Aisha Alhassan Apologises To APC Over 2019 Election Comment

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Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development Hajia Aisha Jummai Alhassan— who last week said she would not support President Muhammadu Buhari should he decide to seek reelection in 2019 —has apologised for her “indiscretion”, the All Progressives Congress (APC)  said yesterday.

Last week, the minister had said she would support Abubakar for president in 2019 even if President Muhammadu Buhari decides to run.

Though there was no official reaction from the APC or presidency, several Buhari acolytes fell over themselves to condemn her decision not to support the president, with some even calling for her sack from the cabinet.

National Publicity Secretary Bolaji Abdullahi told reporters after the meeting that Hajia Alhasan had accepted her fault, adding that while she had a right to give support to whosoever she like, the timing of her statement was wrong.

He said although Alhassan is entitled to her opinion and choice as a member of the party, the timing of the comments was wrong since “2019 is still far away”.

He said: “When she came, we asked her to explain to us what truly transpired and in what context she said what she said and she did offer the explanation.

“Now, having offered her explanation, we acknowledged that as a member of this party, she is entitled to her opinion and she is entitled to her choice.

“However, as a senior member of this party, her statement represents an act of indiscretion because with the kind of position she occupies within the party, she is a party leader in her own right, what she said was not what she was supposed to say at the time that she said it.

“If this was 2018 and the people have filed their applications to say they are contesting and she now comes out and says she is supporting this person, how can that be an issue? But we are still in 2017. We are still far away.

“(Former Vice President) Atiku (Abubakar) has not said he is contesting. He has not collected any form. He has not announced to anybody that he is contesting. So, that is what we mean by the timing.

“I want you to take note of the fact that nobody is questioning her right to take the position she has taken. We have not come out to say, ‘why are you saying you are supporting this person?

“(But) she ought to have exercised greater judgement than she did and she acknowledged that yes, maybe she ought not to have. Maybe the timing was wrong and she apologised if she had put the party in any difficult position.”

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