Buhari might not sack Aisha Alhassan – El Rufai ~ BETA NAIJA BLOG: Breaking News, Latest News, Entertainment, Sport, Politics, Comedy and World News

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Buhari might not sack Aisha Alhassan – El Rufai


Buhari might not sack Aisha Alhassan - El Rufai
State governors and ministers who see themselves as “Buharists” want President Muhammadu Buhari to contest the 2019 presidential election election, says Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai.
el-Rufai, who met with Buhari and later observed Juma’at prayers with him at the Presidential Villa on Friday, however, declared that if the President declined to contest, he would still show his supporters the direction to follow.
His comments came against the background of contrary line toed by Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajia Aisha Alhassan, who said she would jot support Buhari’s re-election because he had intended to run for only one term.
The governor, who spoke to State Hose correspondents, said he was not surprised by Alhassan’s actions because, according to him, she had never really been loyal to the President.
Also of the same All Progressive Congress (APC) as the president, el-Rufai debunked insinuations that he was positioning himself to be heir apparent to Buhari, stressing that he has never aspired to be Nigeria’s president.
His words: “My name has continuously been mentioned as a presidential aspirant s‎ince 2007 after my years in the FCT; there is nothing new about that.
“What I want to say very clearly is that I have never been a presidential aspirant, I have never even been a gubernatorial aspirant. I am 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 that the President is looking very well, he is recuperating very fast. My hope and prayer is he will contest in 2019.
“We have a group (Buharists) amongst governors and ministers. Our group wants to ensure that President Buhari runs in 2019. If he chooses not to run he will tell us which direction to go.
“We are Buharists, we don’t have any personal ambition, we don’t have any personal aspiration and we are waiting for him to decide.
“Every political effort we are making, every structure we are creating… we know many people that have already started campaigning, they want to tag some of us as part of the problem and we are ready for them.
“But our political ideology is to support whatever President Buhari wants to support, that has not changed.
“And I want to assure you that whatever names you hear, Nasir el-Rufai is not an aspirant for the presidency neither any of the governors that are known to be Buharists, as well as some of the ministers.”
Regarding the contrary stance taken by Alhassan, who is rooting for former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar in 2019, el-Rufai said Buhari only put her in the cabinet to encourage women, not because of her loyalty.
According to him: “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 primaries.
“But out of largeness of the President’s heart and to encourage women, although she was never a supporter of his politics or his ideology; he still believed it was to encourage women in politics.
“And what she has tried to do in Taraba (as APC governorship candidate) earned her being nominated as a Minister. Many in Buhari camp did not support it but he overode 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 am not surprised.  As a Nigerian, as an individual she has every right to express her views and support whoever she wants.”
On whether she should be retained in the cabinet, el-Rufai explained that “being part of Buhari government is a different thing because 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.
“It is the President’s prerogative. 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 Afairs and adding value to the government and the people of Nigeria, it is 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 have 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.”
The governor, who chairs the APC ‎committee on true federalism/ restructuring, said the panel intends to hold public hearings across the country and listen more to the youth who hold the future, in order to sift the substance from the noise being made by those with personal pecuniary political and financial interests.
“We are going to start 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.
“We’ll have 13 public hearings all across the country, and by the time we listen to Nigerians and synthesize their views we will 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”, he stated.
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