Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajia Aisha Jummai Alhassan, popularly known as Mama Taraba, has admitted that her statement that she will not support President Muhammadu Buhari for the 2019 presidential election was made out of indiscretion and has apologized to the party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has said.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi told newsmen after over two hours meeting of the National Working Committee with the Minister that she has accepted her fault and the fact that the timing of her statement was wrong and apologized to the party.
The Minister who arrived the APC National Secretariat at about 1.50 pm for a meeting with the National Working Committee did not leave the secretariat until 4.05 pm after a lengthy meeting with the leadership.
Abdullahi who escorted the Minister to her car told newsmen that the Minister fondly called Mama Taraba was at the secretariat on the invitation of the party.
He said the party recognized the right of the Minister to say what he said, but was of the view that with her position in the government and he party, the timing of her statement was wrong and capable of sending the wrong signal to Nigerians.
He said: “Since the issue of the comment she made came up, the party has not said anything regardless of what individuals may have told you because we are a party that recognized the right of her members to express their opinions or views.
“We also had an opportunity to discuss with the minister to understand what she said and in what context she said so before we know how to respond. So, 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 these explanations.
“Now, having offered her explanations, 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 statements represent an act of indiscretion because with the kind of position she occupies even 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.
“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 that if she had put the party in any difficult position, she apologised.
“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?’
“She has a right to her choice and to support whoever she wants to support. Afterall, she is not saying she supports a member of another party. But what we are saying is that with the position she occupies, she ought to have exercised greater sense of discretion and better judgment knowing that making that kind of statement would definitely create some other situations for the party, if not for the government.
The APC spokesman said the party never discussed the option of resigning with the Minister saying “that did not come up. What we just said was that we understand the context in which she said what she said, but it was an act of indiscretion for someone occupying the position she is occupying in the party to make that kind of statement.
“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.
“Atiku 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. It is not that she had no right to say what she had said”.