2019: Your defection won’t affect Buhari’s chances – El-Rufai tells nPDP members

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The Kaduna state governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai believes the defection of members of the new Peoples Democratic Party from the All Progressives Congress, APC, cannot affect the chances of President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 election, stressing that Buhari will win in four states of Kwara, Kano, Sokoto, Adamawa, with or without chieftains of the nPDP remaining in the ruling party.

Members of the nPDP, who defected from the PDP to the APC in 2014, include five governors, some former governors, then Speaker of the House of Representatives and some members of the National Assembly.

Newsworth recalls that  the nPDP had last Tuesday given Buhari and the APC leadership seven days to summon an emergency meeting to address their grievances. In a letter which was signed by Alhaji Abubakar Baraje and Olagunsoye Oyinlola, on behalf of the group and addressed to the National Chairman of APC, nPDP said: “Despite their contribution to the success of the APC, their members have been relegated to the background in the scheme of things in the party and in the government.”

But a splinter group of the nPDP has since distanced itself from the claims of marginalisation. This faction, led by a former governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Adamu, made this known on Monday at the national secretariat of the ruling party after it submitted a letter on the fortunes of the nPDP bloc under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

Speaking to State House Correspondents yesterday after a closed-door meeting with Buhari at the Aso Presidential Villa, Abuja, El-Rufai said it was wrong for the group to issue threats other than seeking peaceful ways of resolving any perceived grievances.

He pointed out that Buhari had since 2003 won elections in four of the states except Rivers, insisting that the President will win those states “with or without the support of the ex-governors”. The governor maintained that Kano is already in the kitty of the President ahead of the 2019 polls.

El-Rufai said, “Who are these nPDP people that are threatening? This is Kwara, Kano, Sokoto, Adamawa, and Rivers. But I don’t think Amaechi is part of them. So let’s take these four states, go back to 2003 and check. Buhari then under ANPP won in all these four states. Go back to 2007, Buhari won in these four states.

“Even when Ibrahim Shekarau was running as a presidential candidate in 2011, Buhari defeated him in Kano. And, I have no doubt in my mind that even if the people threatening to leave, leave, it will have absolutely no impact on the presidential elections; the president will win Sokoto, Kwara and Adamawa easily.

“I mean if you saw the crowd that welcomed the president without the former Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso, Kano has always been the president’s base. To me, that is not the issue; the issue is that they have written, they have expressed grievances, some of the grievances are legitimate and should be looked into.

“But to threaten to leave the party is neither here nor there. If they are honest with themselves, they know that President Buhari will win those states with or without them. But if you have a grievance, we are a party and politics is a game of addition, not subtraction. So, we don’t want to lose anyone.

“So, I think the letter was written for the party leadership to study it and look into what is reasonably possible to accommodate them because politics, as I said, is a game of addition,” the Kaduna governor added.

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