The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has said former Presidents, the late Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan, almost put him in prison because they thought he was a threat to their presidential ambitions.
El-Rufai, in an interview published in The Point, said although Jonathan was his very close friend from when he was the deputy governor of Bayelsa State, he persecuted him because he believed those who told him that he (El-Rufai) was a threat to his second term ambition.
The governor said his persecution started in 2006 when he was in charge at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
He said, “Jonathan was convinced by his own circle too that I was a threat and that if he was going for a second term in office, he had to take me out of the race. And so, Jonathan continued the persecution that Yar’Adua started.
“I have been associated with running for President, as I said, since 2005, 2006, about 15 years. I’ve suffered for this, I’ve even been exiled for it and Jonathan tried to put me in prison for it.
“My name being mentioned with regard to presidential aspiration has been on since 2006, since I was running the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. People were speculating that the then President Olusegun Obasanjo was preparing to hand over to me. It was part of the reasons I was exiled. The late President Yar’Adua was told, according to those around him, that Obasanjo shortlisted two names to succeed him –
Yar’Adua’s name and mine. It was totally false.
“But Yar’Adua believed that, and he thought that I was a threat, and all the hullabaloo, lies and persecution that got me exiled for 23 months were as a result of that.”
He maintained that no one could intimidate or blackmail him into doing what he would not do unless they offered superior logic.
On the insecurity in Kaduna State, he said the government was working hard, and using the carrot and stick approach to gradually solve the problem.