By ANDREW ESSIEN, Abuja
The governing All Progressives Congress (APC) has asked the Minister for Women Affairs, Hajiya Aisha Alhassan, to do the needful by resigning from the cabinet after declaring her support for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
The national vice chairman, North West of the party, Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir, who stated this also cautioned Atiku to exercise restraint in the sort of statements he makes to the public as a chieftain of the party.
Noting that the minister would have consulted with the president before going public to declare her support for someone else, Abdulkadir said Alhassan has to resign because she cannot eat her cake and have it
He said, “You are making such suggestion in respect of your principal in public, but this is something that she can discuss with her principal so that he (president) will know her position. And if you feel like it should be public then you are saying that ‘I’m no longer comfortable with this situation, if this situation should continue I’m not comfortable with it.’
“Whether Buahri has said that he will re-contest or not is immaterial. What is material is that as a serving minister, you should not be seen to be making public statement that suggests that you are not on the same page with the team because she is a member of a team.
“In order places, the right thing is for her to resign on the ground that she can no longer continue to be in this team because ‘my spirit and my thoughts are not in conformity with this team. So, we can no more work together. She is entitled to that. So, you cannot eat your cake and have it.
“That is the situation. As high as that office, is people resign and leave on principle that ‘if not that I’m a member of APC I would not have accepted to serve but I’m not convinced still, so I think giving an opportunity to somebody else, I will support him not you.”
Abdulkadir who said the reaction became necessary considering the fact that President Muhammdu Buhari is from his Zone also came down hard Atiku over his recent interview which has continued to generate varying reactions.
Addressing a select Journalists yesterday, the party chieftain said persons of reckoning in the society should maintain decorum in the society since many people look up to them for leadership, even as he said Atiku’s statements were misleading and incorrect.
Abdulkadir said, “People of such statue and reckoning in this country, particularly the former vice president of this great nation, who has attained the position of a statesman and what we expect of him is nothing less than that.
“By virtue of his office and his age, he is qualified to be a statesman but when you reach that statue and age there are certain things you have to come to terms with which is to exhibit a high sense of decorum in your conduct. You have to guard what you say, how you say it and when you say it because what is expected of you as a statesman is nothing but factual.
“Secondly, majority of the people look up to them to provide leadership in the sense that from what you say people can learn a lot. Of recent, Atiku has made some statements that create an impression of the failure of the party and the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government.
“At that level, good party members, especially of his status, should not be seen to be making public statements, even if those criticisms are factual, whereas in this case, some of these statements were misleading and incorrect.
While calling on Atiku to exercise restraint in his public statements, he said, “These statements give an impression that there is a crack in the house and in the party or that the party is not doing all that which it ought. Secondly, the statements are such that ordinarily I wouldn’t have responded to. As leaders, we shouldn’t be seen as joining issues in the public domain but since he has made a public statement, the public is entitled to get the other side or be told the truth.”
On claims by the former vice president that he contributed to the success of APC in the 2015 general election, he said, “Yes, Atiku like many others made certain contributions in the 2015 elections and in building the party but the bigger picture which he gave is not correct. The North West zone which I represent had eight presidential campaign rallies, which Atiku did not attend any.
“Yes, he added value by his personality, but there are so many other members of the party who made financial contributions and added electoral value. North West is the most populous zone in terms of the APC membership and in terms of electoral victory, not only to the president but we have seven state governors and 20 out of the 21 senators in the zone are from the APC.”
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By ANDREW ESSIEN, Abuja