The core team from which Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State said his likely successor, come 2023, would be picked has been unveiled by this paper.
Sources familiar with the workings of the Kaduna State Government and those close to the governor have given the names of the 11 persons that are members of the El-Rufai core team.
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While featuring on Channels Television’s Politics Today, El-Rufai, when asked to unveil his anointed candidate for the Kaduna State government house come 2023, said his preference is in his core team.
“My preference is in our core team; that is the first 11. I said core team because these are the guys that worked with me since 2014 to organise our party, our campaign and we won and got elected,” El-Rufai said.
El-Rufai’s core team
Topping the list of El-Rufai’s core team is the Kaduna State Deputy Governor, Hadiza Balarabe, who hails from Sanga LGA in the southern part of the state.
Following the governor’s body language none of the key members of his team has indicated interest in the race.
However, an impeccable source in Kaduna told our correspondent that the governor would soon give the nod to two or three members of his core team to contest the governorship of the state.
Next to the deputy governor is the secretary to the state government (SSG), Balarabe Abbas Lawal.
Three commissioners are part of the core team, according to sources. They are Bashir Saidu (Finance), Muhammed Sani Abdullahi (Budget and Planning) and Samuel Aruwan (Internal Security).
At the National Assembly, two out of the three senators from the state are members of El-Rufai’s team 11 – Senator Uba Sani (Kaduna Central) and Senator Sule Kwari (Kaduna North). The third senator from the state, Danjuma Laah (Kaduna South) is of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The four remaining members of team 11 are; Jimi Lawal (Senior Adviser Councillor), Hafiz Bayero (Administrator Kaduna Municipal Authority), Muyiwa Adekeye (Special Adviser Media) and Saude Atoyebi (Deputy Chief of Staff).
Aside from the 11 core team members, Daily Trust gathered that there are three associate members.
Sources gave the names of Alhaji Idris Othman, Hadiza Bala Usman and Peter Jones as the associate members. Jones, it was gathered, until recently had been El-Rufai’s Personal Assistant since 1988.
Jones, Saude Mohammed, Bayero, Aruwan and Adekeye, are said to be in the extension group of young appointees, who are regarded as the mentees of El-Rufai.
It was gathered that the governor and core team will settle for one of the team members.