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Gov. Nasiru El-Rufa’i of Kaduna state has said that governors and ministers under All Progressives Congress (APC) have agreed to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to contest the 2019 presidential election.
El-Rufa’i, who made this known to State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Buhari in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Friday, said the governors and the ministers made the call as members of the “Buharist Group”.

The “Buharist Group” is an association of APC governors and ministers, whose primary aim is to promote and defend the perceived socio-political interests of President Buhari.
The governor dismissed the claim that he was being trained to take over from President Buhari in 2019.
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“My name has continuously been mentioned as a Presidential aspirant s‎ince 2007 after my years in the FCT, there is nothing new about that.
“What I want to say here very, very clearly is that I have never been a Presidential aspirant, I have never even been a gubernatorial aspirant.
“I am governor today by the grace of God because President Buhari called me and said go and run for Governor of Kaduna state.
“As far as 2019 is concerned, my opinion is that the President is looking very well, he is recovering very fast. My hope and prayer is he will contest in 2019,’’ he said.
On the current political remarks attributed to the Minister of Womem Affairs and Social Development, Aishat Alhassan, El-Rufa’i said Nigerians should not be stunned or shocked over her statements, saying that in the APC she was never in the Buhari camp.
Aishat Alhassan had on Wednesday revealed in a BBC Hausa Service interview that she would rather quit as minister than abandon the former vice president  “if he decides to run for presidential elections in 2019’’.
However, El-Rufa’i said that Alhassan neither supported Buhari’s candidature during the APC National Convention nor voted for him during the party primaries.
“This has always been her position because from time she has never supported Buharism or what Buhari stands for.
“Being part of Buhari government is a different thing because government sets policies and if you are a minister you execute the policies. You can carry out those policies while pursuing a different brand of politics,’’ he said.
The governor, who said he was in the Presidential Villa to wish the President “very happy Sallah’’ and also join him in performing the Juma’at prayer, said it was the President’s privilege to either retain or remove the minister from the cabinet.
He said: “Look, you can retain a person in the cabinet even if he doesn’t support you if he adds value to the country. Because this is a government, it is not a political group combating for some political progress.
“If Jummai Alhassan is coming as Minister of Women Affairs and adding value to the government and the people of Nigeria it is the President’s choice to keep her in spite of her political views.
“But if she is not adding value in spite of her political views she can be bestowed with…… people shouldn’t get worried about it. I have worked closely with the President, I know him and I know how he thinks. He doesn’t take these things personally…. What is primary to him is Nigeria’s progress… that is what matters in the end.’’
On the ongoing debate on restructuring the country, El-Rufa’i, who is chairing the APC ‎committee on true federalism, said his committee would start public hearings on the issue from Sept, 18.
He said that the committee had started getting lots of comments and memoranda especially from young people who had never been part of the streamlining discussion.
He also said the committee will have 13 public hearings across the country.
“By the time we listen to Nigerians and amalgamate their views, we will write and make recommendations to our party on how to operate true federalism as we have pledged in our constitution,’’ he said.

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