INTERVIEW: Don’t believe anything from Nigerian Senate — El-Rufai

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai

On his mission to the villa?

A: I came to see Mr President to brief him on the general security situation in Kaduna, which I do from time to time and also to update him on the various initiatives by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), the SSS, and the Army with a view to improving the security situation in Kaduna in general and particularly along the Abuja-Kaduna road.

I want to say that the initiatives put in place have made the road quite safe now. I don’t want to go into details of the measures that have already been put in place, but I am confident with the security system in place now that people can be confident to drive on the Abuja-Kaduna road without any fear.

On APC leader, Bola Tinubu

A: There is no dispute between me and anyone in the APC. The APC is one family, I don’t dispute with my own party. They may dispute with me but I don’t. I made comments in Lagos about how to retire godfathers, it’s a template that we have used in Kaduna and it has worked. If anybody thinks he is a godfather, the template may apply to him, but I am not in dispute with anyone. I expressed my views firmly and very clearly, there is no human being that I am afraid to express my views on. And when I am ready to express my views specifically on a particular name, then I will do so. But I haven’t.

I made a general statement but people have gone into overdrive, creating fake news, abusing me and so on. I am thick-skinned, I can take the abuse and I will wait for my time when I want to….

Q: Are you in good terms with Sen Bola Ahmed Tinubu?

A: We are in the same party, we get along very well as I know.

Q: Would you want him retired?

A: I don’t know if he is the godfather of Lagos, it’s up to him to say that. What I know for sure is that we have retired godfathers in Kaduna and I have told those that asked me the question that ‘there are six million registered voters in Lagos but only one million voted,’ in the last election. So there are five million people that you can bring into the electoral playground and you can defeat anyone if you work hard. It’s hard work, it’s four years. That is what I said and if anyone feels offended by that, that is his business or her business.

Q: So you want Lagos to follow your template on retirement of godfathers?

A: I have made no recommendations to Lagos. I am the governor of Kaduna State, I know Kaduna politics pretty well and I played my role in my party towards the success of the party. I have not made a recommendation for anyone. I am just saying, if I am asked a question and I gave an answer, anyone that feels offended by the answer, it’s his own business.

I have no apologies, I don’t apologise for my views. My views are thought-out and I put them there. I don’t have to explain anything to anyone. This is a democracy, and in a democratic space, there must be room for people to express their views. You can disagree, you can abuse me if you don’t like my views but that is it.

Q: Just last week, the Nigerian Senate described the Kaduna-Abuja expressway as the most dangerous highway in Africa, and you are saying it is safe, how?

A: If you believe everything that comes out of the Nigerian Senate, you will have serious mental health problems. There are things that are said that are just for the gallery, for the media. I don’t know what statistics was used to determine that the Kaduna-Abuja road is the most dangerous anywhere. I like facts, I like using figures. I wish the people that said that would use figures. But I am saying that no matter what anyone said last week, I am assuring Nigerians that the Kaduna -Abuja road is quite safe now and would be so long as the initiatives put in place by the various security agencies (are implemented), details of which I am not willing to disclose.

Q: Are you guaranteeing the safety of travellers?

A: Only God can guarantee total safety. But I am saying as the governor of the state, based on the security measures put in place, I am confident that the road is safe and I drive on that road.

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