The federal government has said that it is not aware of some people in the Presidential Villa working against the victory of the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the February 25, 2023 elections.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this on Wednesday while reacting to the allegations by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State that some people in Aso Rock were working to frustrate Tinubu while featuring as a guest on Channels Television breakfast programme,) Sunrise Daily.
The minister said officially, government was not aware of anyone within the Presidential Villa engaging in such action.
He said the government had been fair to all candidates regardless of party affiliation and that President Muhammmadu Buhari had consistently demonstrated that he was for free, fair and credible elections.
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The minister, who was asked to react after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, said: “On a more serious note, one thing I can assure you is that no matter what, this administration is focused, determine to ensure a free and fair elections. But I think with this administration, the most important person is Mr. President and I think he has shown by words and by deeds that he is committed to free, fair and credible election.
“And fair, free, credible election actually means not favouring anybody or disadvantaging anybody. And everywhere he goes, he makes that very clear even as recently as Friday when he was in Daura, he said the same thing.
“If there’s anybody working against a candidate, we don’t know officially.”
El-Rufai had said the saboteurs in Aso Rock were those whose candidates lost at the party’s presidential primary and are still bitter.
He said: ”I believe there are elements in the Villa that want us to lose the election because they didn’t get their way; they had their candidate. Their candidate did not win the primaries.
“They are trying to get us to lose the election and they are hiding behind the president’s desire to do what he thinks is right.
“I will give two examples: this petroleum subsidy, which is costing the country trillions of Naira, was something that we all agreed would be removed. In fact, I had a discussion with the President and showed him why it had to go. Because how can you have a capital budget of N200b for federal roads and then spend N2 trillion on petroleum subsidy? This was a conversation I had with the President in 2021 when the subsidy thing started rising. He was convinced. We left. It changed. Everyone in the government agreed, and it changed.
“The second example I will give is this currency redesign. You have to understand the President. People are blaming the Governor of the Central Bank for the currency redesign, but No. You have to go back and look at the first outing of Buhari as President. He did this; the Buhari, Idiagbon regime changed our currency and did it in secrecy with a view to catching those that are stashing away illicit funds. It is a very good intention. The President has his right. But doing it at this time within the allotted time does not make any political or economic sense.”
Tinubu had, during his rally in Ogun State, claimed some fifth columnists in government using the fuel and new naira notes crisis to sabotage the party’s electoral chances.
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele subsequently extended the deadline of phasing out the old naira notes few days after his Tinubu’s remarks on scarcity fuel and new naira notes.