- The National Working Committee of APC will on Monday September 11 meet in Abuja to deliberate on Atiku and Alhassan
- Aisha Alhassan who is the minister of women affairs and social development had said that he would support Atiku in 2019 even if Buhari decides to seeks re-election
- The former vice-president Atiku Abubakar had also alleged that APC sidelined him after he helped the party to win 2015 presidential election
There are strong indications that the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress will meet on Monday September 11 to discuss statements credited to the minister of women affairs and social development, Senator Aisha Alhassan, as regards the 2019 presidential election.
Saturday Punch reports gathered on Friday September 8 that besides discussing the minister’s declaration of support for former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar’s presidential ambition, the NWC would also deliberate on a statement credited to the ex-vice-president.
Legit.ng gathered that Alhassan had, in an interview with the BBC Hausa Service on Wednesday, said she was ready to support the former vice-president against President Muhammadu Buhari if they both choose to run for the 2019 presidential election.
She also said she respected Buhari, but Atiku remained her godfather.
Alhassan, in the interview, also confirmed her statements in a leaked video, where she endorsed the former vice-president in a private meeting with him.
The former vice-president, had on the Hausa Service of Voice of America, said that the APC sidelined him after helping it to win the 2015 elections.
It was learnt that the National Working Committee would deliberate on these issues in Abuja on Monday September 11 with a view to resolving them.
This development was confirmed by the APC National Vice Chairman, North-East, Mustapha Salihu, in a telephone interview with Saturday Punch in Abuja on Friday.
He explained that the issue at stake was a national one, which the party’s NWC would look into.
Salihu, however, said to the best of his knowledge, there was currently no petition against the minister before the party.
He stated: “This is a national issue. I think by Monday, we will sit and we will address the matter, but I can assure you that there is no cause for alarm. Our party is intact and on ground.”
The All Progressives Congress has warned former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, the minister of women affairs and social development, Senator Aisha Alhassan, and other party faithful against making unguarded statements capable of destabilising the APC-led administration.
The APC National Vice Chairman (North West), Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir, gave the warning while speaking to newsmen in Abuja, on Friday.
He said while the party respects the rights of members to hold and express their opinions, doing so should not infringe on the party’s cohesion.
Abdulkadir explained that by virtue of Atiku’s status and age, he had attained the position of a statesman, thus, nothing short of decorum is expected from him when he speaks or acts, especially in public.
The party chieftain explained that on its face value, the recent conduct and utterances of Atiku and Alhassan gave an erroneous impression that all was not well within the party and in the President’s cabinet.
He said a majority of the people look up to their leaders to provide leadership in several ways than one in order to make informed decisions.
He said, “Of recent, Atiku has made some statements which seem to create an impression of failure of the party and the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government.
“At that level, good party members, especially of his (Atiku) status should not be seen to be making public statements, even if those criticisms were factual – whereas in this case, some of these statements were misleading and incorrect.
“These statements give an impression that there is a crack in the house and in the party or that the party is not doing all it ought to. These are statements which ordinarily I wouldn’t have responded to.
“As leaders, we shouldn’t be seen as taking issues in the public domain but since he has made a public statement, the public is entitled to get the other side or be told the truth.”
In response to Atiku’s claims that he was used and dumped, Abdulkadir said, “Yes, Atiku like many others made certain contributions in the 2015 elections and in building the party, but the bigger picture which he gave is not correct.”
He further explained that, “The North-West zone, which I represent, had eight presidential campaign rallies and Atiku did not attend any.
“Yes, he added value by his personality, but there are so many other members of the party that made financial contribution and added electoral value.
“North-West is the most populous zone in terms of membership of the APC and in terms of electoral victory, not only for the President but we have seven state governors out of seven and 20 out of the 21 senators in the zone.
“I think we are major stakeholders in this party, so, one of the reasons we are making this statement is to calm our members in these states and for us not to be distracted. APC is well on ground as all efforts are being made to solidify those gains and we shouldn’t be distanced by such unfortunate statements that the party is neglecting a particular person or group of persons.”
He also faulted Atiku’s claim that he was not being consulted. The National Vice Chairman said, “On the issue of consultation by Mr. President, though I am not in the Villa, it is an open secret that whoever visits the President is no longer a secret.
“Whoever is meeting the President of Nigeria, more than 20 people will know and the information will be shared. As a matter of fact, several times, Atiku Abubakar visited Mr. President and we don’t know what they discussed but we know he visited.
"I am sure he was not just there to greet him. Those two leaders will not meet without discussing one thing or the other.”
In response, Atiku who spoke through the Head of the Atiku Media Office, Mazi Paul Ibe, said he stood by what he said.
Ibe said, “His Excellency, Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar stands by what he said. There is no point beating about the bush, how can anyone equate a private meeting with a meeting of party organs?
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“When was the last time the party organs held any meeting? Has the Board of Trustees or what they call the Elders’ Council been inaugurated? When was the last time stakeholders and party leaders invited him to a meeting? The Wazirin Adamawa spoke as a lover of this country, democracy and the party.
“People who are not too conversant with history as far as democracy is concerned in this country may cast aspersions on the former Vice- President for stating the obvious. The party should do the needful.”
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that the recent outburst by the minister of women affairs and social development, Aisha Alhassan split Buhari's cabinet.
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