There are strong indications that Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai will throw his hat into the ring to contest for the 2023 presidential elections as his men have stepped up plans to garner support for the bid.
According to insiders, El-Rufai, one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s most trusted political ally, would be running for the presidency on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
This has been given credence with the way his supporters have been revving up his subtle campaigns with posters, advertisements and fliers flooding major cities in the country including Abuja, Kaduna and Lagos.
These subtle moves were further amplified by some youths in Kaduna who are believed to be loyal to APC and are already adorning T-shirts with the inscription ‘El-Rufai for Presidency 2023’.
The youths in their numbers, on Monday, September 16, had stormed the Kaduna State Government House wearing the shirts under El-Rufai’s ‘nose’ to celebrate the tribunal’s judgement that upheld his governorship election against the candidate of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Isah Ashiru.
Also, posters bearing El-Rufai’s picture for 2023 Presidency were earlier sighted on Kaduna streets, particularly along Gwamna road, in the city centre.
Many are of the view that the campaigns must have a tacit approval from the governor himself since printing of such posters and t-shirts would definitely cost a lot of money.
Reacting to the development, a political analyst in the state noted:
“I don’t see how a volunteer printer in this hard time will use his or her meagre financial resources to print posters and shirts for a politician who is swimming in money.
So there must be an unseen hand funding the project from behind, and very soon, the coast will be clear for all to see the man behind the wheels. Let’s just wait and see how the event will unfold.”
However, reacting to the speculation on El-Rufai’s ambition, the National Coordinator, Buhari Mass Movement (BMM) in the 2015 election and 2019 re-election of President Buhari, Alhaji Basheer Garba Umar said El-Rufai has the constitutional right to gun for the country’s number one position if he so wished.
Umar who also contested the Kaduna governorship elections in 2003 under the platform of National Conscience Party (NCP) and United Nigeria Peoples Party (UNPP) in 2007 respectively without success, added that he is ready to support El-Rufai for the presidential race.
“El-Rufai will have my outright support as I deem him an achiever per excellence and a bridge builder. He is constitutionally qualified as a Nigerian to contest for the office.
He will be able to muster support in his immediate constituency, North West and by extension, Northern Nigeria. Whoever contests with him will surely have some headache as he is a strategist and better than others who feel they can strategize.”
Also in support of El-Rufai’s 2023 Presidential bid was the Chairman of Lere local government area of the state, Alhaji Abubakar Buba, who in a recent news item on the state owned radio station, 90.9 FM, said:
“We will do everything possible to make sure that Governor El-Rufai contests the 2023 presidential election.
The quality and leadership style of Governor Nasir El-Rufai has started attracting agitation from individuals and groups calling on him to contest the 2023 presidential election.”