The Federal Government has dismissed claims by the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, that some elements in the Presidential Villa are working against the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, said the government was not “officially aware” of any entity in the Presidential Villa working against the victory of the APC standard bearer.
But the APC Presidential Campaign Council differed, saying it was not surprised by the governor’s revelation that some elements in the seat of power were against Tinubu’s candidacy, adding that El-Rufai was merely stating the obvious.
The governor dropped the bombshell when he appeared as a guest on the Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, on Wednesday.
It came a week after Tinubu cited the naira redesign policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the lingering fuel crisis as part of plots to thwart the poll and his expected victory.
El-Rufai claimed the forces working against the Bola Tinubu/Kashim Shettima joint ticket were people whose preferred candidate lost the APC presidential ticket to the former Lagos State governor last year.
He said, “I believe there are elements in the Villa that want us to lose the election because they didn’t get their way; they had their candidate. Their candidate did not win the primaries. They are trying to get us to lose the election and they are hiding behind the President’s desire to do what he thinks is right.
“They are trying to get us to lose the election, and they are hiding behind the President’s desire to do what he thinks is right. I will give two examples: this petroleum subsidy, which is costing the country trillions of Naira, was something that we all agreed would be removed.
“You have to understand the President. People are blaming the Governor of the Central Bank for the currency redesign, but No. You have to go back and look at the first outing of Buhari as President.
“He did this; the Buhari, Idiagbon regime changed our currency and did it in secrecy to catch those that are stashing away illicit funds. It is a very good intention. The President has his right. But doing it at this time within the allotted time does not make any political or economic sense.”
But addressing the allegation in a chat with State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting, the information minister argued that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), was not favouring or disfavouring any presidential candidate ahead of the February 25 election.
“If there’s anybody who is working against any candidate, we don’t know officially,” he stated.
But addressing journalists in Abuja, the PCC Special Adviser on Media, Communications and Public Affairs, Dele Alake disclosed that El-Rufai did not say anything new.
He said, “There’s nothing spectacular about what El Rufai has said. And it’s even self-explanatory. He did say that some people, but he never said the President. In any organisation including your own individual media houses, you have editorial policies, and there are elements within your organisation that won’t agree with those policies. Yet, they still work there.
“It is therefore not a spectacular thing. It is merely a natural phenomenon. In all organisations and institutions, you cannot have 100 per cent of the operatives see issues the same way.
“For Nasir El Rufai, Governor of Kaduna state, to state the obvious is nothing for us to clear again. We know that mischief makers, especially from the opposition, will latch on to it and twist it out of context. That has always been the way of the opposition that we are contending with in Nigeria today.’’