Nasir El-Rufai, the former Governor of Kaduna State, has withdrawn his interest in becoming a part of President Bola Tinubu’s cabinet, according to an exclusive report by PREMIUM TIMES.

Sources from the presidency have revealed that Mr. El-Rufai conveyed his decision to President Tinubu during a meeting held on Tuesday. He expressed that he no longer wishes to pursue a ministerial role, opting instead to contribute to Nigeria’s development as a private citizen.

During the meeting, Mr. El-Rufai also informed the President of his intention to focus on his doctoral studies at a university in The Netherlands, necessitating his withdrawal from ministerial considerations.

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Furthermore, the former governor recommended a new potential minister, Jafaru Ibrahim Sani, for Kaduna State. He asserted that President Tinubu would find Mr. Sani to be a valuable and resourceful addition to the cabinet, considering his prior roles as a commissioner in various ministries within Kaduna State during Mr. El-Rufai’s gubernatorial tenure.

This development occurred shortly after the Senate confirmed 45 ministerial nominees following a week-long screening process. However, the confirmation of Mr. El-Rufai and two others was withheld due to security reports from the State Security Service.

In response to the Senate’s pronouncement, Mr. El-Rufai, who had recently returned from London, arranged a meeting with President Tinubu. During the meeting, the President indicated that he had received petitions critical of Mr. El-Rufai’s ministerial nomination and requested a 24-hour grace period to review these petitions and the associated SSS report.

At this juncture, Mr. El-Rufai made his decision known, citing his lack of interest in pursuing a ministerial role due to perceived efforts to thwart his appointment by certain individuals within the President’s circle.

It’s worth noting that during his confirmation hearing on August 1, Mr. El-Rufai had disclosed that President Tinubu had tasked him with addressing Nigeria’s power challenges, setting a goal of resolving power outages within seven years.

Despite his withdrawal from ministerial considerations, Mr. El-Rufai expressed his intention to return the following day with his team to present the progress made on the energy sector, even though he would no longer be a part of the federal executive council.

Accompanying him for these presentations were individuals including Eyo Ekpo, a former commissioner at the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission; Hafiz Bayero, a former commissioner and administrator of the Kaduna Capital Territory Authority; Tolu Oyekan from the Boston Consulting Group; Ayodele Oni, a lawyer; and Olu Verheijen, the special adviser to the President on Energy Matters.

Mr. El-Rufai is currently pursuing a doctorate in public policy at the United Nations University, Maastricht. While his original plan was to focus on this academic endeavor after leaving office as governor, President-elect Tinubu had extended an offer to join his cabinet and lead efforts to restructure the energy sector of Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy.

The exact reasons for the change in circumstances between the two men remain unclear, particularly regarding the agency’s decision to block Mr. El-Rufai’s ministerial nomination.

Upon reaching out for comments, Muyiwa Adekeye, Mr. El-Rufai’s media adviser, declined to provide a statement for this report.


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