The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, on Monday said he has no apology over his comment last week that “godfather can be defeated” in Lagos State.
The governor further said he is unfazed by the criticisms that have followed the comment.
Mr El-Rufai had at a forum organised by the Bridge Club prescribed steps to curbing godfatherism in politics. He said he had retired four political godfathers in Kaduna. He also suggested how to retire godfathers in Lagos politics.
Observers quickly analysed the governor’s remarks as an attack on former Lagos governor Bola Tinubu, regarded as the godfather of Lagos politics.
That Mr El-Rufai’s comment followed a question by Muiz Banire, a Lagos politician believed to be feuding with Mr Tinubu, fueled the conclusion that Mr El-Rufai was targeting the former Lagos governor.
Mr Tinubu is the national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, the same party to which Mr El-Rufai belongs.
Two public commentators in The Nation newspaper owned by Mr Tinubu, Sam Omatseye and Gbenga Omotoso, among others, have attacked Mr El-Rufai in separate opinion pieces published by the newspaper.
But speaking after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House on Monday, Mr El-Rufai said he was unperturbed by the criticisms and has no apology for his views.
Referring to Mr Tinubu, he said, “We are in the same party. We get along very well as far as I am concerned. I don’t know if he is the godfather of Lagos.”
He then restated what he had said in the past week: “What I know for sure is that we have retired godfathers in Kaduna and I have told those that asked the question that there are six million voters in Lagos. And only one million voted in the last elections.”
He continued, “So, there are five million people you can bring to the electoral playground and you can defeat anyone if you work hard. But it’s hard work, it’s four years. That’s what I said. If anyone feels offended by that; that’s his business, not my business.
“I have no apology. I don’t apologise for my views. I don’t need to explain anything to anyone. This is a democracy. There must be room for people to express their views.”