El-Rufai was sworn in as the 22nd governor of Kaduna State in May 2015. On assumption of office, he announced that he and his deputy were taking a pay cut
If you describe Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, governor of Kaduna State, as controversial, you could be on point. He is a pocket-size dynamite. What he lost in physical attribute, he made up with his intellectual sagacity and uncommon courage. Where the angels fear to tread, he dances there.
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Despite the fact that he was born in Daudawa, in Faskari Local Government Area, Katsina State, El-Rufai is passionate about the Nigerian project.
The governor was not a product of comfort. At eight, he lost his father and was subsequently trained in school by an uncle. For someone with his humble background, education provided the only route to success and he made the most of it.
As the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Abuja from July 2003 to May 2007, he made the headlines. He showed profound zeal to return the FCT to its original master plan. He pulled down many structures belonging to the high and mighty, daring the heavens to fall.
El-Rufai was sworn in as the 22nd governor of Kaduna State in May 2015. On assumption of office, he announced that he and his deputy were taking a pay cut and donating 50 per cent of their salaries and allowances pending an improvement in the state’s finances. He quickly announced that Kaduna State would adopt the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy. At the end of the exercise, 470 accounts belonging to different ministries, departments and agencies were closed and the sum of N24.7 billion was recovered and remitted to the state’s TSA with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
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As governor, he has 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 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, he saved billions of naira for the state. He launched the free feeding programme in schools and abolished the collection of fees and levies in public primary and junior secondary schools in Kaduna.
El-Rufai, in a bid to sanitise the education sector, subjected teachers to a test, which exposed the low quality of those teaching children. He laid off many of the teachers and engaged new ones who would help the state government realise the excellence it plans for the education sector.
For his visionary strides, ability to take courageous positions that project into the future even if it may appear unpopular at the moment, El-Rufai makes the point that a leader must continuously think about the next generation.
For these and many others, El-Rufai is The Sun Man of the Year 2018.