Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan, endorses Atiku for President in 2019. Sh**t just got real.
When Alhassan led a delegation to the home of former Nigeria Vice President and APC chieftain, Atiku Abubakar this Sallah, she all but endorsed the 2019 presidential ambition of her host.
"Your excellency, our father the next president come 2019, God willing…”, Alhassan said.
As far as gaffes go (if we’ll consider this one), that has to be right up there among the very best.
In politics, you don't just abandon your boss for another. The English call that a betrayal.
Alhassan’s boss, President Muhammadu Buhari hasn’t ruled himself out of a reelection contest in 2019 even though he’s been battling health concerns midway through his first term.
Alhassan continued in Hausa: “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.
"It was an opportunity for seeing that my people are coming to greet you that is why I used the opportunity to join the entourage to come pay our homage.
"We are all here, this is the party chairman and the other chiefs, I was only chosen to lead the entourage and also as a member of the party (APC)."
Look, we do not know if Buhari will seek reelection in 2019. The best we know is that just last month, a top ranking Aso Rock official revealed to Pulse that Buhari is fit enough for the rigours of another gruelling presidential campaign.
"Buhari is fine. He is very, very fine. He is stronger than he was shortly before he left Nigeria for London”, the top ranking presidency official told Pulse.
Pressed on whether Buhari has fully recovered and if Nigerians should be worried about seeing their president take to the skies soon to tend to his health troubles again, the aide shot back:
“Buhari even runs these days. That’s how fit he is. He has fully recovered. The Doctors didn't keep him in London this long just to have him return there after only a few days.
“Buhari is strong enough to run in 2019. He is physically strong enough for the rigours of another electioneering campaign. Yes. I believe he is even stronger now. Buhari isn’t the kind of person to act drama—to put up a show for the cameras. I worked with Buhari during the electioneering campaign of 2015. I knew how he was, up close and personal and I know how he is now".
It is the clearest indication yet, that Buhari may well seek reelection come 2019.
Or maybe Ministers and Federal Executive Council (FEC) members like Alhassan already know that Buhari wouldn’t run again? Maybe he’s told them he won’t be running? Is that why Alhassan can refer to Atiku as the 'next President come 2019'?
Is Alhassan bored from working in Buhari's cabinet and just wants out?
Alhassan who is fondly called 'Mama Taraba' is no political greenhorn herself and must have chosen her words carefully on the day. She lost the Taraba governorship throne by a judicial ruling. She certainly won't choose to speak off the cuff at a gathering like the one in Atiku's home.
Let’s be clear—Atiku has never hidden his intention to someday run Nigeria as president. He’s been asking for the nation's top job since 1992 when Nigeria had two political parties in SDP and NRC.
Atiku fell out with his then boss, Olusegun Obasanjo, at the inception of the fourth republic because he was considered too ambitious for ‘Baba Iyabo’s’ liking.
Atiku has swapped political parties recently because he just wants to be President.
He lost the PDP primary to Goodluck Jonathan in 2010 and lost the APC primary to Buhari in 2014.
Becoming president is what keeps Atiku up at night. It’s what drives him.
Atiku will become President or die tryin'.
And you can bet he’ll be back in 2019 to ask for votes in his quest to become President.
Maybe Alhassan has shot herself in the foot and could well lose her job for publicly endorsing Atiku at a time her boss hasn’t ruled himself out of the top job for another term?
No one knows just yet.
But one thing we do know is that she just called Atiku the next President of Nigeria in 2019. And coming from a serving minister in Buhari's cabinet, that's huge.
Atiku won’t mind one bit.