The governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, on Friday said “not one” governor from the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, would decamp with the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, who just exited the party.
He was reacting to the exit of Mr. Abubakar from Nigeria’s ruling party on Friday.
Mr. El-Rufai, a prominent leader of the APC, who has had pitched battles with Mr. Abubakar in the past over political issues, was responding to questions from journalists after the Friday Jumat prayer at the mosque in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Mr. Abubakar’s withdrawal from the APC has drawn mixed reactions from Nigerians.
He has not indicated the party he is going to join, although he is expected to run for president on the platform of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Although, Mr. Atiku has not openly declared his interest to run, pundits believe some key officials in the Muhammadu Buhari administration will support him when he eventually declares.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan, is among those that have endorsed the former vice president for the 2019 presidential election.
However, Mr. El-Rufai on Friday insisted that all APC governors will not follow the footsteps of Atiku by leaving the party.
“That I am sure of. I can speak authoritatively about it because I’m in touch with my colleagues,” he noted.
“The only governor that he would think will go with him, the governor of Adamawa State has already endorsed President Buhari for the 2019 elections. And there are many governors, I will not mention the number but a majority of the APC governors have already taken the position that the president should run for a second term in office.”
The Adamawa State Governor, Jibrilla Bindow, had previously declared his support for Mr. Abubakar whom he acknowledged as the sponsor of his governorship election.
The governor in December 2015 disclosed that Mr. Abubakar gave him N500 million for his campaign.
However, a month before Mr. Abubakar dumped the ruling party, the Adamawa state chapter of the APC pledged support for President Buhari if he declares to run in 2019.
Meanwhile, Mr. El-Rufai also said, ”Atiku is not and has never been a threat to Buhari.”
“…we are confident that the way to preserve our party and preserve and advance the interest of Nigeria is for Mr. President to run for a second term. I’m curious to see which APC governor will go with Atiku,” he said.
Mr. Abubakar, who is from Adamawa State, has made past bids for the presidential slot. He challenged President Muhammadu Buhari for the APC presidential ticket prior to 2015 election.