Some ministers, governors and politicians under the banner of ‘Buharists’ are working to ensure that President Muhammadu Buhari re-contests the presidential election in 2019, Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai has said.
El-Rufai told newsmen at the State House in Abuja yesterday before joining President Buhari for juma’at prayer at the Presidential Villa mosque that efforts were being made to ensure Buhari’s re-election, adding that the Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan, who recently said Buhari promised to serve for one term was on her own as she had never supported Buhari, Daily Trust reports.
On the minister’s recent statements, he said she had never supported Buhari in the first place, but was entitled to her own opinion. He added that despite her support for Atiku Abubakar at the APC primaries in 2014, Buhari still made her minister based on the conviction that he felt she earned the nomination in order to encourage women in politics.
“Many in the Buhari camp did not support [Alhassan’s nomination] but [Buhari] overruled everybody because that is how he is. He tries to be inclusive, he considers every Nigerian as his own son or daughter and he nominated her to be minister. Her comments are not surprising, she has never been a supporter, she has never believed in the Buhari ideology. So, I am not surprised and as a Nigerian, as an individual, she has every right to express her views and support whoever she wants.
“But what I am saying is that Nigerians should not be surprised or shocked. This has always been her position because from time she has never supported ‘Buharism’ or what Buhari stands for. Being part of Buhari government is a different thing, because the government sets policies and if you are a minister, you execute the policies. You can execute those policies while pursuing a different brand of politics,” the governor said.
The governor noted that it is the president’s prerogative to retain Alhassan in his cabinet, saying, “You can retain a person in the cabinet even if he doesn’t support you if he adds value to the country because this is a government, it is not a political group fighting for some political progress.
Mama Taraba, as the minister is often called, had declared that she would support a former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, for the presidency in 2019 even if Buhari decides to contest again.
The Kaduna State governor also denied nursing any presidential ambition, saying: “What I want to say here very, very clearly is that I have never been a presidential aspirant. I have never even been a gubernatorial aspirant. My name has continuously been mentioned as a presidential aspirant since 2007, after my years in the FCT. There’s nothing new about that. What I want to say here very clearly is that I’ve never been a presidential aspirant, I’ve never even been a gubernatorial aspirant. I’m governor today by the grace of God because President Buhari called me and said go and run for governor of Kaduna State. As far as 2019 is concerned, my position is the president is looking very well, he is recuperating very fast. My hope and prayer is he’ll contest in 2019.”
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