In an interview with Voice of America (VOA) Hausa Service, the governor of Kaduna, Nasir El-Rufai, resumed his attacks on former Vice president Atiku Abubakar.
Below are six takeaways from El-Rufai’s interview on “Democracy Today”:
- Atiku’s departure from the APC was an open secret widely expected within the party:
“We in the APC were aware from the outset that Atiku was going to leave the APC back to the PDP in December and we thank God that he left in November,” the governor said.
- Atiku’s only motivation was to run for the presidency, and he knew he stood no chance within the ruling party:
“Atiku had seen that we in the APC, especially the APC governors, had resolved to support President Muhammadu Buhari to run again in 2019. That is why he left APC since he was only looking for where to contest for president,” El-Rufai said.
- And it wasn’t just a matter of Buhari’s presence in the race. El-Rufai believes that Atiku still may not have gotten the ticket in the event that Buhari decides not to run:
“Even in the 2015 APC primary election, Atiku didn’t come second; he was floored by Kwankwaso. So, even if President Buhari decides not to contest, Atiku knows that the APC ticket is not sure for him. Majority of the APC governors have endorsed President Buhari as our candidate for 2019.”
- This is King Buhari’s “reign”:
“God has continued to improve the health condition of the President. Each time I see him, I thank God and I still pray that God continues to give him sound health. So, by 2019, we are waiting to see Atiku contest; we are waiting to contest against him and see what happens. I cannot lose sleep because Atiku wants to contest because, by God’s grace, this is the reign of President Muhammadu Buhari.”
- Atiku did not contribute a dime to Pres. Buhari’s winning campaign in 2015:
“Agreed, in politics if you lose even only one person, it should worry you, but the utterances of the former Vice President that APC used his money who did he give the money to? For me, I know those that supported us with their money and property that we used during election, and I never heard the name of Atiku that he brought a dime. If Atiku said he brought money, who did he give it to? Let him come and say it and how much did he give and what was it used for?
“And, in fact, if Atiku brought money, I ought to know, because I was part of the leadership of the party and during campaign, along with former Governor Rotimi Amaechi. We were at the centre of the presidential campaign. Therefore, we are supposed to know. So, let him mention who he gave the money and how much?”
- Only the greedy follow Atiku, according to El-Rufai:
“We know that we cannot rule out the possibility of some greedy people following him; those that are following material things. But, if people will consider how we can work for the progress of our country, everybody knows that you cannot compare Atiku with President Muhammadu Buhari,” El-Rufai said.