The former vice president and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Atiku Abubakar is gradually chalking up his 2019 presidential ambition following his endorsement by the minister of women affairs, Mrs. Aisha Alhassan.
In an interview with BBC Hausa Service, Alhassan said she would dump President Muhammadu Buhari for Abubakar whom she described as “my godfather”.
“Atiku is my godfather even before I join politics, and again Baba Buhari did not tell us that he is going to run in 2019.
“And let me tell you today that if Baba said he is going to contest in 2019, I swear to Allah I will go before him and kneel and tell him that ‘Baba I am grateful for the opportunity you gave me to serve your government as a minister. But Baba just like you know I will support only Atiku because he is my godfather.’ (That is) if Atiku said he is going to contest; as we are talking now Atiku has not said he is going to contest. Why I said our president in 2019 is because we all hope he is going to contest, but he never told us that he is going to contest. But if he said he is going to contest I will surely do what I told you I will do.
“Because if Atiku said he is going to contest and I remain in the cabinet of Baba while Baba also wants to contest, then I have become a hypocrite and I am not one. If I said I am not with Atiku, Buhari himself will not trust me at all because he will say I am a hypocrite,” she told BBC.
Apparently aware of the consequences of her utterances, she said she was not scared if she would be relieved of her job as minister.
“If because of what I said, I am sacked, it will not bother me because I believe in Allah, that my time has elapsed.
“Baba is not a mad man like those calling for my sack. They have been sending it and spreading that if Baba sees this I will be sacked,” she stressed.
Alhassan, in a leaked video on social media, endorsed the former vice-president for the 2019 presidential election.
According to the video, the minister endorsed Abubakar when she led a delegation on a private visit to the former vice-president on an undisclosed day during the last Sallah celebration.
Alhassan, 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.”
Meanwhile, the minister has blamed the licked video on the handiwork of her political enemies.
“Yes, I made this statement when we went for a courtesy call during Sallah festivities. I am not going to stand before him and campaign, besides this is not the time for campaign. Even when my people asked me to come out and start campaigning, I told them this is not the time for that. This is the time to work for the people.
“This is the work of my political enemies, they have been going round saying I should be sacked as minister. I never hoped to be a minister, Allah gave it to me If I get sacked, it will not bother me because I believe in Allah, that my time has elapsed; because I believe only Allah do and undo. And you think Baba is a mad man like those calling for my sack?
“They have been sending it and spreading that if Baba sees this I will be sacked. He will not sack me from being a minister because of this, only if I commit another offence. I am doing my job as a minister with all my heart and I always protect this government because it is a government of APC. And Baba our President, the President of Nigeria and somebody that I respect even before I joined politics. I will continue to respect him as a man of integrity.
“For those who are saying I will be sacked, they will be shamed. And even if I am sacked, I believe it is my time as minister that has ended. I never asked for it, Allah gave it to me,” she said.