By Stephen Ubanna
For months , there have been speculations that Aisha Alhassan for, minister of Women Affairs and Social Development would quit her ministerial position to contest for the All Progressive Congress, APC, governorship primaries in Taraba state, September 29, 2018.
The minister was said to have notified President Muhammadu Buhari of her plans in to contest the APC, governorship Seat in Taraba state . Buhari was said to have informed Adams Oshiomhole , the national Chairman of the party of the plan of the Taraba state born minister of Women Affairs and Social Development. to contest the governorship Seat of the state .
The Magazine learnt that at every stage of her plan she had carried the President along up to the collection of nomination Form and mobilisation for Presidential and governorship primaries in the state. The Magazine learnt that at no time did the President advised her to quit the race because of alleged complaints dual loyalty which may count against her in the governorship primaries.
Party sources told The Magazine that the President played along with her despite having made up his mind not to intervene in the state governorship ambition and to allow the screening Committee and the National Working Committee , NWC, of the party take their decision on the matter which may not favour the Minister Alhassan.
The President, according to a party source has not been happy over the statement credited to her in 2017, that if Baba says he is going to contest the 2019 Presidential election, she swore to go before him and kneel and tell him, ”Baba I am grateful for the opportunity given to me to serve your government as minister but Baba just like you know I will support only Atiku, because he is my godfather ….if he says he is going to contest”. Buhari was infuriated with the statement but did not show it in his dealings with the minister.
Insiders told the Magazine that Buhari knew a day of reckoning would come when she will need his support to actualise his governorship ambition in Taraba , her home state. The President was further encouraged to turn his back on the minister when she needed his support most to actual her governorship ambition in the state with the support of Adams Oshiomhole, the party who is ready to implements the Constitution of the party to the later where loyalty counts to for any member to contest elections or hold office in an APC government.
Oshiomhole said that much when gave in insight to the party governorship screening Committee report in Taraba state which disqualified Alhassan, the then mnister of Women Affairs and Social Development from the governorship race. ”She was disqualified because the party was not convinced of her loyalty”, he said.
An aggrieved APC Oshimhole, said the part Constitution was very clear as it dictates that to contest elections or hold office in APC, the member must be loyal to the party in every material concern. The APC national Chairman noted that ”from all what she had said in the past and even her comments and general attitude during the screening ” did not show any form of loyalty to the party. He disclosed that the party NCW, ” reviewed everything taken together and arrived t the conclusion that she does not possess the level of loyalty that APC requires for her to contest elections on the party platform”, stressing that she was disqualified over acts of idiscipline.
Many believed that she could have saved herself and her supporters the embarrassment of the party NWC and the plot of the Presidency, if she had tendered her resignation to the President the momemnt it became clear that Atiku , who had decamped to the Peoples Democratic Party , PDP, declared his Presidential ambition on the platform of the party for the 2019 general election. They believe that She should not have waited until the party leadership lifted ban for the sale of elective offices both at the national, state and local government level to play into their hand in the state.
In apparent reaction to the decision of the party Screening Committee Committee and the NWC, to disqualify her from Contesting the governorship primaries in Taraba, Alhassan, popular, mama Taraba, was forced to take the bold initiative, after due consultations with her political Associates to quickly tender her resignation letter as a minister in the Buhari government on Saturday, September 29, 2018. She also withdrew her membership of the party, thus parting ways politically with Buhari. I write with a lot of respect to inform Mr. President of my decision to resign my appointment as a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and as a member of the APC.
Buhari did not hesitate in accepting her resignation as it was long over- due. the speed at which he appointed Hajia Aisha Abubakar, minister of State, Industries, Trade and Investment to pilot the Affairs of the ministry speaks volume. It was an indication that Buhari was tired of the former minister and was looking for a way to ease her out from the government. He however thanked her for her servics to the nation.” On behalf of the government and people of Nigeria, I thank you for your services to the nation”. The President was said to have approved the former minister of Women Affairs and Social Development resignation letter on Sunday, September 30, 2018, instead of delegating the responsibility to Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the government to do so, an indication that he was pleased to see her quit the government.
A close source told the Magazine that quitting the APC government has given her opportunity to join the Atiku Camp to work for the actualisation of his Presidential ambition in PDP but she has not officially declared for the party . There are indications that She may decamp to the party if the Atiku, the godfather wins the party Presidential ticket slated for October 5 and 6, 2018.
There is no gain saying the fact that, Alhassan reignation , brings to two, the ministers that had resigned from the Buhari government in the last one month. The first to resign was Kemi Adeosun, former minister of Finance over alleged National Youths Certificate, NYSC, forgery. There are indications that more minisiter would resign before the 2019 general election.
Insiders believe that there would not have been any need for ministers to freely quit the Buhari government if he had rejig his Cabinet as promised long ago. He may have been handicapped because of the frosty relationship with the leadership of the National Assembly, and the fears he may not be able to successfully navigate the nominees through Senate screening. He had promised at a meeting of the National Executive Committee of the APC ,IN 2017, to expand the compressed Federal Executive Council to introduce fresh hands and remove those who were perceived as dead woods in the Cabinet but that was far he could go.