Many Nigerians had expected a revulsive action from President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday as he presided over the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and cabinet ministers; following the recent uncomplimentary comments on the president by the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Aisha Alhassan.
Alhassan had in an interview with the BBC, Hausa Service last week, disclosed her preference for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar against Buhari for the 2019 presidential contest.
She was quoted as saying that, “Atiku is my godfather even before I joined politics, and again Baba Buhari did not tell us that he is going to run in 2019. And let me tell you today that if Baba said he is going to contest in 2019, I swear to Allah, I’ll go before him and kneel and tell him, ‘Baba, I’m grateful for the opportunity you gave me to serve your government as a minister. But Baba, just like you know, I’ll support only Atiku because he is my godfather.”
But the Buhari, who presided over the meeting that commenced at exactly 11am, at the Presidential Council Chamber, did not utter a word concerning Alhassan’s comments.
Meanwhile, Alhassan attracted the attention at the Council Chamber as she went to exchange pleasantries with the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, who was with Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, and the State House Permanent Secretary, Jalil Arabi.
On getting into the chambers, Alhassan went round to greet some of her colleagues, including the Minister of State for Health, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Finance, and Acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
The controversial minister later went to meet with Osinbajo when he walked in and spent a few minutes discussing with him before Buhari walked in at exactly 11am.
She later came to Aso Rock where she had in an interview with State House correspondents and reportedly claimed that she would rather resign as the minister than abandon Mr Atiku “if he decides to run for presidential elections in 2019.’’
But Ogun State governor Ibikunle Amosun and some chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) had called on Alhassan to resign as minister for declaring that she would not support Buhari in 2019.