The Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, said on Friday that he is not surprised by the public endorsement of Atiku Abubakar by the Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan. He said that the minister did not vote for Buhari in the APC presidential primary and never shared in the president’s beliefs or ideology.
“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,” he told journalists after a meeting at the State House.
The governor said that those in the camp of the president were originally opposed to offering her a position in the cabinet but the president overruled them.
“Many in Buhari camp did not support her appointment as minister but he overruled everybody because that is how he is. He tried to be inclusive. He considered 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,” she said.
“The Minister of Women Affairs, Jummai Alhassan, had been in the student union. In the APC, she has never been 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 the 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, but because of what she had tried to do in Taraba, he felt she had earned being nominated as a minister.”
He however said that Alhassan has a right to support whoever she wishes.
“Being part of Buhari’s 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,” El-Rufai said.
He said the president has the exclusive preserve to retain whoever he wants in the cabinet, pointing out that the administration is not a political cleavage and hence, the minister may retain her position despite her political views.