The Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, has said he was not surprised about the comments of the Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Aisha Alhassan, that she would not vote for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, if he decides to seek re-election.
El-Rufai made his position known on Friday during an interaction with newsmen at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Alhassan, popularly known as Mama Taraba, had said she would vote for former Vice President and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, if he decides to seek the presidency in 2019.
El-Rufai, who said he was at the Presidential Villa to wish Buhari happy Sallah in arrears, said: “The Minister of Women Affairs Jummai Alhassan has been in the Students Union.
“In the APC, she was never in the Buhari camp.
“She did not support our candidates during the National Convention.
“She didn’t vote for Buhari during the primaries.
“But out of largeness of the President’s heart and to encourage women….
“Even though she was never a supporter of his politics or what he believes in, his ideology, he still believed that to encourage women in politics, what she has tried to do in Taraba earned her being nominated as a Minister.
“Many in Buhari’s camp did not support it, but he overrode everybody.
“He tries to consider every Nigerian his own son or daughter and he nominated here.
“Her comments are not surprising.
“She has never been a supporter.
“She has never believed in Buhari;s ideology.
“So, I am not surprised.
“As a Nigerian, as an individual, she has every right to express her views and support whoever she wants.
“What I am saying is Nigerians should not be surprised or shocked.
“This has always been her position because from time she has never supported Buharism or what Buhari stands for.
“Being part of Buhari’s government is a different thing because government sets policies and if you are a minister, you execute the policies.
“You can execute those policies while pursuing a different brand of politics.”
On whether Alhassan should be retained as Minister, El-Rufai said: “It is the President’s prerogative.
“Look, you can retain a person in the cabinet even if he doesn’t support you if he adds value to the country.
“Because this is a government, it is not a political group fighting for some political progress.
“If Jummai Alhassan is coming as Minister of Women Afairs and adding value to the government and the people of Nigeria, it is the President’s prerogative to retain her in spite of her political views.
“But if she is not adding value in spite of her political views, she can be dispensed with.
“People shouldn’t get worried about it.
“I have worked closely with the President, I know him and I know how he thinks.
“He doesn’t take this things personally.
“What is primary to him is Nigeria’s progress.
“That is what matters ultimately.”