Elrufai Goes To School

This column would be screaming for space if I were to venture into elucidating on Gov. Nasir Elrufai’s industrialisation drive in Kaduna, and how he is utilising the Federal Government’s policies and reforms, aimed at encouraging and boosting the local production of items that were hitherto imported, draining Nigeria of huge foreign exchange. Dano is investing with a huge dairy farm in Kaduna, that will seek to provide for the local consumption of milk, valued at billions of dollars of imports. Kaduna is also partnering for the large scale production of canned Tomatoes, rice and different kinds of livestock. I am also not going to delve into the massive reforms in education embarked upon by Elrufai, including the upgrading of facilities in primary and secondary schools; and the recruitment of properly certified and qualified teachers for these schools. Elrufai is light years ahead of his contemporaries as governors of the 19 northern states and that is a completely safe statement to make in an era where governance is a ‘crying Freeman’, screaming to be saved from a dearth of purposeful political, social and developmental leadership. Year in year out, politicians sing their way into power with promises that remain unfulfilled. The populace do not hold them to account and sadly, the masses resign to scrambling for the crumbs the office seekers throw at them during campaigns, mumbling down the grains of rice flung at them.
There is more than a litany of instances where prominent Nigerians, governors and even presidents, enrolled their wards in public schools and those have been cited to downplay the fact that Elrufai did well, in sending his 6 year old kid to a public school. What stands out about Gov. Elrufai’s son’s situation is that Elrufai made a categorical campaign pledge that he was going to send his kid to a public school, in a bid to gain public trust. It was also a promise that he was going to reform public schools in Kaduna state and bring them up to speed with what is obtainable in the very numerous private schools in the state. What makes Elrufai’s example worthy of emulation is that he kept his promise and sent his boy to a public school.
Imagine a scenario where the 36 governors all send their kids to public schools. What of 109 senators all sending their kids to different public schools in their districts? How about 360 house of representatives members sending their children to public schools in their constituencies? Those schools would be upgraded and equipped. It will have a spiraling effect on primary and secondary schools all over the country. It will properly bring basic education to the focus of government’s efforts of revamping this very critical sector of education. We will only get our tertiary education right if a solid and well grounded basic educational system is rebuilt and developed radically, such as Elrufai’s rebuild of the Capital school he sent his kid to.
It is not wrong for Elrufai to send his kid to school and for the act to gain the public glare that it did. He is in office and a political one at that. Nothing done in office is supposed to be clandestine. Virtually every step he takes is supposed to serve as a good example, as well as mentorship to aspiring leaders. We cannot afford to have lame-duck politicians in power. What we can afford now are performers in office and shining examples. Elrufai is an astute politician and a very brutish power player and one can only underestimate him at his or her own peril. He is a very pragmatic leader and employs a hands-on approach with whatever he gets involved in.
Buhari had called it quits with contesting elections after his contest in the 2011 elections, with the supreme court ruling against him. Attempts at the CPC/ ACN merger had failed several times, which happened to be the master key to Buhari’s unlocking of victory at the presidential elections having tried 3 previous times and failed. It is believed that Elrufai was prominently among the few wise men that brought back Buhari to contest 1 more time, as the only colossus to unseat President Jonathan, provided that the merger will happen. Certain elements in Buhari’s camp had undermined the merger talks amidst rumors of collaboration with PDP stalwarts who knew the dangers Buhari would pose with a merged/ nationalistic party. Elrufai was one of those that cut the feathers of those undercutting elements and the merger flourished.
Accidentally, I have not read the accidental servant but Elrufai’s fallout with OBJ and Atiku captured in the book, has well kept Elrufai as an asset to the APC and its future, heading towards 2023 and beyond. Not too many public office holders have embraced youths and given them the opportunities and encouragement that Nasir has, making them advisers, chiefs of staff, senior special assistants and heads of parastatals and other government agencies. He says youths must be given the chance to make mistakes and be proficient enough for the future. He is quite cosmopolitan, modern, technologically driven, eclectic, and a bundle of energy.
One week he is chasing bandits into the bush, the next he is on youtube advising Atiku with a MURUS video, not to lose it all, in a contest with Buhari. In another breath, he is on hand to fund a group of Kaduna youths who are creating Sci-Fi based films, improvising with local materials. He provided scholarship for the youngest of the group who is only 9 years old. Elrufai has proved to be a guardian of the youths and there is not an iota of doubt that he will have youths in his corner, should he be considered for even greater leadership roles come 2023.
By sending Al-siddique, his 6 year old son to a public school, Gov. Elrufai has sent Nigerians to school over what political governance is all about. We hope to see visionary leaders that will send their kids to public schools so that our schools will become better serviced. We pray to have leaders that will send their families to public hospitals so that our public health facilities will be updated. We hope to see public officials use the trains so that all our roads will have parallel railways linking the states. We hope that our country will have cerebral leaders that are supersonic in thought and herculean in task. For now, PMB is laying a foundation of infrastructural development that will support government policies aimed at promoting local production and export of everyday goods. But for the future, the APC needs the Elrufais, or else the MURUS phenomenon may likely befall it.

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