The outspoken governor said the opposition party is aware of its imminent defeat and has changed strategy ahead of the forthcoming presidential election.
Concise News reports that the United States and some of its key allies had last month opted to recognise the opposition leader, Juan Guaido, as the legitimate President while ignoring President Nicolas Maduro, who was declared the winner of a controversial election.
El-Rufai said, “What I said is based on intelligence that is available to us that the opposition is preparing grounds to cause a crisis in Nigeria by inviting foreign participation. They are discussing it. They call it the Venezuelan option. They know that they are likely to lose the elections. They are putting out information that they have.
“They have issued a poll showing that they would win. They are procuring the sympathy of the international community to issue statements like the three coordinated statements on the suspension of the chief justice and linking that to the elections as if the government or the ruling party has anything to hide regarding elections.
“They are doing all this to prepare grounds to protest and cause crises in Nigeria and advance their so-called Venezuelan option. You all know what is happening in Venezuela. And we are not going to sit and allow unpatriotic Nigerians to confuse and procure the misguided support of countries that are supposed to be our friends without sounding a note of warning to them.”
The governor in an interview on NTA’s Tuesday Live had said that those who attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of the country would return to their countries in body bags.
El-Rufai said international observers were free to do their work but warned them against intervening.
He said, “Those that are calling for anyone to come and intervene in Nigeria, we are waiting for the person that would come and intervene, they would go back in body bags.”
While clarifying his controversial statement, El-Rufai said he was not in any way promoting the killing of foreigners.
He added, “We welcome international observers. We invited them. And we want them to be part of the process and we will protect them but they are here to observe and not to intervene or to provide the foundation for crises in Nigeria which is what the PDP is preparing for.
“It is their ultimate last option and we are aware of it. This is the essence of my statement and I don’t want anyone to confuse my statement to mean that Nigerians will kill any foreigner they see.”