Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufa’i, yesterda said he feels neither remorse nor need for apology for his comment on defeating the Lagos State godfathers.
Governor el-Rufa’i had penultimate Saturday in Lagos recommended ways to retire godfathers in the country, pointing out that the template had worked in Kaduna state.
The governor boasted that he defeated and retired four political godfathers in Kaduna State, saying the feat could be replicated anywhere, including Lagos State.
He added that the fact that only one million out of the six million registered voters in Lagos voted in the last general elections was an opportunity to end the influence of godfathers in the state.
“Connecting with the people; the tin godfather, you will retire him or her permanently. But it is hard work; it requires three to four years of hard work. So, if you want to run in 2023, you should start now.” he said.
It was widely believed that the comment was targeted at a national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and el-Rufa’i was met with a tidal wave of criticism from party members and critics after the comment.
But speaking after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, at the State House, el-Rufa’i said if anybody feels offended with the comment, that’s his business.
“There is no dispute between me and anyone in the APC, the APC is one family; I don’t dispute with my own party. They may dispute with me but I don’t. I made comments in Lagos about how to retire godfathers; it’s a template that we have used in Kaduna and it has worked.
“If anybody thinks he is a godfather, the template may apply to him but I’m not in dispute with anyone. I expressed my views firmly and very clearly; there is no human being that I am afraid to express my views on, and when I am ready to express my views specifically on a particular name then I will do so but I haven’t.
“I made a general statement but people have gone in to overdrive, creating fake news, abusing me and so on. I am thick-skin,” he said.
Asked whether he is in good terms with Tinubu, he said, “we are in the same party, we get along very well as I know.
On whether he would want Tinubu to be retired, he said he doesn’t know whether Tinubu is the godfather of Lagos state or not. “I don’t know if he is the godfather of Lagos, it’s up to him to say that. What I know for sure is that we have retired godfathers in Kaduna and I have told those that asked me the question that ‘there are six million registered voters in Lagos but only one million voted,’ in the last election.
“So there are five million people that you can bring into the electoral play ground and you can defeat anyone if you work hard. It’s hard work, it’s four years. That is what I said and if anyone feels offended by that, that is his business or her business,” he said.
El-Rufa’i added that, “I have no recommendations to Lagos; I am the governor of Kaduna state; I know Kaduna politics pretty well and I played my role in my party towards the success of the party. I have no recommendation for anyone; I am just saying, if I am asked a question and I gave an answer, anyone that feels offended by the answer, it’s his own business.
“I have no apologies; I don’t apologize for my views. My views are thought-out and I put them there. I don’t have to explain anything to anyone. This is a democracy, and in a democratic space, there must be room for people to express their views. You can disagree, you can abuse me if you don’t like my views but that is it.”