by Stanley Azuakola
The Accidental Public Servant, the new book written by former FCT minister, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, will continue to generate ripples in the polity in the foreseeable future. Considering the number of people El-Rufai went after by name in the book, we can safely say there will be lots of denials, accusations and counter-accusations.
Only released to the public today, the book has already been condemned by Nigeria’s former vice-president, Atiku Abubakar, who released a scathing statement blasting El-Rufai. He went after El-Rufai for both things which happened recently like his recent retweet about Jesus Christ, and matters contained in the book, including El-Rufai’s claim that Obasanjo pleaded with Atiku on bended knees to support his 2003 reelection campaign.
Read Atiku’s full statement below:
It amazes me that el-Rufai can pass off fiction for self-gratification at the expense of truth as a book.
El-Rufai’s attack on my person is to say the least not surprising considering that this is the same man who has notoriety for disparaging religions and their icons, including lately Jesus Christ.
If he could go to such irreverent extent to disparage religious icons, who is an ordinary mortal like me?
It is my belief that any man that can cross the boundary of reason and decency deserves prayers rather than anger.
I wish to state that the book is as a collection of fiction, half-truths, exaggeration and reflection of selective memory.
I am particularly piqued by the claim of el-Rufai that he had almost resigned as the former Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) because of alleged persistent pressure and interference by me as Chairman of the National Council on Privatization.
It is curious that the former FCT Minister forgot so soon what he said at the Senate Public Hearing on BPE August 8-13, 2011. That committee, which did an amazing work, was headed by Senator Ahmed Lawan.
We need to recall el-Rufai as saying he had special relationship with former President Obasanjo, which gave him direct access and the discretion to bypass the Council on Privatization then headed by me in order to get the approval of the President.
I wonder how el-Rufai could reconcile his threat of resignation with the accounts he told the Senate about the latitude of freedom he enjoyed at BPE because of his closeness to former President Obasanjo.
In that testimony, el-Rufai told the Senate that, and I quote: “Thank you very much Distinguished Senator. Mr. Chairman, as a matter of principle Mr. Chairman, I am reluctant to judge my successors. So, whenever I do a job, I move on; I don’t comment on what my successors have done. All I can say is this. Mr. Chairman, if you go through my tenure in BPE, you will see that we try to do everything by the rules, by the book. And we resisted every attempt at political interference. There is a process; step by step. Privatization is a mechanical process. Once you have the process published, every step should not be missed. And there was never a time that we deviated from that process.
“We took everything we did to the privatization council. That’s how we ran the place. And I swear to God, I am under oath. Except for one time that the vice president called me and said; look I’ve got calls from A and B to help this guy win this, I said Mr. Vice president you know the rules, tell him to bid the highest price because the highest price wins and he said yes I know, I am just telling you in case they contact you. And I don’t want them to say I didn’t pass on their requests. That was the only time. But no one tried to interfere with my work. There were attempts to block it. President Obasanjo blocked the privatization of Nigeria airways practically. Okay because Kema Chikwe will go and tell him stories. And what is the result today. The company is dead.”
The claim by el-Rufai that former President Obasanjo went on bended knees before me to seek his cooperation for second term bid in 2003, is a figment of his own wild imagination.
Such claim lacks any credibility because Obasanjo and I were alone together behind closed doors.
I wonder whether el-Rufai was a fly on the wall to discuss the details of a private meeting between the two of us.
I believe that rather than el-Rufai feeding the public with such fabrications, the former Minister should have provided or quoted the authority for such claim since he was not at the private meeting between former President Obasanjo and me.