Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai, on Friday while addressing journalists at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari said that efforts is ongoing to ensure that President Buhari re-contest the 2019 presidential election.
El-Rufai’s statement was in response to a statement issued by Aisha Alhassan, the Minister of Women Affairs, who reportedly told Reuters that Buhari said he was only going to run for one term.
“In 2014/2015 he said he was going to run for only one term to clean up the mess that the (previous) PDP government did in Nigeria. And I took him for his word that he is not contesting in 2019,” Alhassan was quoted as saying by Reuters.
The Minister who is part of President Buhari’s cabinet members had publicly declared her support for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who she refers to as her godfather, saying that even if Buhari decides to contest in 2019, she will still support Atiku for presidency.
El-Rufai however noted that plans are ongoing to ensure that President Buhari runs for 2019.
“We have a group. We have Buharists amongst governors, ministers. Our group wants to ensure that President Buhari runs in 2019. Our political ideology is to support whatever President Buhari wants to support. 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. And we are making every political effort and creating every structure to achieve this”
Regarding Aisha Alhassan, the governor said that it was a known fact that she was never in support of a Buhari presidency, but that she is however entitled to her own opinion.
He added that despite Mrs. Alhassan’s support for Atiku during the All Progressives Congress Presidential Primary election in 2014, Buhari still appointed her as minister “because the President felt she earned the nomination, given the need to encourage women in politics and her impressive – though failed – run in the Taraba governorship election.”
“Many in Buhari camp did not support it (Alhassan’s nomination) but he (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,” El-Rufai said.
Asked if he has any presidential ambition; El-Rufai said; “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. 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 that he will contest in 2019.”