Malam Nasir El-Rufai: An illustrious and Unique Abusite @ 60

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Today Mallam Nasir El-Rufai born 60yrs ago in (16 February) 1960 is 60yrs old today 16th February 2020. He is a distinguished Abusite who is the 22nd governor of Kaduna State, the home of Ahmadu Bello University. Theabusite takes a look at the life of this illustrious abusite.

Mallam Nasir El Rufai is a distinguished abusite and politician who is the incumbent Governor of Kaduna State (home of ABU Zaria). He is also a former Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, the head privatization agency in Nigeria, a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and a major figure in the APC.

Malam Nasir EL-Rufai

Malam Nasir EL-Rufai was born on 16th February 1960 in Daudawa town of Faskari Local Government Area in Katsina State. Despite his northern roots, Nasir El-Rufai prefers to be tagged a “Nigerian” first before being “Hausa“. His pensioner father died while the young Nasir was just 8yrs old.

He was sponsored throughout his schooling days by an uncle in Kaduna and went to secondary school in the prestigious Barewa College in 1972 where he graduated at the top of the class in 1976, winning the coveted “Barewa Old Boys’ Association Academic Achievement” Trophy in 1976. While In Barewa College Zaria, the former President Umaru Yar’Adua was the House Captain of Mallam Smith House which was Nasir’s dormitory as a junior

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He went off to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, earning a Bachelor in Quantity Surveying degree with First Class Honors in 1980, a Masters Degree in Business Administration in 1984 and Postgraduate Diploma in Computer Science 1985. He also attended post-graduate programs at Harvard Business School and Georgetown University. After leaving office as minister, Nasir El-Rufai completed an LL.B degree from the University of London, graduating in August 2008 with Second Class Honors, Upper Division.

He subsequently earned a master’s degree in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University in June 2009. He also 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’s Early career

Malam Nasir El-Rufai started his career by establishing a Quantity Surveying and Project Management Consulting firm in 1982 with three other partners. The firm was quite successful, handling mainly building and civil engineering projects in Nigeria, and made the partners wealthy millionaires while still in their twenties.

Within this period, he also lectured for free at his former department at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria

Nasir EL-Rufai
El-rufai in a lecture

He also held management positions with two international telecommunications companies, AT&T Network Systems International BV and Motorola, Inc.

Early Political Career

Nasir El-Rufai’s spell with the government began under the transition government of General Abdulsalami Abubakar, where he served as an adviser in the Transition government.

From November 1999 to July 2003, he was the Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises and the Secretary of the National Council of Privatization where he spearheaded the privatization of many governments owned companies alongside the former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.

After a sterling performance as the Director-General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises and the Secretary of the National Council of Privatization, President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed him minister of the federal capital territory to sanitize the and restore the capital to the original master plan. A task he didn’t disappoint.

As a known crusader against corruption, having previously successfully exposed two senators that demanded bribes from him to ease his ministerial confirmation. He presided over a real estate boom backed by the radical transformation of infrastructure and land-use practices of the federal capital earlier riddled with corruption and vast deviation from the original masterplan.

His first major task was to create a database and he did that brilliantly With the establishment of the Abuja Geographic Information System within 12 months of being Minister of the FCT. By that, Abuja became the first municipality in Nigeria with a computerized land register and information system.

Along with the President and members of the Economic Management Team, he led the reform of the Nigerian public service which had become dysfunctional during years of military dictatorship. At various times during his tenure as Minister, he oversaw the Federal Ministries of Commerce (twice) and Interior. He also chaired several high-profile cabinet committees that led to the establishment of a mortgage system in Nigeria, the National ID card system for Nigeria, Electric Power Supply Improvement and the sale of Federal Government real estate in Abuja.

Later Political Career

Nazir elrufai through sheer hard work and competence won his way to the heart of the President and became so influential in the government that he was described by the former EFCC Chairman as the “de facto No. 2 official”, tagging him with the role of a Vice-President, especially after the fall-out between the former President and his Vice-President.

Malam Nasir El-Rufai is viewed by many as an incorruptible public servant who gets difficult jobs done, especially after he ordered the demolition of the house of the Chairman PDP which was the ruling party.

The administration of the President, Umaru Yar’adua appointed El-Rufai to the National Energy Council in September 2007, due to the belief that he could contribute positively to the under-achieving power sector of the country. Nasir resigned the appointment in June 2008, and on 30 April and 7 May 2008, El-Rufai appeared before the Nigerian Senate Committee on Federal Capital Territory to explain some actions of his administration as FCT Minister.

He justified his actions and stoutly rejected cynics views on the allegation that he allocated plots of land to his friends, brother, and cronies, and it was clear that many of the Senators had lost properties during the restoration of Abuja by El-Rufai and were therefore just out to get their pound of flesh.

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To a vast amount of Nigerians, El-Rufai was simply being witched-hunted for stepping on the toes of the corrupt political elite within the country. Unlike a number of aides to the former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Nasir El-Rufai has never been accused of money laundering or any bribery scandal

While El-Rufai was still under investigation by the Yar’adua administration, he published a widely circulating essay on President Umaru Yar’Adua titled “Umaru Yar’Adua – Great Expectations, Disappointing Outcomes” which revealed aspects of the president’s life history, habits, and statecraft, as well as the performance of the administration. The essay went viral and was serialized in several Nigerian newspapers and various news sites and blogs.

Recent Political Career – Governor of Kaduna State

In 2014, Malam Nasir El-Rufai won the gubernatorial primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Kaduna State and was declared the party’s candidate for the April 2015 governorship election. In the April 11 governorship election in Kaduna State, El-Rufai secured 1,117,635 million votes to defeat the incumbent governor and candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero. The election was upheld by the election petition tribunal in October 2015.

Nasir El-Rufai biography

Malam Nasir El-Rufai was sworn in as the 22nd governor of Kaduna State on 29 May 2015. In his inaugural address, he announced that he and his deputy were taking a pay cut and donating 50 percent of their salaries and allowances pending an improvement in the state’s fiscal situation, a decision that hailed and praised by all Nigerians across the country.

On 6 August 2015, El-Rufai in one of his first acts as governor announced that Kaduna State will adopt the Treasury Single Account policy by 1 September of the same year. At the end of the exercise, 470 accounts belonging to different ministries, departments and agencies were closed and a sum of N24.7 billion was recovered and remitted to the Kaduna State Government TSA with the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Nasir El-Rufai also reformed the civil service in Kaduna State and reduced the number of ministries from 19 to 13 and the number of permanent secretaries from 35 to 18. In a bid to reduce the cost of governance, he appointed only 13 commissioners, 10 special advisers, and 12 special assistants.

This was against the 24 commissioners, 41 special advisers and about 400 special assistants appointed by the previous administration. By blocking leakages and cutting the cost of running the government, it is estimated that the El-Rufai administration was able to save N1.2 billion in just two months.

In January 2016, El-Rufai launched the School Feeding Programme, aimed at providing one free meal per day to 1.5 million pupils in public primary schools within the state. He also abolished the collection of fees and levies in public primary and junior secondary schools in Kaduna, thereby removing a financial burden of N3 billion from the parents.


Mallam Nasir el-Rufai has attracted to Kaduna State, the biggest poultry and hatchery farm in the whole of West Africa. The farm, which is worth about $150 million (about N30 billion), was constructed by the Olam group and was commissioned at a very colourful event by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari himself.

The agricultural revolution in Kaduna State under Mallam Nasir el Rufai has caught the attention of other top investors, including the highly successful Dangote Group, the Stallion Group and Indorama, one of Africa’s largest fertilizer companies.

Worth mentioning also is that under the transformational leadership of Mallam Nasir El Rufai, Kaduna State became one of the first subnational governments in the world and the first in Nigeria, to conduct an in-depth analysis of local SDGs data and strategy development to implement all 17 Goals in the State.

After a Starling performance in his first tenure, Malam Nasir El-Rufai was re-elected as governor of Kaduna state in march 2019 for the second term of four years.


Malam Nasir El-Rufai has had various nicknames throughout his period in politics and even before that, he’s knowns as Giant by those close to him, a reference to his small size. He is also known as the Privatization Czar, and later on as Mr. Demolition. In October 2001, he was conferred a national honour, OFR (Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria)

Family life

Malam Nasir El-Rufai is married to a distinguished abusite, writer and novelist Hajia Hadiza Isma El-Rufai. Together, they run the Yasmin El-Rufai Foundation (YELF), set up to honour their daughter who died in 2011.

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Chila Andrew Aondofa

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Chila Andrew Aondofa has 647 posts and counting. See all posts by Chila Andrew Aondofa

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