El Rufai’s visit to SDP: Dynamics are shifting, SDP party Chair says

Recently, the former Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai visited the National Secretariat of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), this move unsettled the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and sparked a lot of political debate.

El-Rufai who is also a Chieftain of the APC and played a key role in the emergence of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in 2023 presidential election, also visited the former Military Head of State, Ibrahim, Badamosi Babangida, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the immediate past President Muhammadu Buhari in their hometowns.

Shehu Musa Gabam, National Chairman of SDP who appeared on a TVC programme ‘Politics on Sunday’ anchored by Femi Akande, said that the visit of El-Rufai to his party’s secretariat indicates that the dynamics are changing.

Gabam said his relationship with El-Rufai predates 1999 and he wondered why Nigerians will misinterpret or interpret it the way that suits them.

Furthermore, the SDP informed the public that President Tinubu or the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu can visit his party secretariat because they are friends.

“Sometimes when you listen to these debates in the public space, you wonder where the brouhaha is coming from, what is the genesis of it.

“First and foremost, my relationship with Mallam Nasir El Rufai predates 1999, I knew him long before then, and we have been close. Coming to the SDP secretariat, I don’t know why it is so special that people misinterpret or interpret how it suits them. There are a lot of politicians of the APC that have visited me, other parties have visited me.

“Do not forget that not too long ago, Al Mustapha came to my office and people were speculating that he is decamping to SDP, will you be surprised if President Bola Tinubu visits SDP? He knows me and I know him, will be surprised if the National Security Adviser, who happens to be my brother and friend, visits me?

“I am not surprised that people are talking about SDP. A lot people need to understand that the dynamics are shifting, a lot of interests are keying in and of course that will not stop people from discussing, some of us that are career politicians, we understand the difference between relationship and political interest, we value relationship more than political interest, political interest can shift, but relationship remains.

“So, what we are trying to do is not to be like and ordinary greedy politician, who believe that if I have issue with you and I visited you, then I become his enemy, I wasn’t trained that way, I was trained as a well-established politician who is open to a lot of discussions and conversations.

“I will not be part of anything that will pull down the roof, we contributed tremendously to the stability of this country, it takes a man who is suffering from insanity to think of pulling down the roof.

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“What the government should do when such things are happening is to look at issues very widely in a civilized manner and look at the way and manner they can make capital out of it, not to suggest and also think that there’s always very terrible or subterranean meetings to undermine the institution of government. What is the benefit of it? he said.

Gabam further explained that SDP visited the former Kaduna State Governor in his house to break Ramadan fasting, before he reciprocated with a visit to the party’s secretariat.

Speaking on the economy, the SDP party Chair said that President Tinubu would have applied gradual removal of the petrol subsidy instead of total removal of subsidy owing to the fact that Nigeria was experiencing several challenges at that period.

He said the President would have formed his cabinet first, then sought their input on subsidy removal, remove 5 percent of the subsidy, and observe the impact of the removal for taking the next step.

“The country is suffering from food supply, insecurity, banditry, then you removed 400 per cent subsidy, there is no way you wouldn’t have gone through what you went through, that was too sudden”, he noted.

The SDP Chieftain said in the last one week, he saw a deliberate attempt from the government to see how they can revive the economy. He said it has to go beyond that because it is also going to create inflation with the current interest rate.

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