Governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai, has responded to this week’s defection of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). He said no one will lose sleep over Atiku’s defection.
In Atiku’s statement of resignation, he made reference to a letter which El-Rufai wrote to President Buhari last year which got leaked early this year.
According to Atiku: “Only last year, a governor produced by the party wrote a secret memorandum to the president which ended up being leaked. In that memo, he admitted that the All Progressives Congress had ‘not only failed to manage expectations of a populace that expected overnight ‘change’ but has failed to deliver even mundane matters of governance’.
“Of the party itself, that same governor said ‘Mr. President, Sir Your relationship with the national leadership of the party, both the formal (NWC) and informal (Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso), and former Governors of ANPP, PDP (that joined us) and ACN, is perceived by most observers to be at best frosty. Many of them are aggrieved due to what they consider total absence of consultations with them on your part and those you have assigned such duties.”’
Atiku’s reference to that letter was very deliberate. It not only showed that a governor seemingly loyal to the president believes that the federal government has not delivered, it also made the case that he has been alienated by the APC government, using El-Rufai’s own words.
Here’s how El-Rufai responded yesterday after Friday’s prayers at the State House mosque:
“Atiku has in his statement of leaving the party made reference to the memo I wrote to Mr. President in September 2016, where I was calling on the President to reach out to party leaders that feel aggrieved and I mentioned him, the Asiwaju and many others,” he said.
“The others are still in the APC because they believe in the direction of the party, they believe we have come to save the country from a very bad situation. But the former Vice President is always looking for an opportunity to contest. He is a serial contestant and we wish him luck.”
The Kaduna governor, of course, did not clarify if Buhari has acted upon his advise in reaching out to those aggrieved leaders, choosing instead to deflect to the fact that Atiku is a serial contestant.