Election 2023: Buhari does not work against any presidential candidate – FG

The Federal Government has said that the President Muhammadu Buhari is neither for nor against any presidential candidate in the run-up to the 2023 general election.

Information and Culture Minister Lai Mohammed stated this in reaction to Kaduna Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s accusation that ‘Aso villa forces’ are working against the All Progressive Congress (APC) presidential candidate ), Ball Ahmed Tinubu.

Mohammed, who addressed reporters on Wednesday, February 1, after the weekly Federal Executive Council, dismissed the accusation.

El-Rufai had said during a Channels TV show that the people in question were aggrieved that Tinubu defeated their candidate in the June 2022 APC presidential primary.

He said; “I think there are elements in the Villa that want us to lose the elections because they didn’t get away with it; they had their candidate. His candidate did not win the primary.

“They are trying to make us lose the election and they are hiding behind the president’s desire to do what he thinks is right. I’ll give two examples: this oil subsidy, which is costing the country trillions of naira, was something we all agreed would be removed.

“I actually argued with the president and showed him why he had to go. Because how can you have a capital budget of N200b for federal highways and then spend N2 trillion on oil subsidies? This was a conversation I had with the president in 2021 when the subsidy issue started to escalate. He was convinced. We left. The change. Everyone in the government agreed, and it changed.

“The second example that I will give is this redesign of the currency. You have to understand the president. People blame the governor of the Central Bank for the redesign of the currency, but no. You have to go back and look at Buhari’s first outing as president.

“He did this; the Buhari-Idiagbon regime changed our currency and did it secretly in order to catch those who are hiding illicit funds. It is a very good intention. The president has his right. But to do it right now inside of the allotted time makes no political or economic sense.”

But in reaction, the minister said that President Buhari focused on offering free and fair elections to Nigerians and not working against any candidate ahead of the February 25 election.

He said; “On a more serious note, one thing I can assure you is that, no matter who, this administration is focused and determined to ensure a free and fair election. And I think that this administration, and in fact now, the most important person in this regard is the president. I think he has shown in word and deed that he is committed to free, fair and credible elections. And fair, free and credible elections mean favoring or disfavoring no one.”

Mohammed further said that the Presidency is not “officially aware” of anyone in Aso Rock working against Tinubu’s emergence as president in the February 25 election.

“Wherever he goes, he makes it very clear, even last Friday, when he was in Daura. He said the same. So if there is someone who is working against any candidate, we don’t know officially,” he added.

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