El-Rufai had, in the leaked memo, complained about certain things in the way the country and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) were being administered.
Barely 48 hours after the Kaduna governor’s visit to the presidential villa where he took a swipe at unnamed presidency insiders who he alleged leaked the memo, which was written as a private correspondence to the president, reactions are again trailing his comment on the contributions of the various legacy groups within the party to its victory at the 2015 presidential election.
In the memo, El-Rufai had posited that, “the Lagos group more or less led by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is the most organised and proactive. This group made a key contribution in our electoral success, but like all groupings it naturally exaggerates its role in order to increase its influence in the coming administration. The group will use the media to promote its own “GMB Boys” or suggest “Northerners” of their choice that they think would do their bidding.
“Some already are boasting that they will choose the next petroleum minister and the executive leadership of the NNPC. They will seek direct control or great influence over key economic portfolios, including agencies involved in revenue generation (NNPC, FIRS, Customs, etc.) law enforcement (Attorney General, EFCC, etc.) and financial services regulation (CBN, SEC, PenCom, etc.). This group will seek an alliance with some GMB family members to help strengthen their pre-eminent position in these areas.”
The memo, according to sources, was written by El-Rufai, and received by the President, sometime in 2015, before the nomination of ministers by President Buhari.
Consequently, many of those who spoke with The Nation accused El-Rufai of fanning the ember of discord with his argument.
Some prominent Nigerians including politicians, expressed dissatisfaction with El-Rufai’s attempt to water down the roles played by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the South West in Buhari’s victory at the polls and hoped that the Kaduna governor as well as those commenting on his controversial memo will not create problems for President Buhari and the ruling APC.
Former Governor of the old Kaduna state, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, who's also the National Chairman of Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), cautioned El-Rufai and his likes against causing unnecessary friction within the ruling party. According to him, it is very true and undeniable to say that Asiwaju Tinubu and the South-West won the presidency for the APC in 2015.
While admitting that the various legacy groups played significant roles in the victory, Balarabe insisted that Buhari could not have won the presidency without the support of Tinubu and his camp. He therefore warned against any attempt by anybody to deny Tinubu his dues.
“It is undeniably true that Asiwaju Tinubu and the South-West won the presidency for the APC in 2015. Buhari could not have won the presidency without the support of Tinubu and his camp. I therefore want to say that nobody or group within the party should attempt to deny Tinubu his dues.
“Come to think of it, it is actually Tinubu and his people in the South West that galvanised the entire nation to support the candidacy of Buhari in the last election. They led the way and others followed. It is therefore a statement of fact that Tinubu facilitated the eventual victory of APC and Buhari in that election. So, I disagree with El-Rufai’s position on that matter."
Also, PDP chieftain and former gubernatorial candidate in Lagos State, Mrs. Remi Adiukwu, asked El-Rufai to tell Nigerians the role he played in the victory of both the ruling party and President Buhari in the 2015 general election before his statement about Tinubu can be taken seriously.
The female politician described the Kaduna governor as someone who is fond of seeking attention at all times. “That is the reason why he usually talks balderdash,” she said while submitting that rather than contributing to Buhari’s victory, El-Rufai merely benefited from the political success that the likes of Tinubu turned APC into in 2015.
“I will want El-Rufai to tell Nigerians the role he played in the victory of his party and President Buhari in the 2015 general election before I can take his statement about Tinubu serious. I’ve known the Kaduna Governor as someone who is fond of seeking attention at all times. That is the reason why he usually talks balderdash. There is no way Buhari could have been President without Tinubu or the South West behind him.
“El-Rufai contributed nothing to Buhari’s victory even in his home state of Kaduna. He merely benefited from the political success that the likes of TInubu turned APC into in 2015. Without Buhari and the APC platform in 2015, he wouldn’t have even contested not to talk of winning the election. He benefited from the politics of Asiwaju Tinubu. He is not qualified to question Tinubu’s place in the party or government,” Adiukwu said.
Former Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, said while it is true that all parties to the victory played one role or the other in the presidential victory of the ruling party, it is on record that Tinubu and his people from the South West worked exceptionally hard for the emergence of Buhari as President in 2015.
“All the people involved played their parts well. I think victory should not be attributed to one person or group. But it is important to state that Tinubu worked hard to see Buhari win the election. The fact that he agreed to the merger that led to the formation of APC should give him a lot of credit. They should give him credit. I think El-Rufai is talking too much. He should know better than to say such things."