I don’t know any godfather in Lagos — El-Rufai

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru

Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu

ABUJA – GOVERNOR Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State said Monday he owed no apologies to anyone regarding his advice to Lagos residents last week to discountenance godfathers in their political dealings.

The governor, who spoke to State House correspondents after meeting behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, however, did not mention any name.

But in a swift reaction last night, Lagos State chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, said talk was cheap, adding Tinubu remained their leader saying: ‘”they want to be like ASIWAJU, they want to command respect, they want the world to accept them the way they have accepted ASIWAJU , they want to get great followers like ASIWAJU BAT, they want to be admired the way people admire ASIWAJU, they want the people to love them the way they love ASIWAJU, they want to stand tall anywhere they go like ASIWAJU, they want to attract attention like ASIWAJU, they want to be celebrated and honored like ASIWAJU, they want to be worshiped the way ASIWAJU’s great followers worship him, they want be lifted up the way God has lifted ASIWAJU up, they want to be noticed like ASIWAJU, they want to stand out like ASIWAJU and they want to influence decisions at all levels like ASIWAJU, etc.’

Recall that the Kaduna State governor’s recent comments in Lagos were largely construed by pundits in the media as a deliberate attack on the national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC and former Lagos State Governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who has a strong influence on political developments in the state.

But el-Rufai told journalists that he stood by what he said, even as he dismissed insinuations that he was at loggerheads with the party leadership.

He said: “There is no dispute between me and anyone in the APC, the APC is one family, I don’t dispute with my own party. They may dispute with me but I don’t. 

“I made comments in Lagos about how to retire godfathers. It is a template that we have used in Kaduna and it has worked. If anybody thinks he is a godfather, the template may apply to him but I am not in dispute with anyone.

“I expressed my views firmly and very clearly, there is no human being that I am afraid to express my views on, and when I am ready to express my views, specifically on a particular name, then I will do so but I haven’t.”

Pressed to know if he wanted Tinubu retired as the godfather of Lagos politics, the governor said he was in same party as the former Lagos State governor, adding that they got along very well.

”But I don’t know if he is the godfather of Lagos, it’s up to him to say that. What I know for sure is that we have retired godfathers in Kaduna and I have told those that asked me the question that ‘there are six million registered voters in Lagos but only one million voted,’ in the last election.

”So there are five million people that you can bring into the electoral play ground and you can defeat anyone if you work hard’.

“It’s hard work, it’s four years. That is what I said and if anyone feels offended by that, that is his or her business.

“I have no apologies, I don’t apologise for my views. My views are thought-out and I put them there. I don’t have to explain anything to anyone. This is a democracy, and in a democratic space, there must be room for people to express their views.”

On why he was at the State House, the governor said: “I came to see Mr  President to brief him on the general security situation in Kaduna which I do from time to time and also to update him on the various initiatives by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the SSS, and the Army, with a view to improving the security situation in Kaduna in general and particularly along the Abuja-Kaduna road.

“I want to say that the initiatives put in place have made the road quite safe now. I can say confidently that anyone can get on that road because I don’t want to go into details of the measures that have already been put in place but I am confident with the security system in place now that people can be confident to drive on the Abuja-Kaduna road without any fear.”

Reacting to el-Rufai’s statement yesterday, Publicity Secretary, Lagos chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, said: “Talk is cheap, anybody can make any statement. They want to be like Asiwaju, they want to command respect, they want the world to accept them the way they have accepted Asiwaju, they want to be admired the way people admire Asiwaju.

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“But in actions and deeds, they are not like Asiwaju. In character and in tolerance, they are not like Asiwaju. In commitment and hard work, they are not like BAT. In grace and empathy, they are not like BAT. In temperament and love for humanity, they are not like Asiwaju.

”They cannot surrender their home to the people the way BAT has been doing. They cannot fight for others the way BAT does. They cannot deny themselves freedom for the sake of others the way BAT does. They cannot stand for the ordinary people the way Asiwaju does. ”They cannot be trusted  the way we trust BAT. They cannot give the way BAT does. They cannot sacrifice what BAT has sacrificed for humanity for close to 40 years. They cannot live for others the way the way Asiwaju has done for years.  I can go on and on but he who must lead others must first lead himself.

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“We follow our leader, Asiwaju, because he works for us, even when we are sleeping. We follow and honour our leader because he breaks his back for us. We follow him because he cares for all of us . We follow him because he knows where he is going. We follow BAT because he has earned our trust for decades now.

”We follow him because he has never disappointed us. We follow Asiwaju because he is focused and dynamic. We follow Asiwaju because he has not failed us . We follow him because he is dependable.

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”We follow him because he fights for us. We follow him because the man is a deep thinker. We follow Asiwaju because he values us without measure.”

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