Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, yesterday said he was working with fellow governors and ministers to rally support for President Muhammadu Buhari if he chooses to re-contest for the presidency in 2019.
El-Rufai said the party stalwarts operating under the name “Buharists” strongly believe in his ideologies and will rest at nothing in throwing their weight behind him anytime he declares interest to serve another term.
El-Rufai, a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) spoke to State House Correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He said the group would ensure that President Buhari runs again in 2019, unless he (Buhari) says otherwise.“We are Buharists. Our political ideology is to support whatever President Buhari wants to support, and that has not changed.
“We have Buharists among the governors and ministers. Our group wants to ensure that he runs in 2019. If he chooses not to run, he will tell us which direction to go,” he added.
El-Rufai also dismissed speculations that he was a possible replacement if the president chooses not to contest in 2019.“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 clearly is that I have never even been a governorship aspirant.
“I am a governor today by the grace of God because Buhari called me and said go and run for governor of Kaduna State. As far as 2019 is concerned, my position is that the president is looking very well; he is recuperating very fast. My hope and prayer is that he should still contest in 2019.
Fielding questions on comments attributed to Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Jummai Alhassan on the 2019 elections, El-Rufai said she had never been a supporter of the president and that he was not surprised that she openly endorsed former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
He said she was not originally in Buhari’s camp during the presidential primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and has never supported the president’s ideology.
El-Rufai said President Buhari had ignored reservations expressed by party members when he selected her as a minister.The governor added that the decision as to whether the minister should still be retained in the cabinet was within the president’s purview and discretion.
“It is the president’s prerogative. You can retain a person in the cabinet even if he doesn’t support you, if he adds value to the country,” he stated.
On the calls for restructuring of the country, he disclosed that he currently heads a panel that would soon commence a public hearing as from September 18 to synthetize the views of Nigerians and make recommendations to the ruling APC on true federalism as entrenched in the country’s constitution.