Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai Biography

Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai
Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai

El-Rufai was a Nigerian politician and a member of APC party. He describes himself as an accidental public servant. He once said that his vision is to work for a truly united Nigeria where tribe and religion doesn’t matter, continue reading Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai Biography and know more about his personality and career

Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai Biography

Mallam Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai was born on February 16, 1960 to a Fulani family in Daudawa, Faskari Local government in Katsina state. He was a Nigerian politician and a member of APC party. He describes himself as an accidental public servant. He once said that his vision is to work for a truly united Nigeria where tribe and religion doesn’t matter.

Early life

His father died while he was 8 years old, he was then sponsored by one of his uncles living in Kaduna. As a result of this, El-Rufai sites his state of origin as Kaduna State.
El-Rufai went into self-imposed exile and became a vocal critic of the Umaru Yar’Adua administration in 2008.


El-Rufai was educated in Barewa College. As a junior at the college, President Umaru Yar’Adua was the house captain of his dormitory. In 1976, he graduated at the top of his class, winning the “Barewa Old Boys’ Association Academic Achievement” Trophy. El-Rufai attended Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, where he received a bachelor’s degree in quantity surveying with first class honors.

In 1984, he received a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School. He attended several professional and post-graduate programs, including the Georgetown School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C and programs on privatization and leadership.

In August 2008 he received a law degree from the University of London; and a master’s degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government of 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.

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Personal Life

El-Rufai is married to three wives; Hadiza, Assia and Ummi and blessed with five beautiful children. He run the Yasmin El-Rufai Foundation (YELF) with his first wife Hadiza Isma El-Rufai; a novelist set up in honor of their daughter who died in 2011. He is the incumbent governor of Kaduna state.


In 1982, he founded El-Rufai & Partners, a quantity surveying consulting firm with three partners which he managed until 1998, During the military juntas of 1983–1998, the firm received building and civil engineering contracts including the construction of Abuja, making the partners “young millionaires”
Also, El-Rufai held management positions with two international telecommunications companies, AT&T Network Systems International BV and Motorola Inc.


El-Rufai was appointed as an economic advisor in 1998 by General Abdulsalami following the death of military head of state General Sani Abacha. In this role he worked with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
After President Olusegun Obasanjo got in to power as been transferred from the military, El –Rufai was appointed the director of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, and Secretary of the National council of Privatizartion in November 1999.

He was subsequently arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2010, when he returned to Nigeria. He explained his return was in order to clear his name of corruption charges.
El-Rufai joined party politics with the Congress for Progressive Change supporting Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign in the 2011 presidential election, El-Rufai was appointed deputy national secretary of the newly formed All Progressives Congress (APC).

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In 2014, El-Rufai declared his campaign for Governor of Kaduna State, contesting the APC governorship primaries to emerged as the party’s candidate for Governor of Kaduna State, He went on to win the governorship election, with over one million votes to defeat the incumbent Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, In 2018, he again emerged as the APC’s governorship candidate. He was re-elected on 9 March 2019, defeating his closet rival by over 200,000 votes.

Governor of Kaduna State

On 29 May 2015, El-Rufai was sworn in as the 22nd Governor of Kaduna State. In his inaugural address, he declared that he and his deputy were cutting their allowances by half 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.

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. 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.

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As governor, El-Rufai has embarked on a comprehensive education reform with the goal of revamping the moribund state of education. El-Rufai sacked over 22,000 unqualified primary teachers. 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.

He 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 28 March 2020, El-Rufai tested positive for COVID-19, following contact with an index case. He has placed a curfew in Kaduna State and restricted movement, to prevent the spread of the virus.

On 20 August 2020, Controversy arose on social media when the Nigerian Bar Association invited Governor El-rufai to speak at its annual conference. Thousands of Nigerians signed a petition on to have Governor El-rufai’s invitation revoked. The NBA succumbed to the pressure and disinvited the governor.

A report by Open Bar initiative cited eight reasons why El-rufai’s invitation to the general conference was turned down. Some of the reasons include his refusal to obey court orders in his case with Audu Maikori, threatening Gloria Ballason who was Maikori’s lawyer and a report by Quartz (publication) 

Africa which named Governor El-rufai as the head of a “powerful” group of Nigerian governors who “now regularly use security agents to arrest and intimidate journalists who dare to question their actions or attempt to hold them accountable”.

Political Offices Held

  • Director General of The Bureau of Public Enterprises
  • Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Abuja
  • Governor (Kaduna state)

Social media handles

Instagram: @nelrufai
Twitter: @elrufai

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