South South National Vice Chairman,of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ntufam Hiliard Eta, has called for the expulsion of the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Senator Aisha Alhassan from the party, describing her open support for an Atiku Abubakar presidency in 2019 as the “highest level of disloyalty.”
Eta made the call during an interaction with newsmen in Calabar, Cross River State yesterday after a thanksgiving service at St Charles Lwanga Parish, Essien for the safe return of President Muhammadu Buhari to the country after a long period of medical treatment in the United Kingdom.
He said: “I think that what she has done is the highest level of disloyalty. I believe that as somebody who believes as strongly as she does about her support for Atiku, the best and most honourable thing to do would be to resign and begin the campaign for the Atiku presidency.
“But for you to sit in a Buhari presidency and be talking about the presidency of another person, it smacks of irresponsibility and as a member of the National Working Committee I would do my utmost to make sure she is sanctioned as a member of that government. I would call for her suspension or even expulsion from the party.”
On 2019 in Cross River State, he promised to work hard to ensure that the APC takes over government. “What we have here is mis-governance or lack of governance. There is no government in Cross River State. Since the House of Assembly has become an ally in the mis-governance of the state, we will wait until 2019 when we would have the opportunity of effecting a change. I am very sure that APC will win in Cross River in 2019. If there is anything I know of, it is that Cross River would not remain in the hands of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) come 2019.”
Eta thanked God for President Buhari, saying “We have to be thankful that this man that has done so much for Cross River State and has planned to do much more is still alive with us. A lot of people had wished him to be dead, we are very grateful to God that he is alive today to continue with his good work for Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, in a report circulated in Kaduna yesterday, the embattled Alhassan threatened to expose the role allegedly played by Governor Nasir El-Rufai in the kidnap of Chibok girls by Boko Haram following an altercation between her and the governor over his support for Buhari to contest the 2019 election.
In the report, the minister said she was surprised that El-Rufai could comment against her preference for Atiku for the 2019 presidential race.
Alhassan was quoted as saying that there are lots of things Nigerians need to know about the planning and execution of Chibok girls’ kidnap because those behind it will be unmasked very soon. She reportedly said the intention was to defame and blackmail PDP and former President Goodluck Jonathan out of power.
The statement purportedly issued by Alhassan reads in part: “The same El-Rufai was among those who plotted against Jonathan by tactically supporting Boko Haram and kidnapping of Chibok girls. The information is out there where he lied that Jonathan wanted to kill him and other top members of APC by raising a false alarm about a sniper list.
“The same El-Rufai who claimed to be loyal to President Buhari is sponsoring some bloggers and his errand boys in the media to keep attacking and defaming Buhari, at least Nigerians and our party can see his deliberate action to blackmail the president when he
released his memo to the media which was supposed to be a confidential memo to the President in his bid to tarnish and embarrass Baba Buhari.
“I am not a coward, Buhari is my President and one of the fathers of my party, APC. If I can’t be real with my choice of Atiku, then it would amount to eye service, I am not that kind of person.”
The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Samuel Aruwan, however, posted on his face book a denial by the minister of the purported statement.
The denial posted by Aruwan, which emanated from the minister, reads: “The current APC government under President Buhari inherited a series of problems from the past administration – the kidnap of the Chibok girls by the dreaded Boko Haram happens to be one of them and President Buhari and our military have been able to rescue some of them and checked Boko Haram’s excesses.
“Senator Jummai is not in possession of any security report and therefore will never have made the statement allegedly made by her against the person of Governor El- Rufai. Boko Haram kidnapped many other people, including women and children apart from Chibok girls. And this government has been able to rescue most of them. The plot to cause bad blood between Senator Jummai (Alhassan) and her APC colleagues will continue to hit brick wall.”
Alhassan further said she respected El-Rufai and saw nothing wrong with the views he earlier expressed on her.