Senator Aisha Alhassan, Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, declared on Wednesday that those criticizing her Sallah visit to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar in Yola were being “mischievous”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quotes commentators on social media as alleging that Alhassan’s visit, during which she made philosophical comments on the 2019 presidential contest, was a tacit support for Abubakar’s presidential ambition.
They also alleged that it signified disloyalty to her current boss, President Muhammadu Buhari, who may still be interested in seeking a fresh mandate.
But Mrs. Alhassan, in a telephone interview with NAN, said that her Sallah homage to Abubakar did not amount to disloyalty to Buhari.
She explained that Abubakar had remained her political mentor over the years and was still a stalwart of the All Progressives Congress (APC), adding that her loyalty to Buhari and his administration, which she serves as a minister, was “unshakeable”.
The minister accused her “political detractors” of “amplifying and misinterpreting” the visit so as to smear her image because they were afraid of her growing political strength in Taraba.
“In a nation where politicians are quick to dump the people that assisted them to get to where they are, for political expediency, I have chosen to maintain a long standing family relationship with Abubakar, as well as Buhari, who I consider as a father."
“Besides, neither Buhari nor Abubakar has officially told anyone of an interest in seeking election in 2019,” she said.
Declaring that power comes from God, she said that if she loses her job because of her visit, she would consider it as the will of God.
She urged Nigerians to support the policies and programs of the Buhari administration because it was time for governance and not yet time for politicking.
NAN recalls that criticisms have continued to trail the minister’s pronouncements over the 2019 presidential contest during a Sallah homage to Abubakar on Sept. 4, 2017, with many viewing it as a campaign for Abubakar.