El-Rufai: I no longer believe in leadership quality around Buhari

Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, yesterday, caused a stir in the polity, ahead of next week’s presidential poll, saying he no longer believed in the quality of leadership around President Muhammadu Buhari, claiming that a Presidency cabal was working towards an Interim National Government, ING.

But both the Presidency and All Progressives Congress, APC, kept mum, as efforts to get their reaction last night proved abortive.

El-Rufai, in an interview with Premium Times, said the leaders around President Buhari resorted to ING after failing to get either Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, and Senate President Ahmad Lawan to succeed Buhari.

His comments elicited knocks from the Middle Belt Forum, MBF; the African Democratic Congress, ADC, Presidential Candidate, Mr Dumebi Kachikwu; and a top leader of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

However, efforts to get the APC and the party’s presidential campaign council to speak on the issue proved abortive as the leaders declined comments.

Leadership quality around Buhari

El-Rufai, who has been outspoken, especially regarding the naira redesign policy of the CBN, claiming that some “Villa elements” were working against the APC Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, told Premium Times, that he no longer believed in the quality of leadership around President Buhari.

Premium Times shared a snippet of the interview on its Twitter handle on Sunday. “I believe in Buhari, I still do and I will never stop, but I no longer believe in the circle around him and the quality of decisions and actions coming out of that leadership,” El-Rufai said.

Buhari cabal eyeing interim govt

According to the Kaduna State governor, some non-state actors have their eyes on an interim government as an outcome of the ongoing presidential election process.

Speaking on the people and forces he characterised as elements whose patterns and conduct are consistent with plans to subvert or topple a civilian-to-civilian transition after the next presidential election, he said: “It turned out that some of the wildest stories of conspiracy to derail the transition at best for APC to lose, preferably for the whole system to result in no election, leading to an interim arrangement began to rear their heads.”

He refused to name these “elements” because they are not worth the conventional Nigerian appellation of a political cabal.

The notion of a powerful cabal, according to him, admits a level of sophistication and discipline, which the group around President Buhari lacks.

“I have no problem naming them. I’m not afraid of anybody. But for me, naming them is giving them traction. They are nothing. They are not capable of winning elections. They have no idea of electoral or political legitimacy. They can only hide behind the likes of President Buhari to achieve their objectives,” he said.

On contentious issues around President Buhari and Tinubu, and the perceived mixed signals from the president’s lukewarm attitude to Tinubu’s campaigns, he insisted there are no mixed signals.

“President Buhari considers the APC like a child he conceived and held in pregnancy for 18 months and gave birth to. He will never, I am ready to stake my neck and my life, President Buhari will never work against the APC. He will never work against the candidate of the APC even if the candidate is the devil himself,” El-Rufai said.

The governor insisted that the president is “a party man and an establishment person whose support for Asiwaju Tinubu is sure.”

Painting a picture and illustrating the operational mode of some disgruntled power-hungry cliques within the party that he admitted is hurting the APC, he said: “What is happening is that there are people around the president that had their presidential candidates. They had two candidates that they preferred to succeed Buhari – Godwin Emefiele from the South and Ahmad Lawan from the North – and they got neither.”

Some farmers reportedly purchased the APC presidential nomination form for Emefiele but the central banker did not contest the primaries.

On his part, Senate President Lawan contested and came fourth behind Tinubu, former Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, told a meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee, a few hours before the primaries that Lawan was the consensus candidate with Buhari’s backing. The Presidency denied the move and said it was not backing any candidate.

They’re smelling defeat, resorting to ING – PDP leader

Attempts to get official comments from the main opposition Peoples’s Democratic Party, PDP, to el-Rufai’s claims were futile.

None of the PDP officials approached was willing to speak on the record, dismissing the whole saga as an internal affair of the APC.

However, a PDP leader, who spoke toVanguard off the record so as not to appear to be “taking sides in “APC’s civil war” said: “For all intents and purposes, Governor Nasir El-Rufai is trying to be clever by half. Himself and Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu are not only aware but are neck deep in the plot.

“They are smelling defeat so they are working on the interim government thing as a fallback plan since the plan has been exposed. El-Rufai is trying to play the whistleblower to insulate himself and Tinubu, his paymaster from the fallout of their evil plan.”

El-Rufai denying Buhari to run away from APC’s monumental failure — MBF

The Middle Belt Forum, MBF, said Governor El-Rufai is desperate to run away from the monumental failures of the APC, which he is part of, by trying to distance himself from President Buhari’s policies.

National President of the MBF, Dr Bitrus Pogu, said: “Governor El-Rufai has always been mischievous and selfish. Under former President Obasanjo, he was accusing everybody outside that government. When he joined ranks with the people who eventually formed the APC he started saying all sorts of things against the PDP, where he belonged at the time.

“Today he is in the APC where he is one of their notable leaders and the APC has failed woefully, he is desperately trying to distance himself by saying Buhari is this and that. “He forgets that he has also performed badly in Kaduna State. People have lost their lives and lands taken over and all of that. Remember, just before now, this same El-Rufai said the governors are the leaders in the North. He is not a person you can rely on. So you can forget about his statement and let posterity judge him.”

APC govt unravelling, imploding – Kachikwu

Also speaking, the presidential candidate of the ADC, Mr Dumebi Kachikwu, said: “The APC government is unravelling and imploding and I expect that Nigerians are in for a drama series.

“Unfortunately for Nigerians, while desperate APC politicians fight over the soul of Nigeria, the country continues to fall and fail. Thousands are left stranded at ATMs across the country, bank networks are collapsing under the weight of increased electronic transactions, motorists are paying astronomical prices for fuel in different parts of the country and in injury time El Rufai finally confesses that an inept, clueless and anti-democratic cabal controls the affairs of our country. Any attempt to foist an interim National Government on Nigerians will lead to cataclysmic consequences for Nigeria. A word is enough for the wise.”


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