Nigeria’s former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has said the comments by Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Jumai Alhassan (a.k.a. Mama Taraba), concerning President Muhammadu Buhari, “couldn’t have been said any better”. Atiku declared that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is a coalition and that appointees have the right to keep their allegiance with whosoever they please.
In a radio ‘BBC Hausa Service’ interview, Alhassan declared her support for Atiku to emerge as Nigeria’s next president.
On BBC radio, Alhassan had said:
“And again, Baba Buhari did not tell us that he is going to run in 2019. Let me tell you today that if Baba said he is going to contest in 2019, I swear to Allah, I will go before him and kneel and tell him that ‘Baba I am grateful for the opportunity you gave me to serve your government as a minister. But Baba just like you know I will support only Atiku because he is my godfather. If Atiku said he is going to contest.”
Subsequently, Atiku reportedly disclosed that other Ministers in Buhari’s cabinet have different views and opinions as regards the 2019 presidential election.
Atiku’s media adviser, Paul Ibe, on Saturday insisted that what Mama Taraba said is, “the truth”. In a chat in Abuja, Ibe said:
“There’s really nothing to say. It’s like stating the obvious. The Minister couldn’t have said it any better, likewise we can’t help say it any better. In fact, she spoke the minds of many Nigerians and don’t forget that everyone has a right of association. Even then president is aware of the Minister’s support for former VP Atiku; they (APC) know. So it should not surprise anybody because it is not a secret that the Minister has been behind us. Let me tell you, in the federal cabinet, other ministers have their views; they have people they support. People forget APC is coalition and when people from different background unite, you cannot expect stakeholders to forget their root. What the Minister did was an act of courage and we thank and commend her. We advise those who share similar opinion to also speak out.”