What does Elrufai want?
The intellectual acuity of the diminutive former minister of Fct now Governor of Kaduna state Mallam Nasir Elrufai, cannot be denied or overemphasised. Not only has he made his mark professionally as a chartered surveyor, he has acquitted himself creditably during his stint as the head honcho of the Bpe before he subsequently proved himself a beacon of hope for Abuja residents with his architectural renaissance of sorts while restoring Abuja back to the master plan
He met with a lot of resistance from residents and home owners whose houses were demolished, nevertheless in his determination managed to clean up Abuja and restore several areas to their intended use. Having said that it must be noted that along the way of restoring the master plan and endearing himself to sections of Abuja residents and his boss the then President Obasanjo,he left a trail of anger, bitterness crying and gnashing of teeth with victims. Some would say ignorance or quaint emotional vituperations of his victims is no excuse for breaking the law hence they deserved what they got. That issue is by the way
After his stint in Government and he became a private citizen, we (i mean average Nigerians)watched as he morally and politically yo-yoed from being a good friend to Jonathan even defending him on several occasions,pilloring then General Muhammadu Buhari to turning full circle and denigrating ex President Jonathan and morphing into a staunch supporter of General Buhari.We are not privy to what occurred between them for this change of mind other than loose and unsubstantiated rumours which was swirling around, nevertheless fact stands that he had a falling out with Jonathan and subsequently campaigned seriously and vociferously for then General Buhari.
Prior to the Presidential election campaigns during the space when he was a private individual and coming back to contest elections, he had became quite active on social media and subsequently courted a large following of mainly youths. Many i guess admired his antecedents and the fact that he consented to interact freely with common Nigerians, considering the 10% demographic of the wealthy and privileged he belongs to hardly even gave us the time of the day, much less interact with us.
His social media influence and base convictions came fully into play during the Presidential elections, as the campaign rhetoric intensified amongst Politicians on all sides. Politicians sponsored false, abrasive hysterical headlines for votes, divisive and utterly toxic narrative became the order of the day, none more so than that of elrufai who was campaigning for both the APC presidential aspirant and himself as a Governorship aspirant.
He not only crafted a decidedly more insidious some would say frighteningly divisive narrative, he took it several notches higher with his series of carefully worded but nonetheless deliberate headlines which continued unabated all through the period of the election circle.Elrufai was infamous for succeeding to court the red hot ire of virtually every Nigerian demographic, and without apologies too.
Amongst the many controversial comments he made and actively promoted on all his social media outlets, was a chart of sorts he posted with helpful explanations alluding to the fact that Christians had to be behind the incessant bombings by Boko Haram against Muslims, on the basis of an ambiguous and non scientific process of elimination. As usual he was widely pilloried and as usual, he basically told anyone who had a problem with it to go suck on a lemon.
Politics have come and gone, not only did his party overwhelm and resolutely sweep the PDP away in a tsunami,Elrufai himself who normally would have had a very hard time winning in his native Kaduna due to his lack of strong grassroots support, nevertheless coasted home to victory on a landslide, a prime beneficiary of Buhari tsunami.
If one considers the serious and debilitating challenges facing his state, amidst the insecurity challenge caused by a domestic genocide, the dire financial straits he has asserted his predecessor left behind in several public fora, many would have assumed he would be fully occupied with the onerous task of governance and toned down his insidious rethoric,however rather than tone it down, he actually increased it in intensity ably assisted by his equally uncouth and controversial son who is also another complete template of his dad,i guess the apple does not fall far from the tree.
These days in addition to being Governor of his state, many widely if unofficially regard him as the substantive Vice President considering he is one of the most consistent faces around the President, even making important announcements and comments on his behalf. It is quite curious the central and obvious roles he is playing, even as the official Vice President’s responsibilities seem more muted and restricted.
We have heard of unsubstantiated rumours which he has strenuously denied regarding an altercation he had with the Vice President, with a visibly angry VP walking out of a meeting in the presence of the President before he was placated.
A few days ago as usual Elrufai made another one of his controversial and politically charged comments, when he declared while responding to accusations of favouring only his supporters in appointments that anyone who has a problem with his mode and slant of appointments can climb atop one of the highest mountain Kufena and take a leap, a nice way of saying F*uck you to any critics.
In the midst of all these morally ambiguous displays , one recurring question i have asked myself is what does Elrufai want?
He has not championed the cause of a break way from Nigeria to form Arewa republic, hence his divisive rhetoric was not geared towards that end, neither has he expressed any radical or revolutionary stance therefore this could not be a factor neither, leaving his 2019 Presidential election bid which is an open secret.
While limiting ourselves to this possibility for want of a better one, the Nigerian constitution is clear and unambiguous on requirements of a successful Presidential aspirant which includes garnering substantial votes in all the Geo Political areas of Nigeria. Therefore one would have expected that for a man whose desire to be the President is not in any doubt, but is actually overriding crafting a cohesive and endearing narrative would have made sense while toning down the hate filled commentary towards non Northerners especially. I daresay it is elementary Politics that endearing oneself to the voting demographic dictates crafting a positive perception not just amongst one’s own support base, but in his own case across geographical divides especially where he is neither liked nor trusted, so far on this as other issues he has consistently disappointed with his stubborn and belligerent devil-may-care attitude.
For a man who is looking to either run for a second term as Governor in 2019, or run for President incendiary comments either credited to him directly or indirectly are quite disturbing and disconcerting.
After an extensive introspective appraisal i was still none the wiser as regards his motives since it does not fit into any clear and consistent train of motives. If one considers the level of intelligence and accomplishments in his personal life, stupid, naive or clueless would be far from adjectives to describe him with. The irony and some might say contradiction in this assertion is that while i can’t put my finger on what exactly his end game is alienating as much of potential voters as he can, nevertheless i earnestly believe he knows exactly what he is doing with these inflammatory and downright rude comments which is precisely what frightens me.
During the Presidential elections campaigns, someone compared Elrufai’s ranting with that of Asari Dokubo and this was my reaction to him
• Elrufai by his personality and somewhat chequered moral antecedents has been proven to be detailed, deliberate and overall Machiavellian when he wants something, while Asari is simply full of bluster with no real malice driving him.
• Asari Dokubo unlike Elrufai has no Political designs hence nothing to scheme towards
As things stand presently if the rumours swirling around, as regards his imminent betrothal to President Buhari’s daughter Zahra is to be believed, coupled with a number of his friends who are being moved to strategic positions eg inec chairman appointment, then its safe to assume he is in pole position as regards a good chance re-2019 Presidencial bid.
Like the saying goes “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” so my unsolicited advice for him will be, if he is really serious about his intention to launch a Presidential bid and is not just speculation, then its time his friends and loved ones be completely honest and upfront with him that unguarded divisive and borderline abrasive public commentary alienates voters. The voting public transcends social media and they definitely go beyond the North where he retains much his support base.And yet in the end amidst all these i am still unable to answer the question regarding what Elrufai wants.
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