President Muhammadu Buhari’s wife, Aisha, has weighed in on the ongoing crisis rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, saying the row has become a serious worry for the administration.
“Many people have started dividing the leadership of the APC and that is really making us feel not too good,” Mrs. Buhari said in an interview with BBC Hausa.
A part of the interview was aired Tuesday. The full interview will be aired on Friday.
The first lady said those behind the crisis felt aggrieved that they laboured for, and helped the APC to power in 2015, but received no compensation.
“They are doing that because they felt they laboured for the party and deserved to be compensated,” Mrs. Buhari said. “People who do not have voters card are those who are given appointments and enjoying the government.”
Her unusually public remarks about politics came amid an unfolding clash between a former governor Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, and the national chairman of the APC, John Odigie-Oyegun.
The latest infighting stemmed from a disagreement over how the party’s candidate in the upcoming gubernatorial election in Ondo State emerged.
Mr. Tinubu, in a scathing statement, accused Mr. Odigie-Oyegun of having manipulated the primaries.
Mr. Oyegun denied the allegations, and accused Mr. Tinubu of falsehood, and of waging a media war against him.
The APC, a coalition of four former political parties, came into existence in 2013. The alliance was formed to challenge the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party, and possibly wrestle power from it.
Mr. Tinubu, who led one of the former parties, the Action Congress of Nigeria, was widely credited as the architect of the APC victory in the 2015 elections – the first opposition win at the federal level.
The party began to face internal crisis early after the polls, as different leadership factions struggled for available positions in the cabinet and National Assembly.
Mr. Tinubu’s candidates for the positions of Senate President and House of Representatives Speaker, lost out.
The Ondo election crisis is the latest manifestation of the lingering feud.
Mrs. Buhari said the power tussle resonated in varied ways, especially because majority of her husband’s cabinet members were not known to him – meaning they were foisted as part of the power grab.
She added: “Among all the people he selected, if he is asked among 50 people, he does not know 45. I don’t know them despite staying with him for 27 years”.
For those behind the crisis, which was affecting the administration, she said “What I am afraid for them is the rebellion of 15 million people,” ostensibly in reference to the number of people who voted for the president.
Asked whether her husband knew those creating problems for his administration, Mrs. Buhari said, “Whether he knows them or not, those who voted for him know. There is nothing I will tell him. He can see.”
When asked whether her husband planned to run for second term in 2019, Mrs. Buhari said she did not know. But said for her personally, “I have made up my mind about that.”
She did not say what her stance is on the matter.