The governor of Kaduna, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai on Friday said it was good that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar left the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) early.
He said the party was already aware that Atiku would leave.
“I have heard about what the former Vice President said about leaving the APC. We knew he was going to leave in December but he has left in November which is good because the earlier he leaves for where he belongs, the better. He has changed political parties a few times, there is nothing surprising. Before the 2019 elections if situation changes and he thinks he can get the ticket in 2019 he will come back. That is what he has done a few times, ” he said.
He added that if he were given the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party, he would not be a threat to President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 presidential election.
“He has never been and will never be a threat to President Buhari. Let me say this very clearly, and I have said this to the former Vice President in 2014 Dubai when we met. Because before joining the APC, he sent for me. He told me of his intentions and I welcomed it because politics is a game of addition, not subtraction. So the more you have the merrier.
“However, I told him not to run for the presidency because I believe very strongly this is Buhari’s era. As long as President Muhammadu Buhari is in politics I do not see any Nigerian from the northern part of the country that will be able to match him in popularity. The people of the 19 northern states and Nigeria have decided because of the president’s past history of Integrity and good governance they are committed to him. Anyone standing up to challenge him is wasting his time. God has decreed that this is Buhari’s time and we are waiting for the PDP to give Atiku Abubakar the ticket and we will face him on the field. But I have no doubt that I will not lose any sleep about it,” he said.
El-Rufai said these in an interview with State House correspondents after joining Buhari in observing Jumu’ah at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He described Atiku as a serial defector and presidential aspirant, saying no APC governor will leave the party with him.
“I don’t know about the loyalists in the APC that will go with him but I want to assure you that there is no one governor in the APC that is going to go with former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. The only governor that he would think will go with him, the governor of Adamawa State has already endorsed President Buhari for the 2019 elections. And there are many governors I will not mention the number but a majority of the APC governors have already taken the position that the president should run for a second term in office.”