Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai has insisted that “elements within the Villa” initiated the redesign of the naira to target the governing All Progressives Congress and incite the electorate to vote against the party.
Speaking on ARISE NEWS Prime Time on Thursday, El-Rufai described those responsible as “parasites” who are not APC members but taking advantage of their relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari to pursue their own agenda.
El-Rufai had initially levelled similar allegations on Wednesday but despite a response by Nigeria’s Minister of Information Lai Mohammed saying that the Federal Government is not “officially aware” of any conspiracy to frustrate the APC in the forthcoming elections, the Kaduna State governor doubled down:
“We’re convinced that there are some elements in the (Presidential) Villa that want APC to lose the elections. I didn’t say FG. I don’t understand why the FG responded. Those in the villa know themselves and even Lai Mohammed knows and with all due respect I don’t see why the FG is responding,” El-Rufai said.
“I think it’s inappropriate as a minister of the federal republic to respond to a statement directed at individuals rather than the institution.”
According to El-Rufai, the elements are pushing ad-hoc policies that are not well thought out and devoid of widespread consultations “to incite the voters to vote against the APC at all levels.”
”These policies are insensitive and aimed at punishing people. They (the people) will take it out on us and our candidates at all levels who are innocent bystanders in all this.
“This is not an APC policy. It was never in our manifesto,” he said.
El-Rufai said he won’t reveal who the elements are but “those of us around Abuja know them.”
He continued, “We can name and shame them. We prefer to do that after we’ve won the election.
“These same people wanted President Buhari to be succeeded by someone else. And that person did not win the election. That someone else is not Vice President Osinbajo.
El-Rufai went further to imply that the chosen candidate of the presidential villa cabal at the APC primaries was a northerner.
“These elements are not even in the APC. They are parasites. But they are influential because they are around the President all the time. Some of us are influential too but I have a state to govern, I’m not going to sit with the President in the Villa from morning till night.”
El-Rufai is optimistic about the governing party’s chances in the forthcoming elections despite the challenges. “The APC is united. Our governors are united and we are working very hard to deliver Asiwaju as the president in spite of their machinations.
“We’re given too much importance to a handful of cowards. They are cowards because they have never contested elections. They’re machinations and calculations will fail.”
He debunked some of the polls conducted by both local and international pollsters based on the sample size and believes that though the forthcoming elections will be tight, the APC will win, going by their own independently conducted survey.
“It’s not going to be a landslide unlike some previous elections,” he said.
El-Rufai also blamed “fifth columnists” for the inability of the Buhari government to effect some of the policies promised in the APC manifesto, for example power devolution in regards to resources and policing. He assured that if Tinubu becomes president, and the APC has a majority in parliament, it will be implemented “within a year.”