Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai has debunked claims that the recent reshuffle of his state executive council was influenced by the former emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi.
Mr El-Rufai announced changes in his cabinet on October 12 in a statement by his media adviser, Muyiwa Adekeye.
In the changes, the governor assigned new portfolios to some commissioners and senior officials of the state government.
Mr Adekeye said: “The major changes are designed to help harness fresh energy for the government’s final lap, bring new insights and enable the commissioners to have (a) more rounded experience of the government.”
However, many said the changes were influenced by Mr Sanusi, citing his remarks at an event after the then chief of staff to the governor, Mohammed Abdullahi, referred to him as the former emir of Kano.
Responding minutes later at the event in Kaduna in October, Mr Sanusi appeared not to like the reference.
“When I listened to the chief of staff…I will call him former chief of staff…you will understand why I call you ‘former’ later,” Mr Sanusi said at the event. “Next time don’t call me ‘former Emir.’ There is nothing like that.”
Days later, Mr El-Rufai announced the changes in his cabinet, deploying Mr Abdullahi to the Ministry of Budget and Planning as commissioner.
Following criticisms of the former emir after the redeployment of Mr Abdullahi, Mr Sanusi issued a statement that his comments on Mr Abdullahi’s reference to him were light-hearted.
He said he had no foreknowledge of or a hand in Mr El-Rufai’s cabinet reshuffle.
Speaking on the issue in a brief media engagement in Kaduna last week, as aired by Liberty Radio in Hausa and followed by newsmen, the governor denied any influence of the former emir in the redeployment of Mr Abdullahi.
“I have read from media houses and on social media that it was former emir Sanusi that influenced the cabinet reorganization. It was a decision I had taken since January. I discussed with all my commissioners and I told them that there would be changes but it did not happen until now.
“The comment by emir Sanusi was a mere joke to Mr Abdullahi after calling him, former emir. I found it very funny and mischievous from those who want to start something from nothing.
“Khalifa Sanusi is my friend and a brother. He is also the chancellor of our state university and a professional in the financial sector. I talk to him on issues like that but not on how to run my government. I do that with nobody but my cabinet.
“The meeting where I decided to make those changes was attended by the chief of staff and he did not object to it. We want him to go and fix the ministry. It was a responsibility he held with distinction during our first term. So he is going back there to return the ministry to its former glory.”
Mr El-Rufai also gave the reasons he created three administrative districts with administrators in Kaduna.
“We have created administrative districts to ease governance within the three regions in the state, Kaduna, Zaria and Kafanchan. The administrators will serve as commissioners,” he said.