Exclusive: Northern Cabals Hate Me Because I stood Against Injustics – El-Rufai (Spit Fire)

Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai has
accused some aides of President
Muhammadu Buhari (names not
mentioned) of allegedly leaking his last
private memo to the President.
El-Rufai made the accusation yesterday
while speaking to State House
Correspondents after joining Buhari and
other Muslim faithful for the Juma’at
prayers in the Presidential Villa.

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The governor, who declared that no one,
including some of the “powerful” aides
of the President, can stop him from
visiting the Villa, said: “Within the Villa,
there are people that like me and there
are those who don’t and it is normal. My
relationship with the President has never
been strained in any way.
“I met with him last night, I did not talk
about things like that, but my
relationship with him is like that of
father and son and it is a privilege for
me. I told him I will come today for the
Juma’at and I did.”
It was El-Rufai’s first visit to Aso Rock
since his blunt private memo to the
President was leaked in the media.

The
governor, who said there was no strain in
his relationship with the President up till
date, added that he had written several
similar memoranda to the President in
the past to draw his attention on the
need to strengthen governance issues in
the interest of Nigerians and the ruling
All Progressives Congress (APC) led
Federal Government.

“No one ever stopped me from coming to
the Villa and no one can stop me from
coming to the Villa. As a governor, I
come here, I have blank cheques; no one
checks me at the gate.
“But I believe what the President needs
is for those that love him to keep away
from him and allow him to rest.

“The
President needs quality time to rest,
because it is meeting too many people
that strains leadership.

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“I am a governor and I know that when I
meet 10 people in a day, I get really tired.
It is not the paperwork, it is not really
the memos, approving them or asking
questions that strains a leader; it is the
stream of visitors. I do not want to
contribute to the President’s problem by
coming here everyday,” el-Rufai noted.

He expressed happiness that part of his
recommendations in the memo were
being implemented, adding: “I believe
that since September last year when I
wrote the letter, there has been
significant improvement in the delivery
of services at the federal level. Some of
our federal programmes have started in
earnest.

“If anyone reads that memo, he will see
that there is nothing in the memo that
has anything to do other than with the
success of Mr. President and progress of
the country.

“That is my goal, my motive and I am
driven by that. I stand behind the
President to the very end,” he
added. The Kaduna State governor also
denied any friction between him and
members of the National Assembly,
noting that his call for the lawmakers to
make public their earnings and annual
budgets was done out of patriotism.

The full interview:Is your relationship with
the President strained as a result of the
leakage of your private memo to him?

There is no strain in my ties with the
President. The Villa is a bigger place
within the Villa, there are people that
like me and there are those who don’t
and it is normal. My relationship with the
President has never been strained in any
way. I met with him last night, I did not
talk about things like that but our
relationship with him is like that of
father and son and it is privilege for me. I
told him I will come today for the Jumaat
and I did.

How did he receive you?

As usual, with great warmth and
graciousness, and I am grateful for that.
Why did you write such a letter to the
President?

It was a private memo and it is not a
letter. If you want to ask any questions
about it, you ask those who leaked the
memo, because I wrote it seven months
ago. I have written similar memos to the
President in the past and none of them
got leaked. He knows that he can count
on me to give him my views of what is
out there that he may not hear and to
give him sound advice without any
interest on my part. If anyone reads that
memo he would see that there was
nothing in the memo that has anything
to do other than the success of Mr.
President and progress of the country.

That is my goal, my motive and I am
driven by that. I stand behind the
President to the very end.
Has your views in the letter changed since
then?
Yes, I believe that since September last
year when I wrote the letter, there has
been significant improvement in the
delivery of services at the federal level as
I said some of our federal programmes
have started in earnest.

Social protection for instance, the N-
Power, budget releases have been
accelerated, this is an unprecedented
move, the minister of finance has
released up to about a trillion naira of
capital budget.

In September last year, little or nothing
had been released and that was part of
my concern, since then the Economic
Recovery and Growth Plan has been done
and published.

At the time I wrote the memo there was
no five-year plan for the country, since
then the government has moved ahead to
change some of the appointees of
President Jonathan in parastatals.This is
something that we were worried about;
many of us in APC felt that we were in
office but not in power because the
people that Jonathan appointed were still
running most of our key agencies. From
September till date, even up till
yesterday, there have been significant
improvements.

So, there is improvement and I believe
that part of what I recommended to the
President is being implemented, whether
because of my memo or not is being
implemented the country is moving
forward and I am grateful to God for it.
How do you feel about the leakage of the
letter in line with secrecy of oath of office?

I am disappointed that a private
communication to the highest office in
the land can be leaked and it was leaked
from the Villa, I am told by those that
published it, but this is a fact of life. We
live in an age where anything you write
or say can be leaked. It is okay, my
intentions are clear, I have no ill motive,
but I wanted to communicate with the
President what many Nigerians are
talking about and what steps can be
taken to improve governance of the
country and move the country forward.

That was my motive and, if tomorrow
like I said, I see anything that the
President needs to know, I will discuss
with him and I will articulate and put it
into writing and on the record for him to
have a reminder document to work on. I
have no regrets and I have no apologies.
Some people believe that you have been
stopped by some powerful forces from
entering the villa. Is that true?

No, no one ever stopped me from coming
to the villa and no one can stop me from
coming to the Villa. As a governor I come
here, I have blank cheques, no one
checks me at the gate but I believe what
the President needs is for those that love
him to keep away from him and allow
him to rest.

The President needs quality time to rest
because it is meeting too many people
that strains leadership. I am a governor
and I know that when I meet 10 people in
a day I get really tired, it is not the
paperwork, it is not really the memos
approving them or asking questions that
strains a leader, it is the stream of
visitors.

I do not want to contribute to the
President’s problem by coming here
everyday. I am in touch with him, I know
everything going on and I do not think I
should add to his burden.Most of the
time I come to visit the President I do not
come to the office, I go to see him at
home. I think and I appeal to all of us
that love the President to please allow
him some space so that he will recover.
We need him and the country needs him,
it is in our interest for the stability of the
country, we should just let him be.

It is
absolutely necessary, let us leave him to
do his work in the privacy of his room or
his office without strings of visitors.
Visitors stress leaders.
Have you fallen out with the National
Assembly?

There is nothing like falling out with the
National Assembly. First of all I am a
state governor and do not have any direct
relationship with the National Assembly.

They don’t legislate for me specifically. I
don’t have any relationship that is
negative or positive with the National
Assembly. The National Assembly is the
legislature of the federation and we have
very good relations with the legislators.

There are Senators from my state and
there are Representatives and I meet
regularly with those of them that are
ready to meet with me. Here beside me
are Senators Abu Ibrahim and Marafa. If I
have problems with the National
Assembly they will not be standing
beside me, so there is no problem.

The issue is what I did last Friday was to
ask the leadership of the National
Assembly to fulfill the promise that they
made themselves to publish the details of
their budget and asking for that is my
duty as a citizen.
Every Nigerian is entitled to ask that
question. It is in the National Assembly’s
interest to actually publish it because
there are rumours of bogus amounts of
money that they are getting which I do
not believe is true.

I think that the best way to kill that
rumour is to publish the details of their
budget but some people took exception
to that call for transparency and I have
no apologies because as citizens we have
the right to demand for transparency for
how resources are being spent.

This N100 billion or so budget of the
National Assembly is money belonging to
the people of Nigeria and every Nigerian
has the right to ask and I am exercising
that right as a citizen, not even as a
governor. I have no problem with the
Speaker, he is my kid brother, he
respects me and I respect him, I have no
problem with the Senate President we
worked together in the past and I am
confident that we will work together in
the future in the interest of Nigeria, but
demand for accountability is not a
problem and should not be construed to
be undermining or any such thing.

It is
only someone who has something to hide
that will do things like that and I don’t
believe that the National Assembly has
things to hide.


Courtesy: The Guardian

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