7 September 2017
By Justice Nwafor
Nigeria’s ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, has said that appropriate sanctions will be slammed on the Minister for Women Affairs, Hajia Aisha Jummai Alhassan for openly declaring support for former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, ahead of the 2019 general elections. Her move is believed to be against the interest of the party.
The party’s position was made known by the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi.
He said that though the party had been following the development in the media, the national leadership of the party would meet, deliberate over it and take the necessary disciplinary action if need be.
“All I can tell you is that we are following the development. The national leadership has not met to take a decision on the issue. We will meet when we get the detailed report to take the necessary disciplinary measure if need be,” Abdullahi said.
The Minister who is popularly known as Mama Taraba had declared her support for Atiku who she described as her godfather in an interview with BBC Hausa service on Wednesday.
The feeling in some quarters is that Alhassan’s open declaration of support for another person other than the President, Muhammadu Buhari, implies that the incumbent President may not contest come 2019.
An agency report had Wednesday quoted her as saying that, “In 2014/2015 he (Buhari) said he was going to run for only one time to clean up the mess that the (previous) PDP government did in Nigeria. And I took him for his word that he is not contesting in 2019.”
In the BBC interview, Mama Taraba declared that, “Atiku is my godfather even before I joined politics, and again Baba Buhari did not tell us that he is going to run in 2019.
“And 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, ‘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.’ (That is) if Atiku said he is going to contest; as we are talking now, Atiku has not said he is going to contest.
“Why I said our president in 2019 is because we all hope he (Atiku) is going to contest, but he never told us that he is going to contest.
“But if he said he is going to contest, I will surely do what I told you I will do, because if Atiku said he is going to contest and I remain in the cabinet of Baba while Baba (Atiku) also wants to contest, then I have become a hypocrite, and I am not one. If I said I am not with Atiku, Buhari himself will not trust me at all because he will say I am a hypocrite.”
The interview is believed not to be totally unconnected to a leaked video, recently, which showed Alhassan indicating her interest to support Atiku come 2019.