Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State
on Sunday said he was extremely sad that
Nigerians were passing through the worst
economic downturn ever witnessed in the
history of the nation.
El-Rufai, who spoke in Lagos during the
Sunday service of The Latter Rain
Assembly, noted that there was no
denying the fact that Nigerians were
contending with multi-facetted challenges,
which were the outcome of the looting of
the nation’s resources in the past years.
He, however, believed that the citizens
needed to cooperate among themselves
and with the President Muhammadu
Buhari-led government to see the nation
through its trying times.
The governor added, “We have always
known that there is massive corruption in
Nigeria but the revelations of the past one
year have shocked even the most
pessimistic of critics. Nearly 70 per cent of
Nigeria’s oil revenues disappeared without
a trace.
“Of course, there must be consequences
for that. When we sit down with President
Buhari these days, I pity him. I pity him
because he has always become President
anytime Nigeria is in trouble.
“First, it was after the NPN (National Party
of Nigeria) government had almost
grounded the economy (in 1984) and now,
after a massive looting of the nation’s
treasury; and he has to lead the team to
fix it.
“But we are working round the clock to fix
these problems. With your prayers and
the cooperation of Nigerians, we shall
surmount these problems.”
El-Rufai argued that Buhari’s strength was
also his weakness, explaining that trusting
people was a virtue, saying it could
become a weakness when one could not
come to the reality that only a few people
could be trusted.
“President Buhari loves humanity
passionately; his strength is that he
believes everyone could be trusted, which
is also a weakness. When he gives people
any assignment, he expects people to
carry out the assignment with all honesty.
Unfortunately, this is not so all the time as
we have seen over time and that’s why I
said it is a weakness.
“The President is not a man who has
interest in making money for himself or
for his friends. Mistakes could be made;
only God is perfect,” he added.
El-Rufai attributed his status today as a
governor to the advice of the Serving
Overseer of The Latter Rain Assembly,
Pastor Tunde Bakare, who, he said, invited
him to “Buhari’s party,” the CPC (Congress
for Progressives Change) in 2011.
He stated, “I already made up my mind
never to go into public office after I left
office the last time. Pastor Bakare told me
that I should not be bitter; that I should
forgive anyone who might have offended
me and should move on with my life.
“He then invited me to the join Buhari’s
party, the CPC, in 2011 and we have
continued since then. Today, I’m close to
President Buhari because of what Pastor
Bakare has done. Today, I’m a governor
because of what Pastor Bakare has done.
I’m no longer sad; I’ve forgiven everyone;
and I’m no longer bitter.
“More importantly, we need the prayers
of Nigerians to succeed.”
El-Rufai, a former Minister of Federal
Capital Territory, said Nigerians belonged
to “one nation under one God,” adding
that there should not be any reason to
discriminate based on religion.