WAR of words between Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai and Former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu escalated on Friday with the former saying he’s too clean to be the latter’s running mate.
Speaking exclusively with Daily Mail, El-Rufai through one of his aides who refused to be named as he was not the official spokesman of the Governor said, “Nigerians know who a drug baron is. Nigerians know who was arrested and convicted of drug peddling in the US some decades ago.
“The Executive Governor of Kaduna State cannot be a running mate to such a person.”
Tinubu had allegedly tipped the Governor of Kaduna State as his running mate for the Presidency in 2023 but the Governor has not only turned such a move down but derided the former Lagos State Governor. He also went ahead to urge Lagosians to demystify Tinubu laying strategies on how to unmake a man called Lion of Bourdillon so as to stop him from being the godfather of Lagos politics.
El-Rufai is a very close friend of outgoing Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode. Tinubu personally stopped Ambode from winning his second term in favour of his anointed candidate Babajide Sanwo’Olu.
“Here in Lagos, you have over six million registered voters, only about a million voted (in 2019 general elections); five million did not vote. If I want to run for governor of Lagos, I will start now.
“I will commission a study to know why those five million registered voters did not vote; where do they go on election day?
“Then I will start visiting them for the next four years. I will try and get just two million of them to come and vote for me; I will defeat any godfather.
“The key is to go to the people. The card reader and the biometric register have given us the tools to connect directly with the people,” El-Rufai had said in Ikoyi, Lagos, at an event organised by the Bridge Club tagged, “An evening with His Excellency Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State.”
It was a direct attack on Tinubu who rather than responding allegedly directed his surrogates to respond.
Joe Igbokwe, Publicity Secretary of the APC in Lagos, said El-Rufai wants to be globally recognised like BAT (Bola Ahmed Tinubu) in response the attack.
“Yes, he’s recognised – a man like him must be recognised in one way or the other. Can’t a man who pushed drug and was arrested in the US have his name written in the black book in the US? That’s recognition too,” El-Rufai said.
Tinubu is regarded as one of the richest men in the world, stupendously rich after serving as Governor of Lagos between 1999 and 2007. He owns the Nation’s Newspapers, TV Continental among others, with critics saying he uses the news platform to launder his image.
“He uses his media companies to show he’s clean, he’s not corrupt.
“Who was he before being a governor? Where did he acquire his wealth? Who has bought Lagos State? Whose company collects revenue for Lagos State and has brought his protege to head one of the most important agencies of federal government – Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS – to collect revenue for FG?
“Have you heard the latest? FIRS is now embroiled in corruption running to tens of billions. Who do you think is collecting the money?”
He questioned why would a respected Governor of Kaduna accepts to be such a person’s running mate? “He’s not fit being his running mate. He would not even allow Tinubu to be his running mate, no, it’s not possible.
“The Ex-Governor of Lagos State belongs to the dark side of history and cannot be accorded the same respect like the former minister of the Federal Capital Territory.”
Tinubu has not helped El-Rufai he said adding, “We’re all members of a political party. The same role he plays even a bad one in APC is the same role but excellent one is the Governor playing. How many votes did his Action Congress of Nigeria get in 2015 and how many in 2019? Don’t you see his strength and control of Lagos is waning?”
Outside Lagos, in the South West, Tinubu has not had it his own. “He caused trouble in Oyo State, Ogun, Ekiti and Ondo states. Didn’t we lose Oyo completely and lose Ondo in the presidential elections?
What influence are you talking about? Does he even have a role in APC apart from from imposing a fake name on himself?
“For those he’s recruiting to speak for him, time will tell. They will also know when they have been used and how not important their landlord is. Thank God he’s called Lion of Bourdillon and not Lagos or South West or Nigeria.”
Daily Mail understands Tinubu had pencilled El-Rufai, a close pupil of President Muhammadu Buhari as his running mate as he prepares for 2023 but the Governor sees the former as unfit.
Unconfirmed reports say El-Rufai wants to take a shot at the Presidency himself and feels 2023 would be the right time after Buhari.