Nasir el-Rufai and the question of integrity: A critical assessment

by Femi Owolabi Success

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.

When we talk of integrity, we generally refer (at least in part) to the realisation of that nature which is literally integral to our being; of being true to our intrinsic qualities and character.

Mallam Nasir el-Rufai to some is a man of considerable intellect.

Well, I’ve not come to question that, lest some toothless dogs start to name me another Reno Omokri or say that I was at dinner with Reuben Abati yesterday. This is no lambaste, it’s simply mere musings of one desperate Naija boi.

I once asked my younger brother why he had chosen El-Rufai as his mentor. He said El-Rafai gave him a handshake and took a photo with them when he came to their school. He was part of the executives of the student union government that hosted El-Rufai and the Buhari-Bakare team during the 2011 electioneering time.  

“Mehnn you need to see how soft Mallam’s palm is,” he added. I still laugh at my brother though – that he believes in someone’s ideologies just because of an ordinary hand shake? Little would Mallam know what that handshake had done to my brother. I could only trace this to humility. I also heard about the day(s) he went to drop his kids at school by himself when people would have expected his driver would do the job. A LG chairman wouldn’t even give me a handshake when we also invited him to our school. He didn’t even come, he sent a representative. I sincerely applaud El-Rufai’s humility.

And of course for those following El-Rufai on Twitter, you won’t be ostracised as he tries to respond to every tweet at him. He has even started a Q & A session. I remember my first tweet at him:

“Well I’m yet to accept your ideologies @elrufai but I think your regular presence here is applaud-able.” This actually forms the basis for this piece.

I respect Gen. Muhammadu Buhari for whatever good that has been ascribed to his name. However, as long as I have the ownership to my thoughts, none of the ex-generals especially those involved in military coup d’etat should be given room to govern the Nigeria state again. They never valued democracy, so why ask for the platform? Hence, I’d rather shoot myself in the foot than vote for a Buhari.

A simple question I’ve tweeted at El-Rufai thrice, yet he has refused to answer.

“U once condemned Buhari’s presidency and in 2011 we saw you campaign for him. Sir @elrufai have you clarified these conflicting stands?”

Perhaps his silence was intentional or unintentional, but I begin to wonder if our dear Mallam now has femnophobia– the fear of answering Femi’s questions.

However, let’s quickly see what we can bring out here:

A note titled El Rufai: Buhari should stick to facts by Muyiwa Adekeye

Media Adviser to Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, was published on El-Rufai’s Facebook wall on Monday, October 4, 2010 at 11:39pm. Here’s a link:


Few months later we got this from the news:


I remember that to err is human. But even if people change, what did Buhari who was ‘perpetually unelectable’ in 2010 suddenly do to deserve El-Rufai’s endorsement? Or did someone caution Mallam to tread gently on his fellow northern-home-state man? Mind you, I’m only musing! 

El-Rufai is becoming a foremost critic of the present GEJ government. I have avidly followed him on Twitter where he shares his views on regular basis. Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. But then, is coughing in the theater a respiratory ailment? How far has Mallam’s critiques influenced the governance? 

I shook my head when El-Rufai became the grand interviewee from the opposition during the fuel subsidy removal protests. For God’s sake, President Jonathan said he understands that the policy was a difficult one both for him and Nigerians, but it’s wrapped in a paradox that would later yield relief to all Nigerians.

What I think here is also akin to how El-Rufai bulldozed buildings in the FCT when he was the minister, in the name of restructuring Abuja to its original plan and to also embellish it. It was a difficult decision to take, Mallam had admitted. Likewise a painful one on those affected. But is Abuja not fine today and Mallam’s decision not applaudable?

And mind you, I’m no conformist to the fake subsidy removal idea. I just think El-Rufai wasn’t in a position to fault it – not considering his own antecedents as an administrator. 

Furthermore, it is noteworthy that anytime you ask El-Rufai especially on Twitter, if he will contest in 2015, he will without hesitating give you a sharp ‘NO’ response. But, considering the instability of our dear Mallam’s statements as highlighted above, don’t you think 2015 is a lot of months for Nasir el-Rufai to reconsider his present state of mind?

Well, I pray I don’tlaugh my lungs out when I begin to see the adverts ‘El-Rufai for president 2015.’

 I revere the Mallam’s person. I also acknowledge the brilliance with which his name his associated. But I am skeptical about his ideologies. I have also tried to trace his political existence before 1999, and all I could see as he’s boastfully written it on his profile – is that between 1982 and 1998 he was busy running his el-rufai and Partners consulting firm (see it here

Hold on a minute. Let us appreciate the likes of Dele Momodu (El-Rufai contemporaries) who fought the military government for almost five years (1994-1999), in the NADECO struggle which was the invisible hand behind almost every political development in Nigeria. The movement’s voice rang loudly and clearly in Nigeria and in hallowed diplomatic chambers across the world. For Nigeria ’s dictator General Sani Abacha, the fear of NADECO was the beginning of wisdom. These collective efforts unarguably returned democracy to Nigeria in 1999. Dele Momodu, Wole Soyinka and others went on exile from the military death trap, but it’s funny to hear El-Rufai that exiled himself from a harmless civilian Yar’adua government.

Back to the present, having followed – and still following – El-Rufai on Twitter, I’d like to report an unacceptable tweet he made on Satuday 11/2012. Here is it:

“@Hayzedious: BH r working for some northern politicians because they lost in d elections.” nonsense! BH working for PDP for Ijaw Republic!”

This is somewhat not in compliance with a supposedly brilliant mind.

‘Boko Haram are working for some northern politician because they lost in the elections’ is just a simple unofficial thought of that poor tweep. And Mallam had to bark at him ‘nonsense! Boko Haram working for PDP’ it would have been good if it ended here. He also added ‘for Ijaw republic.’ I don’t see how this tweet had invited the Ijaw into this. The tweep didn’t say ‘some politician from  Daudawa of the Faskari Local Government Area in the northern state of Katsina(where Mallam was born).’

I sense sentiments, I sense tribalism, I sense a personal vendetta.

Finally, our dear Mallam has told us to wait for his upcoming memoir – his book, that would give answers to many unanswered questions. I also hope to see the clarifications I earlier asked for.

Because as it stands, with Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, there are more questions than answers.


Comments (18)

  1. This article is spot on. it tackles issues many are afriads to raise for fear of being labelled pro-PDP and anti north. It's a sentiment that the mallam has intelligently played on. I see in him an opportunist. The truth remains he's bitter about the mode and manner in which he left the party. You do not support an erstwhile military dictator, who infamously told Muslims to 'vote for only Muslims', called for protests against election results- protests which turned violent- and call yourself a democrat.

  2. Nice piece. But I feel dele and elrufai are mile apart. Dele is not a crook and a tribalist, elrufai is a top class manipulator and a tribalist. A lot of people may have forgotten, elrufai campigned for Ribadu and he even said Past military rulers shouldn't context the 2011 election but from the blue he moved to a former military rulers camp for the same election. I tweeted few months ago @elrufai and d tweet read ' I voted for Gen Buhari but I don't trust @elrufai and I will not vote for him. I was blocked.

  3. Its so easy to 4get the mallam's confusing ideologies and the people he rendered homeless when he was minister. I almost did too until I came to my senses a few months ago. U̶̲̥̅̊ stated facts, pure and simple! And raised relevant questions! Good work!

  4. Honestly, it takes someone who has lived in the core north and core southern part of this country to understand that on the average we nigerians are quick to choose sides on an issue rather that use the facts we have right in front of our eyes to judge matters. This article is simple and straightforward, Femi is trying to question el-rufai's integrity in relation to what el-rufai stands for in present day Nigeria and clearly I consider his motives dissemble

  5. Still waiting for the Mallam's voltrons – Omojuwa Japtha, Tolu Ogunlesi, Akin Whatever @forakin to be all over this… Heheheheheheheh

    While at it, please remind us that El Rufai is facing trial for corruption as we speak.

  6. It's refreshing reading an opinion piece where the writter takes time to point us to the FACTS of what he claims. He understands that facts are outside of him and his readers deserve to be shown the facts because they are not stupid. @Mr Iyinola Ayobeyi: TAKE NOTE!!

  7. Right on point Femi, keep it coming. how come d mallam selects just some PDP members to discredit? He should also include OBJ. Brilliance my foot!!!

    He should make a change just like Ribadu is doing rather than criticize from the comfort of his bedroom

  8. Nice piece, said everything I have in mind.

  9. Right on point Femi, keep it coming. how come d mallam select just some PDP members to discredit? He should also include OBJ. Brilliance my foot!!!

  10. People really need to stop being so biased (for whatever reason)! This is clearly an unbiased piece that sheds light on issues based on facts (he did leave you with quotes and web addresses that can be verified you know. The link that didn't work can be checked out at:…. Well done, Mr Success.

    It does indeed seem strange that 7months after describing Buhari as "unelectable" and stating that Nigerians have acted wisely to NOT vote him (there were also inferences of corruption and bad governance), Elrufai turns around to support him and hail him as one who inspired him, while in office and the person to make Nigeria better (even if he was the best of the three candidates, as he claims. Still weird). Or was his earlier (oct 2010) outburst on fb just based on sentiments at the time? And if so, what does that say of him? See here:

    As for Boko Haram being a PDP tool for the "ijaw republic", N**ga what?!

  11. El-rufai is the kind of Head of state Nigeria needs, a ruthless developer who abhors waste in governance. Comparing El-rufai and Otunba is an aberration. There's a difference btw a fighter and an administrator.

  12. You make sense die! I have been following him on Tweeter too n I notice his hatred for GEJ without proffering any solution to our problems. He is as corrupt as those he condemn on Tweeter or let him tell us what happened with FG shares in Afribank when he was in BPE

  13. "Mallam Nasir el-Rufai to some is a man of considerable intellect.

    Well, I’ve not come to question that, lest some toothless dogs start to name me another Reno Omokri or say that I was at dinner with Reuben Abati yesterday. This is no lambaste, it’s simply mere musings of one desperate Naija boi."

    But dude you're trying to justify subsidy removal! Pro-GEJ you're from all your points. So go back to your pay masters and tell them its not working.

  14. A writter comparing D.Momodu with Elrufai and expect readers not to sense sentiment & tribalism. SMH piece of shit

  15. Mr. Femi, nice post. But just don't try to hide it that you're here to bash the Mallam. Of course, about the issue of Buhari, he stated clearly that he changed his mind because there was no better candidate and as such, he opted to join the process of change. About the 'nothern-fellow-state-man' know that Yaradua is also from a northerner, from Katsina.

    Coming to the issue of subsidy removal, (get your facts clear) elrufai was busy talking about the waste in governance, the corruption in our budget and so on. I remember on Matters Arising (on AIT), he said the subsidy is for a corrupted few, but the masses are paying the price. So you have no point there as well.

    About his tweet of 'Ijaw' republic, that was dead wrong. But even so, the Ijaws should demand for apology? How many elders from the south have apologised to the northerners for labeling them terrorists?

    I also believe you should write a different piece to praise Dele & his Nadeco struggles.

    Peace out!

  16. Nice Piece and for once in a while I have seen an unbiased post.Regardless of El-rufai being someone I respect so much I have to be honest he let's his passion get the beta of him.Of course he is human and that is normal but for someone in the public eye who constantly rains hail on the present government;he should rein his emotions more professionally.El-rufai doesn't give his support till u have earned it! And if we are able to pressure him(el-rufai) to contest in 2015.Dude u can laugh all u want bt 'll still vote for him.

  17. i think this article is just baseless…Femi Get a life…u want to make name through El-Rufai abi?

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