Former Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has officially withdrawn his desire to be a part of President Bola Tinubu’s cabinet, according to exclusive information obtained by Premium Times.
Sources within the presidency have revealed that during a meeting on Tuesday, Mr. El-Rufai conveyed to President Tinubu his decision to no longer pursue a ministerial position. Instead, he expressed his commitment to contribute to Nigeria’s development as a private citizen.
Additionally, Mr. El-Rufai mentioned his intention to dedicate time to his doctoral studies at a university in The Netherlands, as stated by a reliable source.
Furthermore, an insider disclosed that the former governor recommended a potential replacement for a ministerial position from Kaduna State, putting forward the name of Jafaru Ibrahim Sani. He emphasized that President Tinubu could greatly benefit from Mr. Sani’s expertise and resourcefulness.
Mr Sani served as commissioner in three ministries in Kaduna State (Local Government Education and Environment) while Mr El-Rufai was governor.
Sources said on becoming aware of the Senate pronouncement on his case, Mr El-Rufai, who only returned to Nigeria from London on Monday, sought and got an appointment to meet the president.
At the meeting on Tuesday afternoon, President Tinubu, according to sources, told the former governor he received some petitions critical of his ministerial nomination.
The president then asked for 24 hours grace to review the petitions and the SSS report to the Senate to enable him to reach a decision.
It was at that point that Mr El-Rufai responded that he was no longer interested in being minister since it appeared some forces around the president were scheming intensely to block his emergence as federal minister.
Mr El-Rufai had disclosed during his confirmation hearing on 1 August that Mr Tinubu asked him to work with him on the power problem facing the country.
According to him, the President had given a target of seven years for Nigeria to stop experiencing power outages in the country.
At the Tuesday meeting, Mr El-Rufai also reportedly told the President that since he would no longer be in the federal executive council, he would return the next day with his team to present the preliminary work done so far on the energy sector.
The team that accompanied the former governor to make presentations to the president on Wednesday includes Eyo Ekpo, a former commissioner at the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC); Hafiz Bayero, a former commissioner and administrator of the Kaduna Capital Territory Authority; Tolu Oyekan of the Boston Consulting Group and Ayodele Oni, a lawyer.
Olu Verheijen, the special adviser to the President on Energy Matters, presented on Gas.
Mr El-Rufai is studying for a doctorate in public policy at the United Nations University, Maastricht.
His associates say as he prepared to leave office as governor in May this year, he had indicated his desire to exit public life and concentrate on his PhD programme.
But that was until then President-elect Tinubu asked him to join his cabinet so he could charge him with the responsibility of repositioning the inefficient power sector in Africa’s largest economy.
It is unclear what suddenly went wrong between the two men such that an agency of government would block Mr El-Rufai’s ministerial nomination without the president lifting a finger.
When contacted, Muyiwa Adekeye, the media adviser to Mr El-Rufai, declined to comment for this story.