The Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, on Sunday clocked the age of 60. The astute politician was born on the 16th of February 1960 in Daudawa, Faskari Local Government Area in Katsina State.
From November 1999 to July 2003, El-Rufai was the Director General of )the Bureau of Public Enterprises and the Secretary of the National Council of Privatization where he spearheaded the privatisation of many government owned companies alongside the former Vice President, Abubakar Atiku. 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.
President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed him as the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, from 16th July 2003 to 29th May 2007.
As FCT Minister, El-Rufai presided over a real estate boom backed by the radical transformation of infrastructure and land use practices of the Federal Capital Territory earlier riddled with corruption and vast deviation from the original Abuja masterplan. With the establishment of the Abuja Geographic Information System within 12 months of being Minister of the FCT, Abuja became the first municipality in Nigeria with a computerised land registry and information system.
The achievements of Nasir El-Rufai between 2003 and 2007 as FCT Minister speak volumes as he set a standard that can hardly be broken by any of his successors and that explains the reason why he was nominated as Housing Friendly Governor of the year by Fesadab Communications Ltd, owners of Africanhousingnews.com.
Fesadab Communications CEO, Barrister Festus Adebayo explained that the choice of El-Rufai for the Housing Friendly Governor of the Year award was made after taking into cognizance his landmark achievements, especially in the area of infrastructural and housing development during his tenure as FCT Minister and as the incumbent governor of Kaduna State.
It is of note that most of the infrastructure in the FCT are testimonies of his achievements as a man with a great commitment to infrastructural development of the FCT and Kaduna State where he currently holds sway as the Executive Governor.
As FCT minister, he demolished many houses in order to restore the capital city to its original master plan. This policy, which he pursued vigorously, metamorphosed into Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in mass housing development, that led to the opening up of places like Lokogoma, Apo, Mbora, Life Camp etc.
Also as Governor of Kaduna State, his policies on ease of doing business is second to none.
At various times during his tenure as FCT 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, National ID card system for Nigeria, Electric Power Supply improvement and the sale of Federal Government real estate in Abuja.
El -Rufai’s achievements as an administrator and public servant did not come as a surprise to many, going by his sound educational background. As a secondary school student at Barewa College Zaria, he graduated at the top of his class, winning the “Barewa Old Boys’ Association Academic Achievement” Trophy in 1976.
He then proceeded to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, earning a Bachelor degree in Quantity Surveying with First Class Honors. He also attended post-graduate programs at Harvard Business School and Georgetown University.
Since leaving public service, Nasir has completed an LL.B degree from the University of London, graduating in August 2008 with Second Class Honors, Upper Division, and 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.
During the last days of the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, the former EFCC Chairman described El-Rufai 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. It is believed that Obasanjo’s trust and confidence in El-Rufai angered a vast number of the political elite within the country.
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. 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.
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, El-Rufai appointed only 13 commissioners, 10 special advisers and 12 special assistants as 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 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’s administration 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. His administration 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.
On the March 9, 2019, he again won the Kaduna State Gubernatorial Elections.
El-Rufai is married to writer and novelist Hadiza Isma El-Rufai. They have 5 children: Hamza El-Rufai, Mustapha El-Rufai, Yasmin El-Rufai, Bilkisu El-Rufai and Ahmed El-Rufai.
El Rufai is the author of: ‘The Accidental Public Servant,’ a book he wrote to chronicle his sojourn as a public officer.
Africanhousingnews.com is happy to give him this special award in appreciation of his unrivalled commitment to the development of affordable housing sector we strongly advocate for.
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