NIA DG Qualified for the Job, Presidency Replies

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The Presidency has frowned on media reports criticising the appointment of the new Director-General of National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Mr. Ahmed Rufa’i.

A statement issued in Abuja on Saturday by Deputy Director (Information), Media Unit of the State House, Mr Abiodun Oladunjoye, quoted Malam Garba Shehu, a Presidential Spokesman as flaying the negative reports.

Shehu expressed concern during a send-off for the newly-appointed director-general of the NIA. The send-off was organised by Presidential aides and staff of the State House, Abuja.

Shehu, who is also the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, said it was regrettable that the appointee had been maligned by a section of the media following his appointment. He, however, described Rufai’s appointment as well deserved.

“Ahmed Rufai Abubakar is a perfect fit who is most qualified for the job. He has occupied various top public offices in the agency in the course of which he received several awards. He left voluntarily to go to the United Nations as a Director.

“When he retired, he was appointed as a Senior Adviser in the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) regional coalition of countries for the fight against Boko Haram and other trans-border security threats in the region. There is no doubt at all as to Mr. Abubakar’s qualifications for the job and that is what is most important,” he said.

The Chief of Staff to the President, Malam Abba Kyari, who also spoke at the event, described the erstwhile aide on international relations to the President as “a patriot, intelligent and consummate gentleman”.

He said: “I met him for the first time in this office after my appointment as Chief of Staff. I do not think his elevation will deny us the opportunity of still working together.

“During his stay here, he distinguished himself as a patriot and he brought his wealth of experience in working with international organisations to bear on his work. At any given time, even at late hours, Abubakar was always ready to give his best. He was committed.”

Also speaking, the State Chief of Protocol, Amb. Lawal Kazaure, advised the former presidential aide to surround himself with the “right advisers”.

“Do not have people who tell you what you want to hear around you but those who will tell you the truth dispassionately,” Kazaure said. He urged other staff members to continually pray for the new director-general.

For the Permanent Secretary, State House, Alhaji Jalal Arabi, the civil service has gained richly from Abubakar’s wealth of experience.

“Hard work was Ahmed Rufai Abubakar’s middle name during his period at the State House. Please, I want you to be guided by your conscience and philosophy in your new assignment,” he said.

Corroborating the permanent secretary’s view, a presidential aide in the Office of the Chief of Staff, Mr. Fola Oyeyinka, noted that colleagues would always have fond memories of the new intelligence chief as a generous and witty gentleman.

“We worked together in the ‘Chief of Staff’s Little Office’ and I recall he will always share his lunch and food with us. Our ‘little office loss’ is Nigeria’s gain and we wish the new DG the very best in his new role,” he said.

On her part, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Diaspora, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said she had looked forward to consummating their work plans for 2018 before the new appointment.

She said: “When he was appointed, I got a text message from someone who said: a Yoruba man was removed from office and now a northerner has been appointed in his place, what kind of thing is this?

“I replied: If it is this Rufai that I know and have worked with, honestly he is the best person for the job and I really don’t care where he comes from, and that ended the conversation,” she said.

Mrs. Bumi Badejo, who recently retired as a Director in the Office of the Chief of Staff, said career civil servants that worked with Rufai would fondly remember him as “a witty, humble and intelligent gentleman. He will correct you nicely without raising a word. He is a wordsmith,” she said.

A steward, Sule, recounted that his over two-year stint with his principal was devoid of rancour, query or any ill-feeling.

Sule jokingly told his former boss: “I will not forget your kindness to us. Please do not forget us in your new office.”

Responding, Rufai said: “I am emotion-laden for so many reasons and I thank you for what you have said about me. The best I could have done in my life is to serve the President and the nation.”

Ahmed Rufai, who until his appointment, was a Senior Special Assistant to the President (SSAP) on Foreign Affairs/International Relations, in the office of the Chief of Staff.

  • bobisa

    Story story! And he’s the most qualified abi? Fulani Arrangement, kontinu!

  • Mystic mallam

    Questions the Presidency is not answering: 1] At what grade did Mr. Ahmed Rufai leave NIA to qualify him to head the Agency?
    2] Why did he leave – anything to do with failing NIA promotion exams twice?
    3] What happens to serving NIA Directors who were Rufai’s superiors until 2 years ago?
    3] Is Ahmed Rufai a bona-fide citizen of Nigeria or Chad – only the truth, no rationalisations here?
    4] Must the 17 Security/Intelligence/Para-military outfits of Nigeria be manned by ”Northerners” – or has Nigeria expunged the federal character provisions in the 1999 constitution, if so, when?

  • James Gunn

    Thanks Buhari. I know you will not win in a free 2019 election but if you rig yourself in be ready for more blood to flow. As for your appointments, please when the next president comes from another section if the country, if he decides to appoint everybody from his local government, nobody should complain or agitate for any rubbish. Tribalistic, nepotistic, unimaginative Buhari has set a precedent which will be followed.

  • pius pumpum

    So Buhari can’t just help himself,i can’t imagine or understand how someone can be so much an irredentist honestly this is abnormal.This guy should be checked,there must be a spell or something somewhere.I voted for this guy and believed so much in him but he keeps disappointing even on the most mundane things, why must all his key appointment come from the north?which in all reality has the most least qualified if we are talking about qualification.When backwardness is to be used to attract national largess they will jump out and claim it when at the same time also claiming to be the most qualified for any job,what a contradiction?GMB you have disappointed me almost beyond irredeemable,i am pained because i know this are simple matters that you could have chosen to do the right thing but deliberately and obnoxiously always chose the path of infamy.

    • Ade

      Our president is brain dead. He does not know his age nor what goes on around him. The Hausa Fulani cabal make recommendations for lopsided appointments and Baba just approves them without thinking. DSS boss and Abubakar Malami are undermining his anti-corruption war and he has refused to sanction them. He looks like somebody who has been hypnotized. In 2019, the best of us must rule the rest of us. Buhari and Atiku are out of consideration. We need an intelligent, modern, honest and detrabilsed President going forward. PDP and APC cannot produce one. So we need a new party urgently.

      • Edon B.

        The third political force has emerged already. Your prayer has indeed been answered long before you started to pray for our national rebirth.

  • josvinco

    What else do we expect to hear from the office of a bigot who thinks his own people are better in a multiethnic federation.

  • Solomon Brown

    Stiff necked Buhari could not have found any other qualified candidate for this job, it just had to be another notherner, and then when anyone points out how sectional his appointments have been so far, you are labelled a bigot.

    With almost every key security position held by a northerner, there is no doubt at all, he is either setting the stage to rig the 2019 elections, or tying up all loose ends in a bid to protect his murderous cattle colonizers, he must be stopped by any means necessary.

    • bobisa

      Did you say it is EITHER? The scumbag is paving ways for his re-election bid, but we shall see.