By Tunde Ajaja
In a fresh twist to the silent row between the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, and the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the Kaduna governor has said Tinubu is not his man.
Speaking at a webinar in commemoration of the 63rd birthday of the Minister of Interior and former Governor of Osun State, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, on Saturday, El-Rufai, noted that Aregbesola remained his man any day but that Tinubu was not his man. This, he said, was due to the differences between him and the former Lagos governor.
The webinar was tagged, ‘Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola Colloquium 2020,’ with the theme, ‘Government Unusual: Innovative economic solutions to unlock mass prosperity,’ and was moderated by Boason Omofaye.
El-Rufai’s statement came as a subtle confirmation of the disagreement between him and Tinubu. Both of them are stalwarts of the ruling party and are rumoured to have ambitions to contest the presidency in the 2023 elections.
Tinubu has never made any public statement about their seemingly frosty relationship and el-Rufai had also been conservative on the issue except for very few occasions.
Already, there had been mounting tension over which of the six zones would produce the next president in the 2023 elections.
Also in February, the Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, while responding to fears that the APC might collapse when the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), leave office in 2023, said the much speculated presidential ambitions of El-Rufai and Tinubu could not break the APC, stating that it would rather strengthen the party.
While neither of them had declared an intention to contest the election, the Yobe governor said, “I don’t think their ambition will affect the party. You should know that for now, there is no party in Nigeria that is as formidable as the APC. The APC also controls more states than the other political parties.”
At an event organised by the Bridge Club tagged, “An evening with His Excellency Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, in May 2016, the Kaduna governor was believed to be referring to Tinubu when he explained how to end godfatherism in Lagos. Tinubu is widely known to be the godfather of Lagos politics since he left office as governor in 2007.