Nasir El-Rufai quits THISDAY after clash with Obaigbena

Nasir El-Rufai
Nasir El-Rufai

A former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir El-Rufai, and Lagos-based newspaper, THISDAY, have parted ways, with Mr. El-Rufai announcing to his fans on Facebook that his column, El-Rufai on Friday, will no longer appear in the paper.

“My Friday Column, El-Rufai on Friday will no longer appear on the Back Page of Thisday,” Mr. El-Rufai said in an update Thursday night. “It will continue to be on the Back Page of People’s Daily and on other web-based platforms. Thanks to all those that have read and encouraged me to write the column.”

When contacted, the former minister wouldn’t comment on his disagreement with the paper. He only referred our reporter to his Facebook post on the matter.

But insiders in THISDAY said the development was the climax of a fierce standoff between Mr. El-Rufai and Nduka Obaigbena, the paper’s publisher.

Although the column is known more for its prime position on the backpage of THISDAY, Mr. El-Rufai also syndicates it in other news platforms, including PREMIUM TIMES.

But in the past weeks, we learnt, Mr. Obaigbena began pressing Mr. El-Rufai to stop syndicating his columns in other media.

“Our publisher said it is either he writes exclusively for THISDAY or nothing, and El-Rufai said he won’t write exclusively for us because of the wide reach he was getting by syndicating it,” a top official of the paper said.

When Mr. Obaigbena couldn’t get Mr. El-Rufai to back down, he reportedly enlisted top editors of the paper close to the former minister, to broach the matter with him.

Mr. El-Rufai stuck to his guns. And in anger, Mr. Obaigbena instructed Ijeoma Nwogwugwu, editor of the paper to stop running the former minister’s column in the paper.

It is not clear why Mr. Obaigbena wanted the column exclusively for his paper when he is not paying for it.

But one of his officials said the publisher had come under tremendous pressure from the administration to stop running the column, which is especially critical of government.

“We knew El-Rufai won’t agree to write exclusively for us,” a THISDAY insider said. “That condition was set to anger him and chase him away. Our publisher had wanted to chase him away a long time ago. He was under pressure from government.”

Mr. Obaigbena could not be reached for comments. Calls to his mobile telephone failed to connect.

The former minister began writing the column after he was requested by Mr. Obaigbena to do so.

The column, which appeared on the influential backpage of the paper, became an instant hit with Nigerians. It was deeply analytical and especially critical of the administration.

The former minister was once arrested after he analysed the government’s security spending in one of his columns.

  • NAGODI

    A FEW MORE READERS LOST TO THISDAY. AT THIS RATE THISDAY IS ON THE WAY TO THE DUSTBIN OF HISTORY. THANK GOD PEOPLE DONT WANT TO PAY AND READ GOVT PROPAGANDA.

    • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

      who reads elrufai garbage? you think they will let him go if it affect sales? You havent run a business before.Stick to your salaried job.

  • Kehinde Bankole

    I’m not a fan of Nasir El-Rufai but I commend him on this. I stopped reading ThisDay a long time ago when I discovered the unscrupulous character of the publisher. He is a man that is evil and one of the clogs in the wheel of progress in this country. For him, money is everything and he would do any dirty job for money. I cannot be buying his newspaper and indirectly be contributing to his financial empire that does not mean well for the masses of this country.

    • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

      u dont have money to buy thisday. admit it.

  • AFAM

    Thisday remains the upright newspapers among many in Nigeria ,however not like Nations and punch which is exclusively own by ACN leaders where LAIR MOHAMMED always run to rubbish any body he likes….

    • eastview1

      Punch and Nation does not worth the papers they are written on. They are tribal yoroba newspapers. Nobody from this part of the country dare buys it. Guardian, This day, The Sun are the newspapers that goes smoothly in the market everyday.

      • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

        on point

  • Prince Olusegun Adekoya

    It’s a welcome development because elrufai has become a social critic of the government which in most cases hasn’t been logical. As a learned and intelligent person, I would have expected him to criticize when needed and be critical when necessary but his political ambition has taken over his reasoning.

    • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

      exactly my thinking. when his article is not partisan, it is simply pedestrian. he thinks its okay to lie continuously against the government. his integrity is zero.

      • NAGODI

        EL-RUFAI IS LUCKY, LIE AGAINST A REAL GOVT INSTEAD OF A GOVT OF MORONS AND YOU END UP IN COURT.

        • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

          u mean like the thuggish govt of Yaradua that followed him around.Thank God for a ‘moron’ govt that respects freedom of speech.

  • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

    Good riddance to bad rubbish, Has any single international medium accepted any article from this local champion? he is simply peddling his influence as former minister to cajole local outlets to publish his trash.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ogagavworia Matthew Ogagavworia

    ThisDay was right to ask him not to syndicate his column in other news media. There are some people who buy ThisDay on Friday because of El-Rufai’s column. They will stop doing so if they obtain the same write up elsewhere. Besides, eventhough El-Rufai was an unpaid columnist, ThisDay’s platform has given him a podium to espouse his views to a wider population. He can float his own online new media or newspaper and accept the conditions he was giving to ThisDay. I wish his the best of luck

  • george

    @Matthew Ogagavworia, Didnt you read the report that thisday is not paying for that column? cos i really cant get yuor argument here

  • bono

    Most of the fake articles el rufai pays people to write for him are adverts-a man who could not account for the money collected from the sale of houses and land in abuja has no moral right to teach us rubbish-a man who gave female youth corpers one million naira as gift needs prayers from God- I mean who the hell is el rufai for this day to be worried about-happy he has shown them his true colors-remember what he did to atiku and his guest house when he was minister he confiscated the property

  • Eziokwu bu Ndu

    This Day? Forget it Kehinde, it is not for everybody. You reason(s) are unreasonable.
    Let’s look beyond the surface. Is it now that Obaigbena discovered that Nasir El-Rufai sydicates the column in other media? He is no longer needed. That is a smart way of throwing the guy out of This Day. It is a butter-prediction that El-Rufai will leave earlier than he joined This Day. Why would Obaigbena put his business at risk if El-Rufai uses the column to attack the Government simply becuase the Government proved that he (El-Rufai) is far less than what he made Nigerians beleive he was. Please go to sleep, This day sales will soar higher than ever.

  • kologba

    Thank God ! All these fanatics masking as urbane gentlemen on newspaper pages.Go abeg and do you CPC street urchins are waiting for you as usual dama patin su ne

  • bashwaziri

    For those that are happy El-Rufai is no longer writing gor this nonsense newspaper, nemesis has a funny way of caughting up with people coz finally Thisday Newspaper cannot even pay their workers common monthly salary! Shame!!!!
    Thank God El-Rufai stopped writing for this piece of crap!