After meeting with the Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Aisha Alhassan, for over two hours, the leadership of the All Progressives Congress has claimed that she apologised to it over her recent declaration of support for former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar should he decide to contest the 2019 presidential election over her boss, President Muhammadu Buhari. The party, however, said it acknowledged the fact that Alhassan was entitled to her opinion and her choice.
Visiting Atiku during Sallah, Alhassan said she would support the former vice-president for the presidency should he contest in 2019 presidential election. She reiterated her stance in a subsequent interview with the BBC.
Alhassan arrived at the APC national secretariat at about 2 pm Thursday and went straight to the office of the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, where she held discussions with the leadership.
Addressing journalists after the meeting with the minister, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said she accepted her error and apologised.
“Now, having offered her explanation, we acknowledged that as a member of this party, she is entitled to her opinion and 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, so what she said was not what she was supposed to say at the time that she said it.
“She ought to have exercised greater judgment than she did and she acknowledged that yes, may be the timing was wrong and she apologised, saying that ‘if she had put the party in any difficult position, she apologises’,” he said.
Abdullahi said the party deliberately did not react formally to the report of Alhassan’s outburst because it wanted to hear her out.
“We had wanted to have an opportunity to hear from the minister on why she acted in the manner that she did. As a senior member of this party and the administration, her comment amounted to an act of indiscretion,” he said.
He said the party’s leadership, after hearing from her, cautioned her for not exercising discretion in the manner she presented the matter.
Surprisingly, the embattled minister came out of the closed door meeting smiling as she made her way to her brown coloured Mercedes SUV.
When asked about her mission to the secretariat, Alhassan said she would leave the spokesman to speak to the reporters who spoke to her.
Speaking shortly after he escorted the minister to her waiting car, Abdullahi confirmed that the party invited her for discussions.
When asked if the party asked her to resign from the cabinet, Abdullahi said, “No, 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.”