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The battle for the presidency in 2019, has already begun to look ugly.
During the Eid-el-Kabir celebration, MInister of Women Affairs Aisha Alhassan called former vice president Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria’s next president, the reactions that have trailed this has been quite varying with the minister insisting she would not vote Buhari in 2019.
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai on Friday said Alhassan “The minister of women affairs, Jummai Alhassan, 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”.
“Out of the largeness of the president’s heart and to encourage women, he picked her as a minister.
“What she has tried to do in Taraba (Alhassan contested the 2015 governorship election on the platform of APC) earned her being nominated as a minister. Many in Buhari camp did not support it but he overrode us.
“Her comments are not surprising. She has never been a supporter of the president. She has never believed in Buhari’s ideology. So, I am not surprised.”
Although El-Rufai admitted that Alhassan is free to support whomever she wants, he did mention her sack in the same statement.
“As a Nigerian, she has every right to express her views and support whoever she wants,” he said.
“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 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.”
This development is yet to play out fully. Atiku is already being touted as the flag-bearer for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, where he left to contest the All Progressives Congress, APC’s ticket with Buhari.
Should Atiku dump the APC, his clout and finances will be sorely missed by the ruing party.