The Federal Government has reacted to Kaduna State Governor Malam Nasir El-Rufai’s saying that someone in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet is working against the victory of All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu.
Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily Programme earlier on Wednesday (today), Governor El-Rufai alleged that some elements in the Presidential Villa are against Tinubu’s 2023 presidency.
According to El-Rufai, the elements are against Tinubu because their preferred presidential aspirant was defeated in the primaries of the APC.
The APC chieftain cited the naira redesign policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as one of several schemes targeted at Tinubu, who also made a similar claim a week earlier.
“I believe there are elements in the Villa that want us to lose the election because they didn’t get their way; they had their candidate. Their candidate did not win the primaries.
They are trying to get us to lose the election, and they are hiding behind the President’s desire to do what he thinks is right. I will give two examples: this petroleum subsidy, which is costing the country trillions of Naira, was something that we all agreed would be removed.
In fact, I discussed with the President and showed him why it had to go. Because how can you have a capital budget of N200b for federal roads and then spend N2 Trillion on petroleum subsidy? I had a conversation with the President in 2021 when the subsidy started rising. He was convinced. We left. It changed. Everyone in the government agreed, and it changed,” El-Rufai said on the national television programme.
Defending his claims further, the Kaduna State Governor said: “The second example I will give is this currency redesign. You have to understand the President. People are blaming the Governor of the Central Bank for the currency redesign, but No. You have to go back and look at the first outing of Buhari as President.
He did this; the Buhari-Idiagbon regime changed our currency and did it in secrecy with a view to catching those that are stashing away illicit funds. It is a very good intention. The President has his right. But doing it at this time within the allotted time does not make any political or economic sense.”
In a swift reaction, however, the federal government said it was not officially aware of any entity in the Presidential Villa working against the victory of the ruling party’s presidential flag bearer.
Addressing State House Correspondents after this week’s Federal Executive Council meeting chaired by the President at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, said President Buhari was neither favouring nor disfavouring any presidential candidate ahead of the February 25th election.
“If there’s anybody who is working against any candidate, we don’t know officially,” the Minister said.
Mohammed argued that the Buhari-led government has been fair to all candidates regardless of party affiliations.
He said, “On a more serious note, one thing I can assure you is that, no matter who, this administration is focused and determined to ensure a free and fair election. And I think this administration, and for that matter now, the most important person in this regard is Mr. President.
I think he has shown by words and deed that he is committed to a free, fair and credible election. And fair, free and credible elections mean not favouring or disfavouring anybody.
Everywhere he goes, he makes that very clear, even as recently as Friday, when he was in Daura. He said the same thing. So if there’s anybody who’s working against any candidate, we don’t know officially.”