I Have No Plans To Replace PMB In 2019 – el-Rufai

Kaduna State governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai has denied nursing
ambition of replacing President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, saying that
he had never been a presidential aspirant despite the fact that his
name had been bandied around in the press.

According to him, governors and ministers, whom he described as
Buharists, would wait for President Muhammadu Buhari to show them the
direction to go if he would not contest the 2019 presidential
election.

Speaking to State House Correspondents yesterday ,the governor said
that they were all fervently raying that Buhari should seek
re-election come the next general elections.

“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. My hope and prayer is he will contest in
2019.

“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 Buharists, 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 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 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 from time,” he said.

On comments attributed to the minister of Women Affairs and Social
Development, Aisha Alhassan, to the effect that she would not support
President Buhari if he chooses to contest for a second term, el Rufai
noted that the woman was just being herself as she had never been a
supporter of Buhari at anytime.

He said: “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 candidate 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 beliefs
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.”

On whether he thought Buhari should retain Alhassan, el Rufai stated:
“It is the President’s prerogative. 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, it’s 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.”

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