Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai has ruled himself out of the race for the next president of Nigeria saying age is no longer on his side.
According to him, Nigeria needs someone younger as its leader because of the enormous responsibilities that come with the office.
He submitted that managing Kaduna alone as a Governor has given him grey hairs, not to now think of taking on the responsibility of becoming the leader of Nigeria.
El-Rufai who made the disclosure during an interview with the Pidgin service of the BBC noted that despite what many people think, he has never had a presidential ambition.
In his words, “look at me, look at my grey hair. If you see my picture when I was sworn in, my hair was very black but look at how it has become. This is a very difficult job and that is just state governor, one state out of 36, a big one, yes; a difficult one, yes, but it is not the same as Nigeria,
“President of Nigeria is a very serious job, it is too much for a 62-year-old.”
Questioned however on the possibility of being a running mate to someone else, El-Rufai said he has not given the idea a thought.
But he said the presidency should go to the south when President Muhammadu Buhari completes his tenure in 2023.
He said: “I have not thought about it at all. I have said it that in the political system we have, after eight years of President Buhari, the presidency should go to the south.”
The Kaduna State Governor stated further that many people have called him names and painted him in a bad light because they thought he would be running for the presidency and they don’t want him to get there.
“I have been suffering this presidential ambition suspicion since 2006, I have suffered it for 15 years today, and I am sick and tired of it. There are people that are out to paint me in a particular picture so that, I will be out of the presidential race, but they don’t know that I am not in any race anywhere.
“They have called me all sort of names; they said I am a Hausa-Fulani heredentist, I am Jihadist and all that, Jihadist when? Where? I am not even an active member of any Islamic organization. I am Muslim yes, a devote one but, I believe religion is private. Even here in this office, when it is time for prayer, I just excuse myself as if I am going to the restroom, I don’t ask anyone to come and pray with me, because we will all go to our graves separately.
“Look around me and see, I not surrounded by only Muslims, this government is the only state government in this country that has at least people from 13 other states of the Federation as cabinet members.
“One of the most influential persons in my life, one of my closest political associates is Pastor Tunde Bakare. It was Pastor Tunde Bakare that actually introduced me to Buhari and CPC. I didn’t join the CPC because Buhari lives in Kaduna or he is a northerner. So, if I am an Islamic Jihadist, why will Pastor Tunde Bakare be speaking to me?” El-Rufai asked.