Obasanjo’s double-speak on Gov. El-Rufai

Obasanjo’s double-speak on Gov. El-Rufai

Saturday, December 14, 2019 3:55 pm

Obasanjo, left, and El-Rufai

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, was a special guest at Kaduna State Executive Council meeting on Wednesday 11 December. That day, he poured encomiums on Governor Nasir El-Rufai, a statement that was diametrically different from the verbal missile he fired at the Kaduna Governor in 2017.

Obasanjo reminded the audience on Wednesday that El-Rufai, who served under his administration as Minister of FCT, was “one of the best persons to work with, he is a near-genius. We need a character like this, a man that you know where you stand with him. Any job given to him will be well done,’’ adding that the people of Kaduna state now “have a good leader to work with.”

He added said that Nigeria needs a public servant like El-Rufai who, as PMNEWS put it, has displayed pan-Nigeria character and commitment to good governance.

He further praised El-Rufai’s approach to governance especially in giving opportunities to women and that his cabinet “reflects a mini-Nigeria and has been striving to restore the past glory of Kaduna as a melting point of all Nigerians.”

However, that was different from the verbal Exocets that Obasanjo fired at the Kaduna governor in 2017. 

In an article, “El-Rufai has penchant for lying, disloyalty,” Obasanjo criticized El-Rufai but acknowledged his prodigious intellect.

He wrote with vitriol: “Nasir’s penchant for reputation savaging is almost pathological. Why does he do it? He is brilliant and smart. I grant him that also. Very early in my interaction with him, I appreciated his talent and brilliance. At the same time, I recognized his weaknesses; the worst being his inability to be loyal to anybody or any issue consistently for long, but only to Nasir el-Rufai. He barefacedly lied which he did to me against his colleagues and so-called friends. I have heard of how he ruthlessly savaged the reputation of his uncle, a man who was like, in the African setting, his foster father. I shuddered when I heard the story of what he did to his half-brother in the Air force who is senior to him in age.

“A leader must know the character and ability of his subordinates. Character wise, Nasir has not much going for him. But he is a talented young man who can always deliver under close supervision. So, when Osita Chijoka approached, among others, propping Nasir as my possible successor, believing that whoever I supported would make it, which was a false belief; I did not hesitate to point to Nasir’s naivety and immaturity, talk less of his inability to give honour to whom honour is due.

“My vivid recollection of him is penchant for lying, for unfair embellishment of stories and his inability to sustain loyalty for long. Two years after I had left office, Osita came to me to confirm how right I was on my assessment and judgement of Nasir. I knew what I could make him to achieve and he achieved it for my administration and for the country. I believe that he can still be used in public service but under guidance and sufficient oversight, making allowance for the psychology of ‘his petit size and his elephantine brain’.” Continue reading


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