By Our Correspondent
A group identified as Like Minds Forum of Nigeria (LMFN) has blamed the Senate for the botched Ministerial confirmation of Malam Nasir El-Rufai.
The group made this assertion while addressing the press at Arewa House, Kaduna on Monday.
Speaking at Arewa House, Shehu Usman Muhammad, PhD, Coordinator and Lead Convener of the group said “We, the people of Kaduna State, Northern Nigeria in general and the country at large, are hugely disappointed by the Senate over its inability to clear and confirm Malam Nasir El-Rufai as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Therefore on behalf of all Nigerians, we are demanding for a full explanation for such an unfortunate inaction. We are, in fact, compelled to ask: is it not the same Senate that is now withholding the confirmation that did not allow him to respond to the so-called petition to which a Senator from Kogi State made reference to even when the nominee showed readiness to respond? The Senate President even made it very clear that it was not their responsibility to listen to the issues contained in the petition during the screening exercise.”
LMFN further said “that the process is procedurally wrong and politically defective and it shows that something is wrong somewhere.
“The Forum fully observed that the whole process is now taking the shape of a conspiracy geared towards the political “crucifixion” of this unique, competent and capable gentleman and leader who has proven to be an asset to the country’s democracy. Unfortunately, the ‘Crucifiers’ are probably in the first class of the beneficiaries of the bold decisions of this gentleman.
They however thanked, “the 3 PDP Senators from Kaduna State for their good testimonies and unanimous support for Malam Nasir El-Rufai to be confirmed as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Indeed the same appreciation goes to all the Senators that spoke, and those that were not opportuned to speak due time constraints, in favour of the confirmation of El-Rufai during the screening exercise. Your comments and commendations confirmed to your various constituencies that you have a strong support for the unity, progress and development of our dear democracy. The FORUM and indeed all Nigerians are very grateful.
“The allegations against El-Rufai are nothing more than a desperation of certain interests seeking vengeance against him and to embarrass and undermine President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Indeed El-Rufai, no doubt, has served this nation meritoriously and is still ready and has the energy to render even more services for the benefit of all Nigerians. In our own opinion, If the security agencies had issues with Malam Nasir El-Rufai, why didn’t they arrest and charge him to court over the allegations, after May 29, 2023, when he no longer enjoys the immunity that was provided by the constitution by virtue of his position as a governor? Why did the “petitioners” wait so long for the ministerial screening for them to smuggle a petition? Why was a copy of the petition not given to El-Rufai for appropriate response? There were other petitions, as explained by the Senate President, why were other petitions not brought to the Senate chamber during the screening exercise? Why only that against El-Rufai?
They argued that “going by precedents, all security issues and subsequent clearance are treated before the transmission of nominations to the Senate for screening and confirmation. Why has the present administration departed from this norm? What they did amounts to putting the cart before the horse. This is the puzzle that needs to be unravelled. Why then, after both clearance by the security agencies and the subsequent screening by the Senate, flimsy excuses are now being given for the delay in the confirmation of El-Rufai? We do not want to believe that the President or some officials in the Presidency are responsible for this saga but want to shift the blame to the Senate. Hence, the Presidency, the Office of the National Security Adviser on one hand, and the Senate as an institution and the Senate President as an individual on the other, need to explain to Nigerians the real reason why El-Rufai’s confirmation was botched. The world is watching and history will judge these agents of darkness who want Nigeria to remain perpetually backward, in the near present.
“It is necessary at this point to reiterate that the political credentials and achievements of Malam Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai are the basis for the desire of Nigerians for his services, principally because of the belief that he will help to make our dear nation better, especially in the power sector. All those who are working against the confirmation of El-Rufai should know that Nigerians are watching, and history will pass appropriate judgment on them.
“Notwithstanding these shenanigans, El-Rufai still remains one of the strongest allies of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Even his enemies can testify that the former Governor of Kaduna state played a key role in ensuring power shift to the south against all odds, considering his efforts towards both the emergence of Mr. President as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and his subsequent electoral victory in spite of the machinations to foist the former Senate President, Alhaji Ahmad Lawan as the so-called northern candidate. Even after Tinubu’s emergence as APC Presidential candidate, the Central Bank of Nigeria wanted to frustrate him with the so-called naira redesign or currency swap, all of which were a threat to the chances of Mr. Tinubu at that time. Given the nobel role that El-Rufai played in bringing the present administration to office, we urge the Senate to confirm him with the same speed that they confirmed other nominees, so as to douse the rising tension and confusion across the North and Nigeria as a whole.
“We equally invite all the admirers of El-Rufai to reach out to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to use his good office to ensure that El-Rufai is confirmed and sworn in as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The group begged El-Rufai saying, “our ardent call to El-Rufai is: do not give room to the mischief makers to deprive the nation from your wealth of experience. We equally implore you not to be distracted by this delay. Remain calm and accept the good offer of Mr. President to serve your country with the energy and passion you displayed during the screening exercise. Please Malam come and serve Nigeria, your one and only country, your Motherland. Thank you Mr President for nominating Elrufai to be part of your cabinet and thank you El Rufai for your willingness to serve Nigeria.”
They thanked all Nigerians, especially the civil society organizations, Clerics (both Muslims and Christians), print and electronic media including leading social media actors, the security agencies, as well as “our leaders particularly the Governor of Kaduna state Mal Uba Sani for your quick interventions and continues support for Mal Nasir Ahmad El Rufai.”