There is no love lost between Governor Nasir Elrufai and the former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu.
On Sunday, Mr El-Rufai took another salvo to the presidential ambition of Tinubu, when the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi visited Kaduna State to lobby the statutory delegates.
Three days ago, the Kaduna State delegates had endorsed Tinubu, and pledged their votes to him.
However, on Sunday, the delegates changed their minds after El-rufai presented a convincing argument on why President Muhammadu Buhari loves Amaechi.
“He made the sacrifice to move to our party. It was a game-changer. This is part of the reason President Buhari loves Minister Amaechi till tomorrow,” El-Rufai said.
In the speech, El-Rufai poked a hole in the narrative that Buhari emerged because of the alliance with Tinubu, intead, he stated that it was the defection of Amaechi and the other four governors from the PDP that changed the game for the APC in 2015.
To give it more effect, El-rufai used Amaechi’s traditional title bestowed on him by the Emirate of Daura, Dan Amanar.
This is the continuity of the long history of the cold war between El-Rufai and Tinubu.
In Segun Adeniyi’s book, against the run of play, Tnubu blamed El-Rufai, Bukola Saraki and others for blocking his path towards accessing the presidency.
In 2023, El-Rufai again poked Tinubu when he spoke at an event in Ikoyi, Lagos State. He detailed how to defeat a godfather.
During the question and answer session, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and three-time commissioner in Lagos State, Dr Muiz Banire, had asked El-Rufai how godfatherism could be dealt with.
“Godfatherism. This is Lagos. Let me tell you something sir; you know, Kaduna State used to be like that. There were three or four politicians in Kaduna that you could not become anything unless you had them on your side. Those were the godfathers of Kaduna politics and you had to carry them along and you know, the three words, ‘carry them along’ mean paying them regularly,” he said.
Days after, he reiterated it again, while speaking with journalists after a meeting with President Buhari at the villa.
“I don’t know if he (Tinubu) is the godfather of Lagos. What I know for sure is that we have retired godfathers….If anyone feels offended by that, that’s his business,” he said.
In 2020, El-Rufai took another salvo at Tinubu during a webinar in commemoration of the 63rd birthday of the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola.
“You know I’m your man any day. I’m not Asiwaju’s man and you are Asiwaju’s man, but I am your man any day. Asiwaju and I have differences but you and I have no differences,” he said.
Why Tinubu will be concerned
An analysis by a news platform detailed how the north will decide who emerges as the candidate of the APC due to the number of candidates from the South.
As at the close of submission of forms on Friday, 28 persons bought the presidential forms, but 25 submitted the forms.
Twenty-one aspirants are from the south, while four; Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Sani Yerima (Zamfara), Ahmad Lawan (Yobe) and Yahaya Bello (Kogi) are from the north.
However, in the south, very few States are without aspirants. In the past couple of weeks, the attention of the aspirants have turned to the north, as they visit one State after another.
There is another worry for Tinubu, which is religion. The same factor that stopped him from becoming the Vice President in 2015, appears to be playing out again.
He is limited by the choice of Vice President he could pick from the north. Unless he decides to run a Muslim/Muslim ticket, he will have to settle for vice from either Northeast or Northcentral.
However, with Lawan in the race from Yobe, Northeast will be a battle ground, despite the work of Kassim Shettimah and Babachir Lawan.
Although, El-Rufai has stated that he will not contest for any position in the 2023 election, he, however, said if the President directs otherwise, he will join the race.
In Kano State, Governor Umar Guanduje is battling with massive defection from the APC to the NNPP, the party of former Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso.
Last week, Abdulmumin Jibrin, the DG of Tinubu Support Organisation, also jumped ship to the NNPP.