Former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, has asserted that President Bola Tinubu would have lost the 2023 presidential election to Atiku Abubakar of the Democratic Party (PDP), if not for the help of former Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai.
According to him, El-Rufai and former Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, and some governors elected on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC), backed Tinubu to power despite opposition.
Goldennewsng reports that Fani-Kayode stated this in reaction to the backlash on El-Rufai over a viral video of him on the internet where he spoke on Muslim-Muslim tickets in Kaduna State and Nigeria at large.
In the video, the former governor, who spoke in the Hausa language, noted that their plan for the last eight years in Kaduna is to maintain a political leadership of a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
While asserting that there was no Christian that could say that he or they were marginalized, El-Rufai said the ruling party’s plot is to remain in power with a Muslim-Muslim ticket for the next 20 years.
According to him, by then the Christians would have come to the realization of the reality of Muslim-Muslim leadership in the state.
In a Twitter thread, however, on Thursday morning, Fani-Kayode said El-Rufai is not a religious bigot as many have called him.
He defended the former governor saying he worked closely with him under two administrations and he was never any of the names he is labelled with at the moment.
“When Nasir El Rufai, Bello Matawalle and Yahaya Bello took President Muhammadu Buhari to court and defeated him over the illegal and ill-fated cash grab/new notes policy they were considered to be heroes and the entire world commended them.
Yet sadly today, simply because he made some comments about the Muslim/Muslim ticket before a gathering of Muslim clerics in Kaduna State he is being demonised and labelled as a religious bigot, a terrorist, a fascist and an Islamist fanatic by mainly those who do not share his religious faith, who do not know him, who have never met him and who are in a different political party to him.
“I know a religious bigot when I see one and I assure you that Nasir El Rufai is not one of them. Neither is he a Muslim fundamentalist, a terrorist, a fascist or a jihadist.
“If he were any of these things he would not be my friend and brother and I would be the first to openly oppose and condemn him”, Fani-Kayode wrote on Twitter.
He added: “If he were any of these things he would attract my contempt rather than have my respect.
“We worked closely together when we were in President Olusegun Obasanjo’s cabinet many years ago and we worked closely together during the presidential campaign for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. I know him very well indeed.
He is a down-to-earth, practical, pragmatic politician who speaks his mind boldly, who is deeply calculating and courageous, who knows and understands the game of thrones and the art of acquiring and wielding power very well, who has no fear of his adversaries and who is determined to do whatever it takes to win. These are all virtues and not vices.”
According to the former Minister, many people denigrate El-Rufai because he has proved over and over again that he is far smarter than them.
Yet love him or hate him I will tell you this: had it not been for him, Matawalle and the Northern Governors of the APC there would have been no power shift to the south, the Presidency would have remained in the North and Atiku, not Asiwaju would be President today.
“Again had it not been for him and Matawalle, the cabal in the Villa that backed, empowered, protected and encouraged Godwin Emefiele and his Agbor Mafia and that worked so hard to stop Asiwaju from winning the election would have prevailed.
And of course, that is why all the forces of hell gathered together to ensure that Matawalle lost his seat as Governor of Zamfara. That is the price that he had to pay,” Fani-Kayode said.
The APC chieftain argued further that those who insist on launching a crusade, igniting a religious war and assuming the worse about El Rufai today simply because of his comments about religion in the politics of Kaduna state would do well to consider all this as they continue in their asinine behaviour and insidious tomfoolery.
“If there are people that ought to be regarded as the true heroes of the struggle to make Asiwaju President El Rufai and Matawalle must be amongst them.
I may not agree with everything El Rufai says or does but what a great fighter he is.
“He has both my affection and respect. He always did and he always will,” Fani-Kayode insisted.