Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai is the incumbent Governor of Kaduna State elected through the All Progressives Congress (APC) party in the just concluded general elections in Nigeria.
He was born on the 16th of February, 1960 in Daudawa, Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina State, Nigeria. After the death of his father, Nasir who was 8 years old went to stay with his uncle who sponsored him throughout his school days in Kaduna.
As a result of this, Nasir grew up and now sites his state of origin as Kaduna State.
Nasir El Rufai’s Education
Nasir attended secondary school at the prestigious Barewa College, where he graduated top of the class, winning the coveted “Barewa Old Boys’ Association Academic Achievement” Trophy in 1976.
Another notable attendee to Barewa College at that same time was Umaru Yar’adua, the former late President of Nigeria, who was the House Captain of Mallam Smith House, Nasir’s dormitory as a junior.
He continued his education at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, earning a Bachelors degree in Quantity Surveying with First Class Honors. He also has attended post-graduate programs at the famed Harvard Business School and Georgetown University.
Nasir has gone on to add an LL.B degree from the University of London, graduating in August 2008 with Second Class Honors, Upper Division, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University in June 2009.
He also received the Kennedy School Certificate in Public Policy and Management having spent 11 months as an Edward A. Mason Fellow in Public Policy and Management from July 2008 to June 2009.
El Rufai’s Personal Life
Nasir EL-Rufai is a Muslim and has three wives, Hadiza, Asia and Ummi. Hadiza El-Rufai, his first wife, is an architect who he describes as his best friend for over 30 years.
She served as the First Lady of FCT during his four-year tenure as Minister. El Rufai describes himself as an accidental public servant but has said that his vision is to work for a truly united Nigeria where tribe and religion don’t matter but merit does.
Nasir’s Political Career
El Rufai’s first stint with the government began under the transition government of General Abdulsalami Abubakar, where he served as an adviser in the Transition government.
He held the office of Director General of The Bureau of Public Enterprises, the head privatization agency in Nigeria and also the Secretary of the National Council of Privatization from 1999 – 2003, where he spearheaded the privatization of many government owned companies.
He went on to serve as Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja from July 2003 to May 2007. During this tenure, he was nicknamed Mr Demolition for destroying illegal buildings in the capital city one of which included the house of the Chairman of the ruling party in Nigeria.
The administration of the President, Umaru Yar’adua, who was elected into office that year appointed El Rufai to the National Energy Council in September 2007, due to the belief that he could contribute positively to the under-achieving power sector of the country.
He eventually resigned the appointment in June 2008. During these tenures, He chaired several high-profile cabinet committees that led to the establishment of a mortgage system, National ID card system, Electric Power Supply Improvement and the sale of Federal Government real estate in Abuja.
In 2015, he successfully campaigned for the Office of the Governor of Kaduna State and was elected in a landslide victory.
In 2008, he appeared before the Senate Committee on FCT to explain some exposed and corrupt actions of his administration. It was alleged that he allocated plots of land to his friends, brothers and cronies. The former minister vehemently rejected the allegations.
It was however believed that he was being witch hunted by corrupt political elite as many of the senators had lost properties during the restoration of Abuja.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission invited the former minister to account for almost $250 million. He repeatedly refused to appear before the EFCC but directed the commission to his lawyers because of the view that the EFCC was incompetent and used as a tool to witch-hunt him.
El Rufai published an essay on Nigeria’s President Umaru Yar’Adua titled “Umaru Yar’Adua – Great Expectations, Disappointing Outcomes” which for the first time revealed aspects of the president’s life history, habits and statecraft, as well as the performance (or lack of it) of the administration. The essay has become a reference point for evaluating the Yar’Adua Administration.
Apostle Suleman who is famous for his controversial predictions, like the prophecy of the demise of the late Audu Abubakar, the former governor of Kogi state recently foresaw that Governor El-Rufai will die over his plan to amend Kaduna’s “Religious Preaching Laws of 1984.” and that El-Rufai would lose the 2015 governorship election.
Another Nigerian cleric, Dr Chris Okafor gave Governor El-Rufai 14 days to retract his impending religious bill or face the wrath of God. The Catholic church also weighed in on the Governor’s bill stressing that, no governor elected can be an emperor.