El-Rufai Is My Mentor, Not Lover – Bala Usman

Hadiza Bala Usman, Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), has described Nasir El-Rufai, governor of Kaduna State, as her mentor, and that they never had any romantic relationship.
El-Rufai appointed Usman as his chief of staff in 2015, after he was elected as governor, which led to speculations that both of them were in a relationship.
Also, her appointment as head of the NPA by President Muhammadu Buhari, further fueled the speculations that she was El-Rufai’s mistress.
Some reports claimed she could only have got the new appointment because of the close relationship between Buhari and El-Rufai.
However, Usman, who was a guest on Television Continental’s morning talk show, ‘Your View With Morayo’, on the celebration of the International women’s day, said her relationship with the governor was purely on work basis.
“I was never his girlfriend, he is mentor and I thank him for the opportunity he gave me,” she said
On the notion that Buhari appoints mainly northerners into key governmental positions, she stated that the president’s decision has been on the competence of the appointees.
“If the person is not competent or qualified, the managing director of the Nigerian ports, how has she performed in the last years, has she been competent or not, you know what I mean?
“So to that extent, where we need to narrow or limit our competence, our ethnic and religious background, I think it is reducing what we are as a people, people should ascribe to be in position because of capacity and competence and not where they come from.
“We had a minister of finance that was not from the north, so there were certain times and situations that you have a particular region having more, who said what? Why is the outcry about?
“If you go back to 2015, there was a time when we had a president coming from a particular region, so it is important for us to understand the larger play and see where it was not favoring you,” she added.

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