The minister referred to the former VP as Nigeria's president for 2019 during a courtesy visit.
This was revealed in a video that surfaced online on Tuesday, September 5, 2017, where the minister referred to the former Vice President as 'next president come 2019.'
As part of a delegation paying a courtesy visit to Atiku, the former Taraba state gubernatorial candidate, speaking in the Hausa language, said, "Your excellency, our father the next president come 2019, God willing. In your presence are your people, your supporters who will continue supporting you till forever.
"The people of Taraba state came to give their felicitations for the Sallah celebration and to rejoice with you on the achievement God has given you. For sure, God has already blessed you, this is like a reminder."
Atiku has contested for the president's seat a number of times, losing to the late President Umaru Yar'Adua in the 2007 presidential elections and losing in the primaries to eventual winners President Goodluck Jonathan and President Buhari in the 2011 and 2015 presidential elections respectively.