Rufai Apology

No Comments » September 3rd, 2004 posted by // Categories: Important Documents

Full text of his FCT Minister Nasir El-Rufai’s apology
at a press conference on September  3, 2004  reads:

“Members of the National Working Committee of the PDP, my colleagues, members of
the PDP, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the press and other guests here.
Let me begin by thanking my brother, the national chairman of the PDP, for this
press conference and for giving me an opportunity for the first time to say
something on this matter to the floor.

“Mr. Chairman, with your indulgence, I would like to give a little background.
Since I reported to the Ministry in July 2003, I and my team have focused on
reforming the FCT and trying to make it the best city, if not in the world, in
Africa, which all of us Nigerians and indeed all black people anywhere in the
world will be proud of. It has not been an easy job. We’ve had a lot of
oppositions because we are trying to change many habits that have been ongoing,
that are not necessarily good for the people, now and in the future.

“In that process of course, we have hurt a lot of people and we have pleased
some, but that is on the external side. On our side in the ministry, we are
being under considerable pressure, as you can understand. My staff and I work
very hard round the clock, virtually working a hundred hours a week is not
untypical in my ministry. For most of us and many of my staff that are here, the
accumulating effect of that pressure is that as a human being, one can lose
one’s sense of balance. It is in this light that I would like to put in context
the statement that I made, which has been widely misconstrued.

“I respect the Senate. I respect in fact every person, and those who know me a
little bit better know that I respect the National Assembly. I respect all the
institutions of democracy because as someone who grew up at a time when we were
under military rule, I understand the values of democracy. It is therefore
impossible for me to do or say anything that disrespects one of the three
pillars of our democracy. I did not mean what I said and I certainly did not
mean it to refer to the whole Senate. But even if I made it to refer to one
person, it was an inappropriate statement.

“I made a mistake, and I am sorry. We are all human beings and we all make
mistakes. And Mr. Chairman, I deeply regret this and I feel particularly bad
about the pain I have caused many people, both in the leadership, in the party
and outside, who truly care about me. I think the pain I have caused to other
people is greatly more than the pain I have inflicted on myself by that
unfortunate and unwarranted statement.

“The National Assembly is my legislature. As Minister of FCT, our reforms will
meet limited success unless we are able to work together with them. So it is
incongruous for anyone to assume that I will put them in a position where they
will not cooperate with me. And I hope as the national chairman said, if the
Senate deems it fit, I will be given an opportunity to apologize to the whole
House. I have been going round and meeting with many senators and explaining the
circumstances that led to the statement, and I am happy to say that many of them
understand and I will continue to do that. But my hope is that the Senate itself
will give me a fair hearing, so that I can explain and end up with a profuse
apology. I will like to stop here, and I thank you very much for listening.”

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