GOVERNOR Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has reportedly been denied a US visa because Washington is unhappy about his recent comments about how international election observers would be send back home in body bags if they got too nosy.
In the run-up to Nigeria’s presidential elections in February, Governor El-Rufai, a key ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, had warned election observers not to interfere too much in the Nigerian polls. Warning that his All Progressives Congress (APC) is wary of the motives of some of the election monitors, Governor El-Rufai warned them to be wary of what they report.
This week, the governor’s of Nigeria’s 19 northern states are travelling to Canada for a two-day summit and Governor El-Rufai has sought a US visa to enable him make a stopover. However, his attendance at the meeting is now in doubt having been denied a transit visa and if the situation is not resolved, he may have to send his deputy instead.
Kaduna State government is yet to comment officially on the matter and it is believed that behind-the-scenes diplomatic efforts are ongoing to resolve the impasse. Being a key ally of the president, it is expected that Governor El-Rufai would ask the presidency to intervene on his behalf.