Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai has expressed hope that President Muhammadu Buhari will run for re-election in 2019.
Speaking with State House Correspondents after visiting the president El-Rufai said: “My hope and prayer is he will contest in 2019.”
According to him, “Everything that our group is doing, and we have a group. We have a Buharist amongst governors, 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 Buharist, we don’t have any personal ambition, we don’t have any personal aspiration and we are waiting for him to decide. And every political effort we are making, every structure we are creating….. And we know many people that have already started campaigning, they want to tag some of us as part of the probem 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 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 that are known for from time.
He urged Nigerians to ignore claims that he is in the 2019 presidential race.” Look, 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 here very, very clearly is that I have never been a Presidential aspirant, I have never even been a governatorial 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 the President is looking very well, he is recuperating very fast.”
Explaining why he was in the Villa, El Rufai said, “I just came to see the President and wish him very happy Sallah arrears, I wasn’t able to go to Daura. Hours of works and interactions, today being Friday I happened to be in town and thought I should come see him, pray with him and wish him well.
Aisha didn’t vote for Buhari during the Primaries
Speaking on the outbursts by Aisha Jumai Alhassa,El-Rufai said “The Minister of Women Affairs Jummai Alhassan has been in the Students Union. In the APC she was never been 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 in politics, he felt that even though she was never a supporter of his politics nor his believes or ideologies, and what she has tried to do in Taraba, he felt she earned being nominated as a minister. Many in Buhari camp did not support it but he overruled everybody because that is how he is, he tries to be inclusive, he considers every Nigerian 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 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 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 are a minister you execute the policies. You can execute those policies while pursuing a different brand of politics. And it is okay there is no problem with that.
He also said it is the President’s prerogative whether to retain her or not. “Look, 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 grouping that we are fighting for some political progress. If Jummai Alhassan is performing as Minister of Women Afairs and adding value to the government and the people of Nigeria, 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, that is the president’s decision. I don’t think people should get worried about it. I have worked closely with the President, I know him and I know how he thinks. He doesn’t take this things personally or to heart. What is primary to him is Nigeria’s progress and how well the government is doing and what everyone is contributing, that is what matters ultimately.”
The governor also addressed the issue of Restructuring, “Well, I am chairing the APC committee on true federalism, we met yesterday. 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 compile and make recommendations to our party on how to operationalised 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 restructuring, 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 who’s country we are supposed to be restructuring for want. And we are encouraging young people through social media, through twitter, blogs and so on to tell us what they think because this country is theirs. 80 percent of Nigerians which 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 lives 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 kind of Nigeria they want.
“And we are going to go round the country and we will set up platforms on social media, virtually every social media platform we have made available young people to send to us what they think on 12 key issues on the front burner regarding devolution, true federalism, restructuring 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 on from there.”