El Rufai’s Napoleon complex – In Touch, The Nation newspaper, 13/05/2019

Far be it from me to dabble into definitions of Malam El Rufai as a short man driven by fear. I will not denigrate his gubernatorial “briefness” as OBJ did in his book, My Watch, where he ran the man down with a rhetoric of contempt. I will not compare him to Oscar, the dwarf in Gunter Grass’ novel Tin Drum, who crashed everything in sight by screaming. A public desperado banging his shoes to gain attention.

I met him the other day at Eko Hotel, and he called me a “journalistic terrorist.” I shot back and said he was a “gubernatorial terrorist.” And I am right. But first, a short history of betrayal. He is the serial genuflector, who knows how to bow and betray. First, it was Atiku Abubakar, who could do no wrong. Done with him, he swivelled to Obj on his knees. His “royal briefness” did same to Yar’Adua. His great mentor is now Buhari, who tolerates him like a worshipful pest. He said he retired four godfathers but is too cowardly to name them. He knows his claim is apocryphal. I don’t know of any godfather in Kaduna. We know of Kaduna mafia, but that was a metaphor for northern military oligarchy now expired.

He said he wanted men of the Bridge Club to amass cash to unseat Lagos godfather after a tendentious question from his fellow traveller Muiz Banire. He said he would encourage his folks to woo two million of the five million on the voter register who didn’t vote and win them over. Really? In Kaduna where he earned about one million votes, over 3.9 million persons were on the register, and over 1.5 million did not vote, more than his votes. How could he determine that if they voted, he could not be a former governor today?

He spoke as though Lagosians are morons. There is a reason why they vote the way they do. Is Lagos not ahead of Kaduna in development, far and away? Other than bulldoze his foe’s houses and deploy statistics to divide Christians against Fulanis, he has not made glorious headlines. He was one of the few who quietly plotted to push his presidential candidacy when Buhari was ill. Here is a man who spent fewer times praying for his mentor when he was ill than he spent plotting to replace him. And did I not see him many a time at Bourdillon and Freedom House in Lagos where he paid obeisance to Tinubu, because he wanted something. Now, the same man who paved the way for a platform for him to be governor is now a sinner? He knelt under Buhari, who reached down to raise his hand. Buhari should watch out. Someone he is feeding might bite his fingers.

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