Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Kaduna state governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai has said that he cares less if the national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is nursing any presidential ambition to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
In an exclusive interview with Saturday Sun, the influential governor who has also been rumoured to be nursing a presidential ambition ahead of the 2023 general elections declared pointblank that the talks about Tinubu being the target of the move by some APC governors to remove the party’s national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole is irrelevant.
When asked if Tinubu is the target of the governors plot against Oshiomhole, as being suspected, he said, “I don’t know and frankly I don’t care. Those reading everything through the lens of ambitions or 2023 are missing the point. As I have said, we built this party, we created it through a merger process that was painstaking and took a long time. I was deeply involved in it from day one and for me whatever crisis emerges between members of the party, we have a duty now as governors and leaders of the party to resolve it and we are going to resolve it. Whoever thinks it is targeted or is targeting anyone is irrelevant.”
He attributed the crisis in the ruling party to the conflict of interests by the different camps and tendencies with the APC. According to him, “You know intra-party conflicts are normal. When you engage in partisan politics you always have camps within the party and they will have conflicts. It’s normal and I don’t think there is anything strange about that. But I think why the APC will differ from other parties is how we will constructively resolve these issues.”
He raised hopes for a likely resolution of the crisis. “The governors have started meeting from yesterday (Wednesday) and we are on our way to resolving all the issues. I don’t want to reopen old wounds by trying to give reasons as to how we got to where we got to with plethora of court cases and so on. All I can say is that the governors are united to try to resolve the root causes as well as any immediate impact of the crisis. So we will solve it by the grace of God.”
Responding to a question on his relationship with the Kano state governor, Abdullahi Ganduje and his role in the feud between the governor and the deposed emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi 11, El-Rufai said his decision to openly identify and support the banished monarch is because of his principle to stand by his friends in every situation.
His words, “The governors as a group have worked very hard to try and resolve the issues between the deposed Emir of Kano and Governor Ganduje but have not been able to. It is not just the governors, they have been groups and the last group that the government had appointed to look into the matter was Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar. They tried to resolve the issue but it was not resolved.
It has nothing to do with my relationship with Governor Ganduje, he is elder brother of mine, he is a colleague, a governor and I have known him for a long time. But the issue between them is between them. The relationship between me and the deposed Emir is that we are old friends and I stand by my friends; whether they are right or wrong is not the point. I am not taking sides in the conflict but I stand by my friends and he is my friend and I will stand by him. That is it.”