Flashback September 2019; when El-Rufai and his wife Ummi took Sadiq Abubakar El-Rufai to enrol in Kaduna public school

Governor Nasir El-Rufai has quietly withdrawn his son, Abubakar Al-Sadiq from Kaduna Capital School, less than two years after the boy’s enrolment in the public school.

El-Rufai staged what was then suspected to be a “political and media stunt” when he, along with his wife Ummi, took the boy to the school.

But as Daily Trust has found, the boy has stopped going to the school.

Schools in Kaduna were shut during the COVID-19 lockdown last year. But when the schools re-opened Abubakar Sadiq El-Rufai has been missing.

“We used to see him when he was newly enrolled in the school, but we no longer saw him after the COVID-19 lockdown was lifted late last year and we don’t know why,” a teacher in the school said.

The controversial governor has not stated why he made the volte-face.

“I am grossly disappointed because the whole enrolment episode looked deceptive,” Ibrahim Yaro, a resident of Kaduna told the newspaper.

“Leaders should respect their words and the promises they take. After the governor has removed his son from the public school, he is now busy increasing fees and sacking teachers…I really don’t understand where he is heading to. Someone should talk to him, please,” he said.

A human rights activist and Executive Director, Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), Dr Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi, described the governor’s action as a betrayal of public trust and failure of his government.

“The governor must also not forget that as the leader of the state, he is a father figure to all the other children in the public school system especially those that don’t have alternative.

“To simply take his own child out of the school system for whatever reasons, while the children of the poor and vulnerable ordinary citizen are left to face those same challenges, does not show transparency and accountability,” Zikirullahi told Daily Trust.

In September 2019, the governor assured that the enrolment of his son in a public school would encourage other members of his cabinet as well as privileged individuals to toe his path.

He also spoke about his determination to fix public schools, having attended one himself, as a child.

El-Rufai said then: “I made that commitment because I believe that it is only when all political leaders have their children in public schools that we will pay due attention to quality of public education.

“I went to a public school like this. In fact, the school I went to is not as good as this one, but here I am, because of the quality teaching I got.

“My intention is to ensure that all our public schools offer quality education, and so we are encouraging all our senior public servants to send their children to public schools.

“Once the public schools are improved to a point they are nearly as good or even better than private schools, no one will waste his money taking his child to private school,” he said.

On his part, the little child said: “I am sad that I will miss my old school, my friends and my teachers. But I have to help my father keep his promise.”

Ummi El-Rufa’i, the mother of the child said: “l am glad that we are able to send a strong message to our leaders and the elites, that we need to start making things work from within our homes”.