Between Nasir El-Rufa’i and Goodluck Jonathan


Goodluck Jonathan is the President of Nigeria, while Nasir El-Rufa’i is a former FCT Minister. The duo are not equal. However, Nasir El-Rufa’i is an ardent critic of President Goodluck Jonathan and his administration. El-Rufa’i is so passionate about his criticism of Goodluck Jonathan’s style of governance, to the extent that he coined the word ‘Jonathanian’. 

What is really the motive behind El-Rufa’i’s tireless criticism of President Goodluck and his government? Is it the extension of El-Rufa’i’s no-love relationship with late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua’s administration? Is it because El-Rufa’i has not been offered any position in the government? Is it that El-Rufa’i is being pushed by his zeal for national development and the only option is to criticize those in authority to make amends? Or is it just politics, (El-Rufa’i is a member of the opposition- now, the Deputy National Secretary of the All Progressive Congress, APC)? Supporters and opponents of both President Goodluck Jonathan and Nasir El-Rufa’i have different views on the reasons why El-Rufa’i enjoys criticizing President Goodluck Jonathan.

El-Rufa’i critics- Jonathan sympathizers, are of the view that, El-Rufa’i’s persistent lampooning of President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration is borne out of El-Rufa’i’s anger of not having been offered any position in the administration. They observe that El-Rufa’i had thought he would be a major player in the Jonathan government having actively participated in the struggle to make Goodluck Jonathan the Acting President. Thus, El-Rufa’i is seen to be angry at being snubbed by Jonathan, despite that he El-Rufa’i have admitted that, they sold to the nation the impression that a cabal was behind the blocking of the emergence of Vice President Goodluck Jonathan as Acting President, even though the cabal didn’t exit. 

Jonathan’s supporters also see El-Rufa’i as part of a group of some members of former President Olusegun Obasanjo Administration who are avidly committed to criticize anything of Goodluck Jonathan administration. El-Rufa’i’s relentless condemnation of Jonathan’s administration is also seen, by some quarters, as an expression of bitterness as a result unfulfilled personal ambitions; politics with hatred and seeking avenue for cheap publicity. They ask; is it not same El-Rufa’i that barraged Muhammad Buhari with criticisms in the run-off to the 2007 Presidential election that has now turned around to be a Buhari supporter? Well, criticism of one another by politicians is nothing new- it is just politics! El-Rufa’i and Goodluck Jonathan were once members of same political party- the PDP. It will not be surprising to see the two men on same page, probably in the same political party- Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-or APC, afterall anything is possible in Nigerian politics.

El-Rufa’i sympathizers enjoy mentioning the word ‘Jonathanian’. They say, it perfectly defines Jonathan’s under-performance so far. El-Rufa’i’s fans are of the view that, his criticisms of Jonathan is borne out of his desire for a Nigeria with a well-run economy that supports practical growth in all sectors. A Nigeria with a leadership that is well-read and competent with the right leadership skills, exposure and behaviour.

El-Rufa’i’s fans also say, if he is being motivated by politics for cheap popularity; he could have chosen to be a promoter of the government- because that is the easiest way to get government patronage and recognition. But he took the hard way- identifying with the opposition. They also said, El-Rufa’i is an established professional with international repute who can survive anywhere in the world, wealth is not his problem. El-Rufa’i admirers further said, Jonathan’s flaws are so many and perpetual, hence, talkative and social media savvies like El-Rufa’i find it hard to keep their mouths shut and their hands off the keypads; after all, the social media does not have gatekeepers. El-Rufa’i supporters see him as open minded, fearless and one who says things as they are.

Those sitting on the fence are of the view that, intelligent and fluent El-Rufa’i would always comment on issues, especially those that affect the governance of the country. It is true that, constructive criticism by those whom the government must listen to when they speak, helps the government to see the bigger picture, as well as give the common man a voice. So, whether El-Rufa’i’s criticism of the Jonathan government is politically motivated or not, the constructive ones could help the government.

The big question is what would make El-Rufa’i end his passionate criticism of Goodluck Jonathan and his administration? -A lucrative position/contract in the government or sterling performances in all sectors of the economy by the Jonathan administration? The typical Nigerian politician El-Rufa’i could go for the former, 
while the technocrat and development-activist El-Rufa’i could go for the latter. But which is the real El-Rufa’i?

Zayyad I. Muhammad writes from Jimeta, Adamawa State,, 08036070980. 


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