“Our group wants to ensure that President Buhari runs in 2019. If he chooses not to run, he will tell us which direction to go. We are Buharists. We don’t have any personal ambition; we don’t have any personal aspiration and we are waiting for him to decide. And every political effort we are making, every structure we are creating is geared towards smoothening ways for him. And we know many people that have already started campaigning. They want to tag some of us as part of the problem and we are ready for them.
“But our political ideology is to support whatever President Buhari wants to support. That has not changed.”
These are the words of Governor Nasiru Ahmed el-Rufai of Kaduna State, when he spoke to news men today, Friday, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, in reaction to speculation that President Buhari is grooming him for the 2019 Presidency.
He said: “my hope and prayer is he will contest in 2019.”
He said that his name has continuously been mentioned as a Presidential aspirant since 2007 after his years in the FCT. “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.”
He made it clear that the only agenda the Buharists are doing as a group, made up of governors, ministers and others, is for Buhari to contest in 2019 for his second, tenure as he had fully recovered from his ailment.
Speaking on the restructuring of Nigerian, el-Rufai, who chair the APC committee on true federalism, announced that the committee would start public hearings round the country from September 18.
“We have published call for memoranda and we have started receiving a lot of comments and memoranda particularly from young people who have never been part of this restructuring conversation, and we will go to every part of the country.
“We will have 13 public hearings all across the country, and by the time we listen to Nigerians and synthesize their views we will write and make recommendations to our party on how to operationalise true federalism as we have promised in our constitution.
“What is important for us in the APC is to separate the signal from the noise. There is a lot of noise about the restructuring. There is a lot of opportunism and there are people that are restructuring their career; that is their meal ticket and we’ll put that as the noise.
“But the signal is what Nigerians say. What young people who we are supposed to be restructuring for say.
“One, we are encouraging young people through social media, through blogs to tell us what they think. Because this country is theirs. They are 80 percent of Nigerians below the age of 35. Whatever structure we design for Nigeria is for them. I have maybe a decade or two decades left, but these young people have years of their lives ahead.
“So, the Nigeria we are trying to create is for them, and we want to hear them. We want to hear what they think, what else do they want.
“And we are going to go round the country and we’ve set up virtually every social media platform. We have made available young people to send us what they think on twelve key issues on the front burner regarding devolution, true federalism and whatever you call it.
“And when we get that, we will compile that and publish what Nigerians have said. We will make recommendations to our party and move on from there.” [myad]