2023 Presidency: Buhari must decisively deal with overambitious APC members – Governor El-Rufai

Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State

Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has alleged that the internal crisis that rocked the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) during the build-up of the 2019 general elections was caused by desperation of some party chieftains ahead of the 2023 presidential election.

El-Rufai who spoke at The Bridge Club in Ikoyi, Lagos State, noted that politicians are very strategic. According to him, as illiterate as some politicians are, they can think ahead.

The governor who expressed regret over some states the APC lost to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) warned President Muhammadu Buhari to deal with overambitious members of the party.

Naija Buzz on Monday published excerpt of Governor El-Rufai’s lecture at The Bridge Club where he talked about how to end godfatherism in politics, even how to defeat the godfather of Lagos politics.

Governor El-Rufai further noted that it was wrong for the party members to be plotting ahead of 2023, when the second term of President Buhari is even yet to kick off.

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the National Leader of the ruling APC, is perceived to be the godfather of Lagos politics. Rumour also has it that he is interested in contesting the 2023 presidential election.

Senate President Bukola Saraki had accused him (Tinubu) of only supporting President Buhari’s second term because of his 2023 presidential ambition.

Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State who was few weeks ago suspended by the APC over anti-party activities had accused top members of the APC in Abuja for his predicament because of his 2023 ambition.

El-Rufai however warned that the president must deal with overambitious APC members who might cause problems in his second term because of their personal agenda.

“There were a lot of internal crises in the APC; those crises had nothing to do with the 2019 elections; they were all about positioning for 2023. You know politicians can be very strategic; as illiterate as some of them can be, they are very strategic, they can think far ahead of you,” he said.

“So, those 2023 aspirations had been busy at work, creating pockets of support that had unintended consequences. I can mention a few states that we lost because of these kinds of aspirations. Some of the things led to unintended consequences and we paid for it. It is my view that President Muhammadu Buhari must be firm and decisive in dealing with these overambitious elements that will make his second term difficult from day one unless curtailed. The President has to be very decisive in dealing with such people,” El-Rufai added.

He further noted that political elites, across party lines, must have a conversation and agreed on the nation’s ideology and goal.

“As you know, whether there is Brexit or not in the UK, there are certain questions that the elite in the UK have accepted as a given. Whether they belong to the Labour, Conservative or Social Democratic party, some things never change; the same with the Democrats and the Republicans in the US. Russia is an enemy, whoever is in power. Whoever is in power, China is a threat. This is what elite consensus is all about.

“Here in Nigeria, our elite have not even agreed on who are our friends; who are our enemies; what are the irreducible minimum that we all must agree upon that no matter what type or government or leader we have, we must for instance, agree that we must give every child in Nigeria free basic education. We must agree on that. Every human being in Nigeria is entitled to universal health care. We must agree on these things. Whoever is the President, whoever is the governor continues to pursue these goals. The nuances of how to achieve the goals may differ from party to party but the goals will remain. We have not had that conversation and I believe it is time we began to have it.”

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