Malam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai is the 22nd executive Governor of Kaduna State, Nigeria. Before then, he had served the country in different capacities. First, he served as the Director General of Bureau of Public
Enterprises. He also served as the Head of Privatisation agency in Nigeria.
El-Rufai was born on February 16, 1960 in Daudawa of Faskari Local Government Area in Katsina State. Sadly, El-Rufai lost his father when he was just 8 years old. Luckily, he got sponsored to school by an uncle in Kaduna. This is why he sites Kaduna state as his state of origin.
He attended Barewa College, Zaria where he graduated as the best student in 1976, wining the “Barewa Old Boys’ Association Academic Achievement” Trophy. Another notable student of the school during the time he was there was the late former President Umaru Ya’Adua who was the house captain of Mallam Smith House, Nasir’s dormitory as a junior.
El-Rufai proceeded to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where he obtained a bachelors degree (First Class Honors) in Quantity Surveying. El-Rufai is also an alumna of Harvard Business School and Georgetown University.
In addition, he obtained an LL.B degree from the University of London, and graduated in August 2008 with second class honors, Upper Division. He also has a master degree in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University in June 2009.
Furthermore, he received the Kennedy School Certificate in Public Policy and Management having spent 11 months as an Edward A. Mason Fellow in Public Policy and Management from July 2008 to June 2009.
Nasir El-Rufai is married to Hadiza Isma El-Rufai; a writer and architect.
El-Rufai Early Career
In 1982, El-Rufai, alongside three other partners founded a Quantity Surveying and Project Management Consulting company. Through the firm, they were able to handle several building and civil engineering projects in Nigeria. Through this company, he was able to make millions for himself even before venturing into full time politics.
El-Rufai went on to serve as the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja from 16 July 2003 to 29 May 2007. During his tenure, he was nicknamed Mr. Demolition because of his habit of destroying illegal
buildings. Within 12 months of being Minister of FCT, he established the Abuja Geographic Information System which was the first of its kind in Abuja.
Furthermore, El-Rufai oversaw the Federal Ministy of Commerce twice during his tenure as a minister. He was also the chairman of several high-profile cabinet committees that led to the establishment of a mortgage
system in Nigeria, National ID card system for Nigeria, the improvement of electric power supply and the sale of Federal Government real estate in Abuja.
El-Rufai Political Career
Towards the end of Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, the EFCC Chairman described El-Rufai as the “de facto No. 2”, tagging him with the role of a Vice-President.
In 2014, El-Rufai won the gubernatorial primaries of the All Progressives Congress for Kaduna State and was declared the party’s candidate for the April, 2015 governorship election. Thereafter, he won the 2015
governorship election defeating the incumbent governor and People’s Democratic Party candidate, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero.
El-Rufai was sworn in as the Governor of Kaduna State on 29th May, 2015, . Some of his notable works during his government includes:
- The adoption of Treasury Single Account Policy in September, 2015
- Recovery of N24.7billion from closing down 470 accounts belonging to some departments and agencies in the state.
- Reformation of the civil service in Kaduna State
- Reduction of ministries from 19 to 13, and number of permanent secretaries from 35 to 18
- Appointment of 13 commissioners, 10 special advisers and 12 assistants
- Saved N1.2billion in just two months in Office
- Launch of School Feeding Programme, providing one free meal per day for 1.5 million public school pupils
- He stopped the collection of fees and levies in public primary and junior secondary school of the state
Owing to a great job done during his first tenure, El-Rufai was re-elected as Kaduna State Governor on March 9, 2019. He defeated his strong rival, Isa Ashiru of PDP.
The respected politician carries out his philanthropic gesture through Yasmin El-Rufai Foundation (YELF). Actually, the foundation was named after his daughter who died in London in 2011 while undergoing a law
conversion course. Basically, the foundation focuses on creative writing and women literacy programmes.
Nasir El-Rufai wrote a book titled “Accidental Public Servant” in 2013. In the book, El-Rufai talks about the public service in Nigeria, the many challenges faced by the country, and what can be done while calling on a new generation of leaders to take the country back from the brink of destruction.
“My children will attend public schools if I become governor”.
“Stop manipulating religion for political interests.”
“Leadership is the only problem we have in Africa.”
“We need democracy and openness in governance in Africa.”
“When you pick people that has never achieved anything in their lives in senior government positions, they will do anything to remain there.”
“In every society, the elites are the one that ought to sit down and set the tune for the structure of that society.”
“If our elite have chosen not to go into politics to set the tune, the bad ones will take over.”
“If you educate your population, you will get a demographic dividend.”
“Peaceful democratic change is the best way to achieve progress.”
“When you do nothing and allow problems to escalate, you are not a leader. You are a joke”
“When you are in charge, you have no time for blame or trying to find excuses, you should do what you can.”
“Wherever you see an insurgency, there’s reason for it.”
“As long as we depend on accidents, we will not make much progress.”
Business Lessons From The Life of Nasir El-Rufai
El-Rufai is one of the most fearless men in Nigeria. He is not afraid to take steps nobody has taken before. For instance, he cut down the number of commissioners and special advisers in Kaduna State. With that, he was able to save enough funds to carry out important projects in the state.
Entrepreneurship demands courageous effort; the ability to venture into unfamiliar territories. As a matter of fact, without taking risks, you will not be able to achieve notable accomplishments in business.
Nasir El-Rufai goes the extra mile for Kaduna state. More than that, he is keen about the growth of Nigeria as a whole, particularly, when he was a minister in FCT, Abuja.
If you want to see great result in your business, you will have to be dedicated 100%. In fact, if you were working for 10hours a day in a paid job, running a business demands more.
From a tender age, Nasir El-Rufai has been an intelligent fellow. He stands out among equals. When it comes to politics, he is up to date and seasoned.
If you want to stand tall among competition, you must know and do what others are not doing. And, this is impossible without detailed knowledge about your industry.