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Why Buhari's Minister Is Giving Her Support To Atiku

Politics is about to begin. The Minister of Women Affairs, Senator Aisha Alhassan, has declared her readiness to support former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar’s bid for the Presidency against President Muhammadu Buhari if the former decides to contest in 2019.

Mama Taraba, as Alhassan is fondly called, in an interview with  BBC Hausa Service on Wednesday, said she respected Buhari, but stated that Atiku remained her godfather.

The minister had in a leaked video  endorsed Atiku for the 2019 presidential election.

According to the leaked video, Alhassan endorsed Atiku when she led a delegation on a private visit to the former vice-president on an undisclosed day during the last Sallah celebration.

The minister, who spoke in Hausa in the video, said, “Your Excellency, our father and our president by the grace of God come 2019, before you are your people, your supporters for life, the people of Taraba State.

“They are here to pay our homage and to greet you on the occasion of Sallah and for all that Allah has done to you because Allah has raised your status.”

On Wednesday, Alhassan, in the BBC Hausa Service interview, confirmed that she would support Atiku in 2019.

The minister added that Buhari had not told anybody that he would contest the 2019 election.

She, however, said even if President Buhari decide to contest the election, she would support Atiku for the presidency.

Alhassan stated, “Since I was in the civil service, His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, has been my mentor and godfather. He has remained so even now that I have joined politics. There is a reason for every political relationship.

“Secondly, Baba Buhari has not told anybody that he is contesting in 2019. I can assure you that today, if Baba Buhari says he is going to contest, walahi tallahi (I swear by Allah), I will go and kneel down before him and say ‘Baba, I am grateful for the opportunity you have given me to serve as minister in your administration but Baba, like you know, Atiku is my godfather’.

“If Atiku says he is going to contest, but he too has not said he will contest… Why I said (Atiku) ‘our President come 2019’ is that we expect that he will contest, but he has not told us he will contest. But if he contests, I will go and do what I just told you I will do.”

Alhassan said she was not a hypocrite, adding that Buhari was aware of her relationship with Atiku.

“I am not one to betray trust. If I now say I have no business with Atiku, even Baba Buhari will have doubts about me, he will say ‘this one is a betrayer of trust',” the minister stated.