Atiku Abubakar and Muhammadu Buhari at the installation of House Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal as Mutawallen Sokoto
The Deputy National Chairman of the APC, Segun Oni, has provided what appears a first formal reaction of the party to the stance of a serving minister declaring support for another presidential candidate in 2019.
The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Aisha Alhassan, shocked many Nigerians when a video surfaced on Tuesday showing the minister as declaring support for a former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, for the 2019 presidential election.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how in a separate interview with the BBC Hausa service, the minister said she would support Mr. Abubakar even if President Muhammadu Buhari chooses to run.
The statement by Mrs. Alhassan, who described Mr. Abubakar as her godfather, has drawn mixed reactions from Nigerians.
In his reaction, Mr. Oni expressed shock over the decision.
The News Agency of Nigeria quoted Mr. Oni as speaking at the Makurdi airport in Benue State,
“I am surprised that it happened in the first instance, but that is for the President and the party to talk about it at the appropriate time,” he said.
When PREMIUM TIMES sought the reaction of the official APC spokesperson, Bolaji Abdullahi, he said, “We have no comment at this time.”
Mr. Alhassan, who also said President Buhari had said he would not contest in 2019, was at the presidential villa on Thursday, where she told journalists that she stood by her statements.
The minister confirmed to journalists that she did not see the president with presidency sources saying she had a meeting with Mr. Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari.