El-Rufai Gears Up for Dual Legal Battles Against Tinubu

Former Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai is gearing up for a legal confrontation with President Bola Tinubu. According to Vanguard, El-Rufai, amid allegations labeling him a security risk, seeks to vindicate himself in court and simultaneously brace for a political showdown affecting the president’s potential re-election bid in 2027.

This looming battle traces back to the Tinubu administration’s controversial decision to exclude El-Rufai from ministerial office due to alleged security concerns, a move that has sparked significant public and political discourse. El-Rufai’s recent activities, including engagements with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and opposition figures, signal his growing alignment with political dissent.

Despite his pivotal contributions to Tinubu’s presidential campaign, El-Rufai, who initially expressed a desire to take a break in academia, was persuaded to contribute to the government’s energy sector revival plans. Drawing on his experience from the Bureau for Public Enterprises and the energy reforms under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, El-Rufai began laying groundwork for his ministerial role, only to be unexpectedly sidelined during the Senate’s screening process over security clearance issues.

The decision stunned many political observers, considering El-Rufai’s influential role in rallying Northern governors’ support for Tinubu and his instrumental actions in the latter’s electoral success in key Southwestern states. A senior government official from one of the Southwest states, on the condition of anonymity, said, “He played a key role in funding us in my state, and I can tell this because I was personally involved.”

Beside the significant contribution as attested by the official from the Southwest State, El-Rufai in the twilight of the Muhammadu Buhari administration also shocked many with his decision to, along with others, challenge the Federal Government over the naira redesign project of the federal government.

Defending why he opposed the Buhari government on the naira redesign policy, El-Rufai had claimed it was meant to instigate the polity against the APC by those around the former president who failed in their bid to stop Tinubu from getting the presidential ticket. He said, “They also sought to achieve any one or more of the following objectives: create a nationwide shortage of cash so that citizens are incited to vote against APC candidates across the board resulting in massive losses for the Party in all the elections.”

However, despite his stellar role in helping Tinubu to power, a source close to El-Rufai disclosed that the camp of the former governor believed that it was wrong for him to have been so publicly humiliated and to have been tagged a security risk.

One of the confidants of the former governor told Saturday Vanguard, “You think Mallam will allow this tag to abide on him? I can assure you that he is going to clear his name in court.

“El-Rufai is a man who has many contacts internationally and he is not one to allow his reputation to be smeared by the reason given by the Senate of being a security risk,” the source said in revealing the prospects of court action to enable the former governor to clear his name.

Besides the resort to the court of law, the former governor it was gathered is also mobilizing to play a role against Tinubu in the court of public opinion ahead of 2027. Whether El-Rufai would stand as a candidate or mobilize against the president in 2027 in the same way he did in supporting him in 2023 is, however, a matter that is yet to be determined. Saturday Vanguard reports that the strategic facilitation provided by El-Rufai to Tinubu came after he had in the past lampooned Tinubu as a godfather. He had at a lecture in May 2019 averred that it was possible to defeat the godfather of Lagos. A year later at a webinar to commemorate the 63rd birthday of Rauf Aregbesola in May 2020, El-Rufai had said that Tinubu was not his man.

While congratulating Aregbesola, El-Rufai said, “I want to congratulate my brother, Ogbeni (Aregbesola), on his birthday. You know I’m your man any day. I’m not Asiwaju’s man and you are Asiwaju’s man, but I am your man any day. Asiwaju and I have differences but you and I have no differences.”

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