Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State has broken the silence that President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Aisha Alhassan as a minister against the wishes of the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
El-Rufai’s statement comes after Alhassan publicly pledged her loyalty to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar against her principal Buhari.
In a separate interview with the BBC Hausa service, the minister had said she would support Mr. Abubakar even if President Buhari chooses to contest.
However, the governor further lampooned the Minister of Women Affairs for being disloyal to the President, adding that she was never a Buhari supporter but a loyalist of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.
Speaking with State House Correspondents at the Villa on Friday, El-Rufai said Alhassan did not also vote for Buhari during the APC presidential primary.
He said that Alhassan neither supported Buhari’s candidature during the APC National Convention nor voted for (Buhari) him during the party primaries.
“This has always been her position because from time she has never supported Buharism or what Buhari stands for.
“Being part of Buhari 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,’’ the governor said.
El-Rufai, who said he was at the Presidential Villa to wish the President “very happy Sallah’’ and also join him in performing the Juma’at prayer, said it was the President’s prerogative to either retain or remove the minister from the cabinet.
He said: “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 Affairs 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 these things personally…. What is primary to him is Nigeria’s progress… that is what matters ultimately.”