There is anxiety in the All Progressives Congress (APC) over Minister of Women Affairs Hajia Aisha Alhassan’s comment on President Muhammadu Buhari’s yet undeclared plan to run in 2019.

The minister has been under fire for saying she will not back Buhari, if he wishes to run.

To some party leaders, the remark is “totally unexpected”.

Hajia Alhassan, who ran for governor in Taraba State in 2015, defended her position at the Presidential Villa yesterday.

She said “God gives and takes position” when asked whether she expected to be fired from her position, following her declaration of support for former Vice-President Abubakar Atiku.

Besides, the minister said President Buhari declared in 2015 that he would do one term. She spoke during a visit to the former vice-president and in an interview on BBC Hausa Service.

A party leader said last night. “The remarks rattled us. It is totally unexpected. But it is her view, not a collective opinion.”

Another said the party would meet on the development.

Senator Shehu Sani (APC Kaduna Central) advised the minister to resign.

Sani said: “The difference between that woman who made the statement as a minister and others is that she was open and others are still having it in their minds.

“If she is prepared to work for the former vice-president, she can easily excuse herself from this government and concentrate on what she believes in for 2019.”

A chieftain of the APC in Bayelsa State, Preye Aganaba, said: ”She has a right to her choice but I think she is not being fair. If she wants to make such public statement as a serving minister, she should resign her appointment.”

Aganaba, who expressed confidence in the Buhari administration, however, urged the President to bring into his cabinet “capable hands” who understand the ideal of the change mantra which the party stands for.

“So, I don’t think for now that the APC has any other choice than to re-elect President Buhari, though people are free to contest; nobody is stopping them. This is APC where we usually have free and fair primaries. The last presidential primaries in Lagos, President Buhari won more than half of the votes.

“During the last APC presidential primaries, the campaign slogan for Buhari was ’12 million assured votes’ and I don’t think one single vote has left that 12 million assured votes. In fact, more have even been added.

“I am not bothered about the economy because that will be fixed. For me, I’m looking at the politics of various zones because that will determine how much we win the election. To win, we will win, but by what margin? These are my issues and then if we can also do well at National Assembly elections.

“In government wise, I think we have done well. Yes, may be not where we are supposed to be because we also did not know about what we met when we came in 2015 but we have done well. A few days ago we heard that Nigeria exited the recession. The prices of food stuff are coming down, in Abuja here where I live I get minimum of 20 hours of electricity and some days light doesn’t go off for five days and so on.

“If President Buhari runs election today, he is going to win. I don’t think the President is terminally ill and, like every other human being, people fall sick but the problem is because he is the President, is in government you begin to hear stories, but he is back. I saw him yesterday; he was looking very fresh, atleast he rested very well in Daura.”

Asked by State House reporters why she made the statement, Mrs. Alhassan said: “No, I have no comment. What will I say now? I have said all in BBC Hausa. Get someone who speaks Hausa very well to translate it to you.”

On her relationship with Buhari, she said: “How will I know? I have not seen the President but I don’t think the President is a naive person.”

Asked if she is not afraid of losing her job, she said: “God gives and God takes. That is all and I have said it all in Hausa. You know that there is an end to everything.”

On Buhari supporters attacking her on social media, Mrs. Alhassan said: “Let the will of God be.”

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