I was not banned from Aso Rock, says El-Rufai

The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has debunked claims he was banned from the Aso Rock Villa, saying nobody can stop him from visiting the place.

Mr. El-Rufai made this known while addressing State House correspondents after joining President Muhammadu Buhari for the weekly prayer at State House Mosque, Abuja.

Reports on the social media indicated Mr. El-Rufa’i was banned from the Presidential Villa for leaking a memo he wrote to Mr. Buhari on Sept. 22, 2016.

In the memo, the governor alerted the president he was losing the vision and the momentum with which the All Progressives Congress (APC) started its Change Agenda.

He also advised the president to effect changes in the leadership of some federal agencies and establishments and to communicate constantly with Nigerians, so they will know the plans of his government.

However, Mr. El-Rufai said he stopped frequenting the villa because according to him, the president needed quality time to rest and also attend to challenges of governance.

“No one ever stopped me from coming to the villa and no one can stop me from coming to the villa,” he said.

“As a governor, I come here, I have blank cheques. No one checks me at the gate but I believe what the president needs is for those that love him to keep away from him and allow him to rest.

“The president needs quality time to rest because it is meeting too many people that strain leadership.
“I am a governor and I know that when I meet 10 people in a day, I get really tired. It is not the paperwork, it is not really the memos approving them or asking questions that strain a leader, it is the stream of visitors.

“I do not want to contribute to the president’s problem by coming here every day. I am in touch with him.”

The governor, therefore, appealed to Nigerians to show understanding and love to the president by allowing him to rest and also concentrate more on his private and official engagements.

Continuing, he said, “Let me appeal to all of us that love the president to please allow him some space so that he will recover.

“We need him and the country needs him, it is in our interest for the stability of the country, we should just let him be.

“It is absolutely necessary lets us leave him to do his work in the privacy of his room or his office without strings of visitors. Visitors stress leaders.’’

Mr. El-Rufa’i also described his relationship with Mr. Buhari as cordial, saying that the relationship had never been strained in any way.

He, however, acknowledged that there were people within the presidency “that like me and there are those who don’t and it is normal.

“My relationship with the president has never been strained in any way. I met with him last night,
“I did not talk about things like that but our relationship with him is like that of father and son and it is a privilege for me.’’

Meanwhile, Chief Imam of the State House Mosque, Sheik Abdulwaheed Sulaiman, has called on Muslims and Christians to unite as brothers and sisters given the common Abrahamic origin of their religions.

Mr. Sulaiman made the call during the weekly at the Mosque attended by the president, some members of the National Assembly, ministers, and governors.

The cleric stressed the need for unity among the followers of the two major religions, asking them to share kindness and hospitality.

“We all belong to God and to Him, we will be going back,’’ he said.

Suleiman also urged all Nigerians to continue to support the administration of President Buhari ‘’as it fights corruption and insecurity in the land, at the same time seeking economic recovery and prosperity for all’’.

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