Nasir El-Rufai, governor of Kaduna State, has dared ‘elements in Aso Rock’ whom he alleged to be opposed to the presidential ambition of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2023 presidential election.
El-Rufai, who was responding to a question in a yet-to-be-fully-released interview with the BBC Hausa, said: “Respecting people is not fear. I swear, we don’t fear anyone in this country; we are not fearful. But if you show us you are not an elder, I swear, we will fight you.”
The governor’s latest comment, which was shared on social media ahead of the full release of the interview, was in an apparent response to the “Villa elements” he referred to in an interview with Channels TV on Wednesday, saying they were working against Tinubu.
During the interview, El-Rufai said persons who backed a different aspirant in the APC presidential primary were now hiding behind President Buhari to pursue their interests.
“I believe there are elements in the villa who want us to lose the election because they didn’t get their way; they had their candidate who 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,” he had said.
Aisha Buhari, wife of the president, backed El-Rufai over his claim that some elements in the Presidency are plotting to sabotage Tinubu’s victory.
The first lady, who wields great influence in the Villa, voiced her support for El-Rufai when she shared a clip of the interview containing the governor’s main allegation against “saboteurs who are non-members of the party and are exploiting the president’s goodwill for their selfish ends.”
But the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, responded saying officially, the government was not aware of anyone within the Presidential Villa engaging in such action.
Lai said the government had been fair to all candidates regardless of party affiliation and that Buhari had consistently demonstrated that he was for free, fair and credible elections.