Former Kaduna Governor Nasir El-Rufai is set to reject his ministerial appointment even if he is eventually cleared by the Senate.
NEWS VERIFIED reports that El-Rufai was among three politicians whose confirmations were withheld by the Senate on Monday.
The other two nominees, Abubakar Danladi of Taraba and Stella Okotete of Delta, were rejected for specific reasons that were reportedly documented, but the Senate did not specifically disclose why El-Rufai was held up, aside from saying he had not yet received security clearance.
There are speculations that El-Rufai’s hold-up is due to his handling of ethnic and sectarian clashes during his time as governor. There are also suggestions that it is because of his alleged corruption and betrayal of allies.
However, El-Rufai has said that he is not going to meet with National Security Adviser Nuhu Ribadu to lobby for security clearance, according to People’s Gazette. He believes that Ribadu lacks the political stature to unilaterally withhold a ministerial nomination.
El-Rufai has also said that he will wait until he is officially confirmed by the Senate before announcing his decision to reject the appointment. He wants to show the Nigerian public that there were no justifiable grounds for the hold-up.
“His Excellency Nasir El-Rufai is a man of conviction, and he has made it clear that he will not be meeting Nuhu Ribadu to lobby him for security clearance,” a source said. “In fact, he was supposed to be in Abuja on Wednesday for a meeting with the NSA but he vigorously turned it down.”
This publication has learned that El-Rufai and other nominees had been previously cleared by the State Security Service prior to being asked to proceed to the Senate. They were all questioned for more than a week as part of the screening process. However, it is reported that the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, raised objection to the confirmation of El-Rufai and two others.
“Whatever Nuhu Ribadu might be doing, he won’t be able to do it without the president’s prior knowledge,” the source said, echoing El-Rufai’s position. “So that is why he would wait until he finally gets confirmed before pulling out of the cabinet.”