Kaduna State governor, Nasiru El-Rufai, has said that governors and ministers under the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) are rooting for President Muhammadu Buhari to contest the 2019 presidential election.
El-Rufai, who made this known to State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with the President in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday, said the governors and the ministers had resolved to draft the President into the race as members of the “Buharist Group”.
The “Buharist Group” is an association of APC governors and ministers, whose primary aim is to promote and defend the perceived socio-political interests of President Buhari.
The governor dismissed the assertion that he was being groomed to replace President Buhari in 2019.
According to him, as a member of the “Buharist group’’ he had no presidential ambition as being speculated since he left the public service as minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in 2007.
“My name has continuously been mentioned as a presidential aspirant since 2007 after my years in the FCT, there is nothing new about that. What I want to say here very, very clearly is that I have never been a presidential aspirant, I have never even been a gubernatorial aspirant. I am governor today by the grace of God, because President Buhari called me and said go and run for governor of Kaduna State.
“As far as 2019 is concerned, my position is the President (Muhammadu Buhari) is looking very well, he is recuperating very fast. My hope and prayer is he will contest in 2019,’’ the el-Rufai said.
The governor said he was in the Presidential Villa to wish the president “very happy Sallah’’ and also join him in performing the Juma’at prayer.
On the debate on restructuring the country, El-Rufai, who is chairing the APC committee on true federalism, said his committee would start public hearing on the matter from September 18.
He said the committee had started receiving a lot of comments and memoranda particularly from young people who had never been part of the restructuring conversation. According to him, the committee will have 13 sessions of public hearing across the country.
“By the time we listen to Nigerians and synthesize their views, we will write and make recommendations to our party how to operationalise true federalism as we have promised in our manifesto,’’ he said.