Posted by Isiaka Wakili | 9 September 2017 | 2,047 times
Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai has revealed that a group comprising governors and ministers has been constituted to ensure President Muhammadu Buhari seeks a re-election in 2019.
The Governor revealed this in an interview with State House reporters on Friday before joining President Buhari for juma’at prayer at the Presidential Villa mosque.
He said none of the group’s members, including himself, has any personal ambition except the political ideology of supporting President Buhari’s cause.
El-Rufai, however, stressed that if Buhari chose not to contest in 2019, he (the President) would show the group the direction to go.
“My name has continuously been mentioned as a presidential aspirant since 2007 after my years in the FCT (Federal Capital Territory). 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.”
On the support declared by the Minister of Women, Aisha Alhassan for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar against Buhari on the 2019 presidency, el-Rufai said the President was warned against appointing her.
According to the Governor, Alhassan has never supported the President nor believed in whatever he stands for.
“The Minister of Women Affairs Jummai Alhassan has been in the students union. In the APC, she was never in the Buhari camp. She did not support our candidates during the National Convention. She didn’t vote for Buhari during the primary. But out of the largeness of the President’s heart and to encourage women ...he still believed that to encourage women in politics. What she has tried to do in Taraba earned her being nominated as a Minister.
“Many in Buhari camp did not support it, but he overrode everybody . . . He tries to consider every Nigerian his own son or daughter and he nominated her. Her comments are not surprising. She has never been a supporter, she has never believed in Buhari ideology. So, I'm not surprised . . . as a Nigerian, as an individual, she has every right to express her views and support whoever she wants. What I'm saying is 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 government sets policies and if you're a Minister, you execute the policies. You can execute those policies while pursuing a different brand of politics,” el-Rufai said.
The Governor noted that it was 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.
“If Jummai Alhassan is coming as Minister of Women Affairs and adding value to the government and the people of Nigeria, it’s the president’s prerogative to retain her in spite of her political views. But if she is not adding value in spite of her political views, she can be dispensed with. People shouldn’t get worried about it. I’ve worked closely with the President, I know him and I know how he thinks. He doesn’t take these things personally. What is primary to him is Nigeria’s progress. That is what matters ultimately.”
El-Rufai said an All Progressives Congress committee on true federalism he chairs would embark on nationwide public hearings from September 18.
“We’ll have 13 public hearings all across the country, and by the time we listen to Nigerians and synthesise their views we will . . . write and make recommendations to our party how to operationise true federalism as we have promised in our Constitution. What is important for us in the APC is to separate the signal from the noise. There is a lot of noise about . . . there is a lot of opportunism, there are people that are restructuring their career, that is their meal ticket and we’ll put that as the noise.
“But the signal is what Nigerians say. What young people whose country we are supposed to be restructuring for. One, we are encouraging young people through social media, through blogs to tell us what they think. Because this country is theirs. Eighty percent of Nigerians are below the age of 35, and whatever structure we design for Nigeria is for them. I have maybe a decade or two decades left, but these young people have years of their life ahead. So, the Nigeria we are trying to create is for them, and we want to hear them, we want to hear what they think, what else do they want? We are going to go round the country and we've set up virtually every social media platform.
“We have made available young people to send us what they think on 12 key issues on the front burner regarding devolution, true federalism and whatever you call it. And when we get that, we will compile that and publish what Nigerians have said, we’ll make recommendations to our party and move public hearings round the country from September 18. We have published call for memoranda and we have started receiving a lot of comments and memoranda particularly from young people who have never been part of this restructuring conversation, and we will go to every part of the country,” he said.
•Text courtesy of Daily Trust.
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