Men's Roundtable: Aisha Alhassan and the burden of loyalty

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The Men's Roundtable

The Minister of Women Affairs has come in for serious condemnation after she openly declared her loyalty to the former Vice President.

Minister of Women Affairs, Senator Aisha Alhassan, stirred the hornet's nest when she openly declared her loyalty and endorsement of former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, for the 2019 presidential election.

During a private visit to Atiku at the last Sallah celebration, Alhassan who is popularly called Mama Taraba, allegedly addressed the ex-VP thus:

“Your excellency, our father and our president by the grace of God come 2019. Before you are your people, your supporters for life, the people of Taraba State.

They are here to show our homage and to greet you on the occasion of Sallah and for all that Allah has done to you because Allah has raised your status.

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We heard that they are coming to extend their greetings, so we said we have to be part of this and we all come to you. Chairman of the party, come out chairman; he is our leader because he is the chairman of the party; I was only made the leader of the delegation.

 

Here are some of the party officials; Everybody here is asking to be allowed to say something but I said no, Baba should be left alone; you are tired.”

What was a private discussion between her and Atiku, himself a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress [APC],  became public knowledge when a video of the visit was leaked and published by a news website, dailynigerian.com.

With the heat generated by the comments above, Alhassan came out with guns blazing, and unlike many turn coat politicians, stood her grounds:

“Atiku is my godfather even before I joined politics. And again, Baba Buhari did not tell us that he is going to run in 2019.

Let me tell you today that if Baba said he is going to contest in 2019, I swear to Allah, I will go before him and kneel and tell him that ‘Baba I am grateful for the opportunity you gave me to serve your government as a Minister, but Baba just like you know, I will support only Atiku because he is my godfather. If Atiku said he is going to contest.”

Since she made the now vexed statement, Mama Taraba has then been seen by many as not only a traitor but a disloyal mole in the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

Some members of the party have been calling for her head with many urging the President to sack her, expel her from the party or take actions to stem her growing influence.

In response to those calling for her sack, she said:

"If because of what I said, I am sacked, it will not bother me because I believe in Allah, that my time has elapsed that is why.

Baba is not a mad man like those calling for my sack. They have been sending it and spreading that if Baba sees this I will be sacked.”

Shortly after that, a report purportedly emanating from the Audit Department of the Presidency came out accusing her of using a whopping N12 million to inspect some ghost projects, all in an attempt to paint Mama Taraba as corrupt.

But those who know her say Alhassan's support for Atiku is not a new thing as she has always been with him even before going into full-time politics and has continued to be loyal to him even though she is a serving minister in the present government.

Insiders say she was Atiku's nominee in the government after she narrowly lost the 2015 gubernatorial elections in Taraba State to incumbent Governor, Darius Ishaku, a clear testament to the fact that she has remained grateful and faithful to Atiku.

Many have, however, questioned her loyalty to Buhari and wonder why she should be in his government and pledge allegiance to another.

But one thing we must give to Alhassan is her courage, integrity, and honesty in standing up to her statements instead of trying to spin off tales to exonerate herself. She has shown that she is one person that can be trusted as far as loyalty is concerned.

As far as she is concerned, she has the right to say her comments as long as freedom of speech is entrenched in the constitution of Nigeria and does not care whose Ox is gored.

 

As a citizen of the country, she has every right to express her opinion and President Buhari has once again, displayed his maturity by not playing to the gallery and sacking her as many have clamored.

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However, though she has expressed her opinion, it is also worthy of note that as a serving Minister in the present government, her comments smack of insubordination, betrayal, and breach of trust.

Many are of the opinion that if she is disenchanted with the government and does not see any good in it, should resign, especially as her mentor, Atiku, has not come out to declare his intentions to run for the presidency in 2019.

Or has he?



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