WE’RE WORK­ING ON BUHARI’S 2019 RE­TURN – EL-RU­FAI

Weekly Trust - - Front Page - Isi­aka Wak­ili

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 said yes­ter­day.

El-Ru­fai told news­men at the State House in Abuja 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.

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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