Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on Saturday, said that Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State is never known to be sycophantic in nature, describing him as fearless and a courageous man who speaks truth to the powers that be.
The governor noted that it was only El-Rufai out of courage that insisted that the 2023 presidency must go to the southern part of Nigeria for the sake of unity and progress of the country.
This was as the president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, represented by a former Chairman of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, Kashim Imam, in a message to the occasion, described governor El-Rufai as a hardworking person, noting that “give El-Rufai any task, he will deliver it.”
Tinubu donated N20 million for the book launch.
The duo spoke at a book presentation on El-Rufai, titled, ‘Putting The People First,’ authored by a veteran journalist and public commentator, Emmanuel Ado, in Kaduna on Saturday.
The book was reviewed by a former Nigerian Television Authority’s ace newscaster, Eugenia Abu.
Wike recalled the controversial letter El-Rufai wrote the President, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), in March 2017, where he challenged Buhari to deliver the people’s expectations to avoid being on the wrong side of history.
He added that Governor El-Rufai was an embodiment of courage that could tell the truth to the powers that be, not minding the consequences as a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, noting that he had never been known to be sycophantic in nature.
The governor who donated N20 million for the book launch admonished other guests on the occasion to buy the books and stock them in public and private schools libraries across the country.
This was just as he also admonished the Kaduna State governor-elect, Senator Uba Sani, to build on the legacy of Governor El-Rufai for the greatness of the state.
He said, “El-Rufai, for me is one leader that who’s greatness defies categorisation. Governor El-Rufai embodies character, commitment and hard work. He is bold. He’s courageous and daring with a strong spirit of Justice, equity, and fairness.
“He (El-Rufai) is socio-politically assertive and unbending in his loyalty to principles. Governor El-Rufai is never known to be sycophantic. I could remember his controversial letter to President Muhammad Buhari, especially the one written in March 2017 that challenged him to deliver the people’s expectations to avoid falling on the wrong side of history.
“I don’t know how many governors will have the courage to write a seating president of his party to say, ‘Look do the right thing’ being the expectations of the people so that you will not be on the wrong side of history. It takes men of courage; it takes men of character.
“No sycophantic person can do that. I don’t know people who can even look at the president’s face. Everything that Mr. President do is right. Mr. President does no wrong. That’s not El-Rufai for you. His loyalty to principles is not for not telling the truth. And that is what leadership and the kind character that we required for this country today.
“Those who will look at you eye ball-to-eye ball, not an insulting way, but to advice you, this is not right. And that is why some of us have no choice but to relate to him. You remember what happened in this country. El-Rufai was one of the APC governors who came out boldly to say look for the unity of this country; for this country to move forward, let the presidency go to the south.
“After all, he has all it takes to say, to also say he will vie for the presidency of this country. You can’t say no. But he said this is the country we are building together, we want unity to move forward. I don’t know how many people that can set aside their selfish interests and come out to say let us go to the South. And that’s why we will say “agreement is agreement.” El-Rufai believes that agreement is agreement. Keep to what we have agreed.
“That’s why when I saw the invitation, this morning, it was raining heavily, I said if it likes, let there be flood everywhere, I must be here today, to participate, honour a man who has shown character; who has shown that service is not all about getting to be elected. It’s a privilege to render service to your people. That is why he has chosen the people first; he has put Nigeria first. You are on the right side of history.
“Remember that it’s only when you have left office that is when people will talk about you. Not when you are in the office. People are talking today when you were FCT Minister. Let us compare. When you were FCT Minister, I am sorry to say this, whether anybody likes it or not, that is not Abuja today.
“When you were FCT Minister, it was not the same. We need people like you to turn back to what Abuja used to be. FCT was a place everybody wants to go back to. But today, go to FCT, refuse everywhere. That was not there when you were a minister. I am sorry this is your party but the truth must be told.
“I believe that today’s event has a deeper meaning than the book launch. It is more an opportunity to celebrate governor El-Rufai’s exemplary leadership, revolutionary ideas, courage and commitment to service and contribution to the growth and development of Kaduna State and Nigeria in the last 8 years as governor of Kaduna State.”
Also speaking, El-Rufai thanked Wike for all the accolades about him, saying, “Our path may not have crossed long before now but God’s time is the best. Whatever Wike said about me is also applicable to him. He is as outspoken and as fearless.”
El-Rufai promised to continue to sack any bad person that need to be sacked in his government as well as demolished bad structures till the last hour he would be leaving office on May 29.
“Any bad thing we find we will remove so that the next governor does not need to do it again. Watch out till the eleventh hour when we shall quit office we will continue to sack bad persons and remove bad things,” he said.