Former Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, surprised many by withdrawing his ministerial nomination from President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Subsequently, he left the country for Egypt. El-Rufai had been nominated as one of the ministers by President Tinubu, with his name included in the initial batch of 28 nominees forwarded to the National Assembly for approval in July.

El-Rufai’s exceptional track record, spanning both private and public sectors, set him apart from many politicians in Nigeria. He was seen as a valuable asset to the Tinubu administration, particularly in the area of power and energy, where his expertise was highly regarded. The electricity sector in Nigeria, despite substantial investments, remained a challenge, and El-Rufai was seen as one of the few capable of addressing its complexities.

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During his screening, El-Rufai expressed President Tinubu’s commitment to achieving stable and reliable electricity supply in Nigeria. Despite some challenges, his determination was evident. However, a petition was presented against him during the screening, citing concerns about security, unity, and national cohesion. Despite this, the Senate president suggested that petitions should not impact the screening process.

In a surprising turn of events, the Senate postponed the confirmation of El-Rufai, along with other nominees, citing security clearance. This development led to mixed reactions, and it was reported that the embarrassment prompted El-Rufai to withdraw his ministerial interest and inform President Tinubu.

It was suggested that the resistance against El-Rufai’s nomination was not solely based on security claims. Powerful individuals, including those within the presidency, were allegedly behind efforts to thwart his appointment. The resistance could be attributed to concerns about the reforms he aimed to bring to the power and energy sector, which some influential figures were uncomfortable with.

El-Rufai’s disappointment with the president’s handling of the situation, as well as the perceived lack of support, played a role in his decision to withdraw his nomination. Despite the setback, he engaged with stakeholders in the power and energy sector, encouraging their support for his potential successor.

El-Rufai’s withdrawal was seen as a loss for both him and the Tinubu administration. His expertise and capabilities could have brought meaningful change to the power and energy sector. The situation highlighted power struggles and possible internal conflicts within the administration, raising concerns about the impact on governance.

Efforts to obtain a response from the presidency regarding the allegations and circumstances surrounding El-Rufai’s withdrawal remained unanswered.

Associate Professor of Political Sociology, Abubakar Kari, noted that El-Rufai fell victim to intricate power play and opposition from political adversaries who feared his rising influence. Despite his impressive qualifications and achievements, El-Rufai faced opposition from powerful forces, including some within the presidency and security services. This situation was seen as detrimental to both the Tinubu administration and those who believed in El-Rufai’s ability to make a positive difference.


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