” the official from one of the Southwest states said.

Besides the significant contribution as attested by the official from the Southwest State, El-Rufai in the twilight of the Muhammadu Buhari administration also shocked many with his decision to, along with others challenge the Federal Government over the naira redesign project of the federal government.

Defending why he opposed the Buhari government on the naira redesign policy, El-Rufai had claimed it was meant to instigate the polity against the APC by those around the former president who failed in their bid to stop Tinubu from getting the presidential ticket.

“They also sought to achieve any one or more of the following objectives: create a nationwide shortage of cash so that citizens are incited to vote against APC candidates across the board resulting in massive losses for the Party in all the elections.”

However, despite his stellar role in helping Tinubu to power, a source close to El-Rufai disclosed that the camp of the former governor believed that it was wrong for him to have been so publicly humiliated and to have been tagged a security risk.

One of the confidants of the former governor told Saturday Vanguard:

“You think Mallam will allow this tag to abide on him? I can assure you that he is going to clear his name in court.
El-Rufai is a man who has many contacts internationally and he is not one to allow his reputation to be smeared by the reason given by the Senate of being a security risk,” the source said in revealing the prospects of court action to enable the former governor to clear his name.

Besides the resort to the court of law, the former governor it was gathered is also mobilising to play a role against Tinubu in the court of public opinion ahead of 2027.

Whether El-Rufai would stand as a candidate or mobilise against the president in 2027 in the same way he did in supporting him in 2023 is, however, a matter that is yet to be determined.

Saturday Vanguard reports that the strategic facilitation provided by El-Rufai to Tinubu came after he had in the past lampooned Tinubu as a godfather. He had at a lecture in May 2019 averred that it was possible to defeat the godfather of Lagos.

A year later at a webinar to commemorate the 63rd birthday of Rauf Aregbesola in May 2020, El-Rufai had said that Tinubu was not his man.

While congratulating Aregbesola, El-Rufai said, “I want to congratulate my brother, Ogbeni (Aregbesola), on his birthday. You know I’m your man any day. I’m not Asiwaju’s man and you are Asiwaju’s man, but I am your man any day. Asiwaju and I have differences but you and I have no differences.”

Vanguard

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