APC members with presidential ambition turning Buhari against me – El-Rufai

Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai has said some APC members with 2019 presidential ambition twisted the content of his memo to President Muhammadu Buhari for their selfish interest.

El-Rufai said this in an interview with Daily Trust at the weekend.

He said some people within the party believe Buhari will not contest in 2019 and are doing everything possible to replace him.

El-Rufai said these set of persons are after him because they know he is a ‘Buharist’.

He said, “This is a memo from an APC governor to an APC president, but who is shouting more than everyone? It is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) people that are trying to describe who I am to an APC president. Many of these things going on are being driven by the PDP, who think that they have got something to mind. Secondly, within our party, there are people that have started running for the presidency. There are people that think Buhari is finished and will not run for a second time, blah blah blah. They are running for 2019, so they will do everything to twist what is in that memo.

“I believe I am a target because there is a pattern and I can give you few examples in the last two weeks. I am a target because I made everyone that has the ambition to run for the president of Nigeria know that I am a Buharist. As long as Buhari is around, there is no point even talking to me. So I am a target. And those that have these ambitions know that when 2019 comes, by the grace of God and President Buhari says he wants to run, I will be at the frontline fighting for him.

“If by 2019 President Buhari says, ‘I am not running, this is the person I am supporting,’ they know I can die to make sure that person becomes the president. They know that I will follow Buhari.”

He also debunked reports that he refused to receive the President when he returned from London.

The governor said he was in Netherlands at the time and the president approved that his deputy welcome him.

He said, “There were stories that I refused to receive the president. I have enrolled in a part-time PhD programme at the University-Merit in the Netherlands. It was the vice president that wrote the recommendation for me to get admitted into the programme, so I am not doing it without the knowledge of the authorities.

“It is a programme that requires me to go to the Netherlands for two weeks and most of it is research-based. I do the research in my spare time. That was where I was when I got a call from the president that he would be returning to Nigeria on Friday.

“I was in the Netherlands, but I did everything, including getting a friend of mine with a private jet to send me a plane so I could come back and receive the president, but it was simply impossible because even if he sent the jet, the pilot must rest for some hours. In this state, we already have a system in which whenever I am not around, the deputy governor becomes acting governor.

“This has happened at least 15 times. I write to the state Assembly just like the president wrote when he was going. So, I got the consent of the president to have the deputy governor receive him while I continued with my programme. That was what happened.”

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