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El-Rufai: Atiku can’t win APC presidential ticket even if Buhari does not run

Nasir el-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, says Abubakar Atiku could not have won the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) even if President Muhammadu Buhari was not seeking re-election.

El-Rufai made these comments on Thursday during an interview on Voice of America (VOA) Hausa station.

He said that Atiku came third during the 2015 APC presidential primary election, behind Rabiu Kwankwanso of Kano State, and as such, even if Buhari was not in the race, he would still have lost out on the ticket.

El-Rufai further said that Atiku’s claims that he funded the Buhari presidential campaign in 2015 was false, as he (el-Rufai) was part of the leadership of the campaign organisation and knows who brought what.

“Atiku had seen that we in the APC, especially the APC governors, had made up our mind to support President Muhammadu Buhari to run again in 2019. That is why he left APC since he was only looking for where to contest for president,” el-Rufai said.

“Even in the 2015 APC primary election, Atiku didn’t come second; he was floored by Kwankwaso. So, even if President Buhari decides not to contest, Atiku knows that the APC ticket is not sure for him.

“Majority of the APC governors have endorsed President Buhari as our candidate for 2019, and God has continued to improve the health condition of the President. Each time I see him, I thank God and I still pray that God continues to give him sound health.

“So, by 2019, we are waiting to see Atiku contest; we are waiting to contest against him and see what happens. I cannot lose sleep because Atiku wants to contest because, by God’s grace, this is the reign of President Muhammadu Buhari.”

El-Rufai also said he never heard Atiku’s name as having donated “a dime” to Buhari’s election campaign in 2015.

“It is agreed that in politics if you lose even only one person, it should worry you, but the utterances of the former Vice President that APC used his money… who did he give the money to?” el-Rufai queried.

“For me, I know those that supported us with their money and property that we used during election, and I never heard the name of Atiku that he brought a dime. If Atiku said he brought money, who did he give it to? Let him come and say it and how much did he give and what was it used for?

“And, in fact, if Atiku brought money, I ought to know, because I was part of the leadership of the party and during campaign, along with former Governor Rotimi Amaechi. We were at the centre of the presidential campaign. Therefore, we are supposed to know. So, let him mention whom he gave the money and how much?”

El-Rufai agreed that some “greedy people” could follow Atiku, “but if people will consider how we can work for the progress of our country, everybody knows that you cannot compare Atiku with President Muhammadu Buhari”.

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