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Alhassan ‘apologises’ to APC over pro-Atiku comment



Aisha Alhassan, minister of women affairs and social development, has apologised for openly endorsing Atiku Abubakar, former vice-president, the All Progressives Congress (APC) said Thursday.

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

Her open declaration of support for Atiku had raised dust within the APC as well as the presidency. It had also put her at odds with party chieftains, including governors.

On Thursday, Naija Newspapers reported that she appeared before the national working committee of the APC, to enable the ruling party “understand” her comments.

Subsequently, Bolaji Abdullahi, the party’s spokesman, told journalists that the minister apologised for putting the party in a “difficult situation”.

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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