by Olanrewaju Oguntoyibo
I had gone to bed early the night of Wednesday 6th of February, 2013. I never knew I would be in Abuja the following day, a journey that changed my mindset about our leaders and the stupidity of some Nigerian people. For so long we have been taken for fools; that’s why I say all politically conscious Nigerians must read, The Accidental Public Servant (TAPS) by former FCT Minister Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai.
The morning of 7th February, I woke up and decided to attend the El-Rufai’s book launch at Musa Yaradua center. You know what that means since I’m Lagos based. The question is, was it worth it? Not until I returned to Lagos the next evening did I realise sincerely that what I learnt and observed in Abuja during Nasir El-Rufai’s book launch is something I couldn’t have learnt even in a PhD class.
Through the help of my brother (Don TJ Balotelli), I had checked into the back flat in the house of Hon. Abiodun Akinlade of Ogun State (Yewa South, Ipokia Federal Constituency). Honourable Akinlade is the House Committee chairman on Science and Technology. I met many young people there who told me he had facilitated their coming to Abuja, in fact they told me the Honourable had procured jobs for over 300 of them.
On the day of the book launch, I had called Umaru (whom Nasir El-Rufai addressed as his colleague). I later got to know Umaru is his Personal Assistant. I was told the Mallam doesn’t look down on anybody, if you work in the same office with him, be it you’re the gate man, he’ll address you as his colleague and even eat in the same canteen with you.
On my way to the venue of the book launch, I had noticed CCECC (China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation) in 4 of the 6 construction sites I saw that morning. I asked the cab driver taking me to the venue why CCECC was everywhere? Because in Lagos they believe Bola Tinubu is the owner of CCECC and it’s a conduit pipe used in siphoning Lagos money.
The cabbie spoke far better and more reasonable than numerous graduates on Twitter. He said “my brother, this CCECC are the best in railway and bridge construction in this country, it’s not about who owns it, but who is going to get the job done”. I reasoned along with the man, if CCECC isn’t competent they won’t be in Abuja, Rivers or Akwa Ibom. Apparently all those noise are political propaganda to change our mindset about some people.
The venue of the book launch was filled to capacity. I planned to get there early so I could seat in the front row but others had same plan too, so I ended up standing close to the wall. Traditional rulers and their guards were seated in the front row as early as 9:30am. The program started at exactly 10:05am that it was billed to start, no African time. Sign of uprightness.
I listened to different guests deliver their speeches. I noticed how Nasir El-Rufai and Mohammadu Buhari were taken away spiritually while Pastor Sarah delivered the opening prayer. I thought we were made to believe these guys are going to Islamize Nigeria. Anyway those two I saw didn’t look it, even the Lady who stood beside me murmured “these guys can’t be religious fanatics, this way weh dem dey shout amen with eyes closed.” I told her immediately that those accusations are just to distract Nigerians and change our mindset, because they know Nigerians are driven by religion.
I watched the dramas of the day. First it was General Buhari and Pastor Bakare, who both drove in the same car to the venue. I remembered how the Jonathan camp prior to the 2011 presidential election kept saying that GMB and The Pastor will fall out after the election. Their show of unity was a sign that PDP isn’t a party but a “Propaganda University”.
Former Governor of Ogun State Otunba Gbenga Daniel (OGD) was there too and was seated next to Oby Ezekwesili, you know what? Its true light and darkness can’t stay together. I saw Aunty Oby stand up to seat elsewhere for reasons I don’t know, if you’re thinking something, you are on your own.
Governor of Niger State Babaginda Aliyu was earlier announced to be represented by one of his cohort. Surprisingly, The Chief Servant showed up, according to him, Nasir El-Rufai’s book launch isn’t what he should miss. In fact, he went further to tell us how Nasir changed the working code of the BPE. They were in BPE together. Before El-Rufai came on board their work wasn’t successful because PDP will always tell them some people are untouchable. But when El-Rufai came in, “they swiftly carry out their operations before the notice of ‘this is untouchable’ arrives.”
After the book presentation, El-Rufai moved to autograph books purchased by people at the venue, he was seated for 4-5 hours signing books.
I noticed ambassadors, senators, ministers and other top government functionaries sending notes to him. They praised his guts for saying the truth and exposing what is hidden to Nigerians. There are so many things I saw that I can’t mention here, I’m sure if El-Rufai would be surprised I saw those notes. And if I mention names here all the lions attacking the man on twitter will start praising him.
The same people attack Nasir on the pages of newspapers and still they sent messages to him to autograph their books. Nigerians you have been deceived.
Not only that, El-Rufai didn’t ignore them. He didn’t write: “you were insulting me that day, oya enjoy the book”. I respect this man and I don’t know about you.
For those young Nigerians who attack Nasir El-Rufai on social media, I pity you. You better work hard to have a fulfilling future. His children are well trained and respectful. His wives are beautiful, and there’s love in his family. Some of you (and your pay masters) can’t even control your wives but instead you will come and call him names. His family adores him, his kinsmen are proud of him, they were queuing up to take photograph with him like it’s their first time of meeting him.
While reading The Accidental Public Servant (TAPS), I immediately understood the meaning of the statement in Nasir El-Rufai’s bio (My views about Nigeria based on 50+ years).
Mallam Nasir El-Rufai has been on the white side of the system, he was among those who made this democracy we are enjoying today. My conclusion on Nasir El-Rufai is; he’s one of the few that knows the problems of Nigeria and one of the few who knows the method to solving it. I respect and admire his courage. In a sane society, someone like Nasir El-Rufai will be forced to occupy the highest public office of the land through street demonstration.
To Mallam, I say congratulations on the successful launching of your book “TAPS”, and please continue being on the side of the truth and you will be vindicated someday. You are a man with a kind heart. The venue of the book launch was the first time we met but the welcome you gave me at the entrance of the center was awesome. I’m going to be an ‘accidental public servant’ (positively) like you. And I’m going to make changes. Nigeria MUST work and I and my generation will make it work.
Lastly, I hope Shina Lawal and Tajudeen Awojobi will get to read this. We were discussing few weeks ago and they mentioned that El-Rufai paid a youth corper N2million monthly. I tried to explain that it’s all propaganda as I know El-Rufai doesn’t have the power to choose how much salaries his workers were getting then.
IBTCI were paying BPE staff then. IBTCI were giving aid to BPE to survive then. BPE weren’t getting funds from government as their leader (El-Rufai) was a radical man who wouldn’t succumb to manipulation through his agency.
Aishetu Fatima Kolo whom they said he paid 2million monthly salary had to leave BPE to World Bank. So it was a surprise to many that worked at BPE then when they heard accusations against El-Rufai of paying Ms Aishetu that huge amount of money monthly.
Nigerians, don’t believe all you read. They’ve been lying to us. A good example of their numerous lies is the First lady’s health issue. Dr. Reuben Abatti had told us the First Lady was healthy and had no health issues, in fact he said the stories of her sickness is nothing but speculations and wicked lies. Few days ago, the First Lady told Nigerians she was dead for over 7 days before she resurrected and that she had 8-9 surgeries. There’s no credibility in this Government, they are built on falsehood and they shall soon crumble.
Young Nigerians, please use your android, blackberry and IPAD to enhance yourself, and don’t just believe everything you read. Google it, send email and ask questions. They know our weakness and they are trying to capitalize on it.
Our future is in our hands, if we chose to make it better and reasonable, the choice is ours.
God bless Nigeria and may the labours of our heroes past never be in vain.