Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has claimed that some of his opponents want President Muhammadu Buhari to oppose him in the primary of the ruling party.
This was Tinubu’s response to the reaction that followed his speech to the party’s delegates in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State, on Thursday.
He also pointed in the direction of the governor of the state of Ogun, whom he referred to by his first name in public, stating that he was instrumental in his election.
This was said by the president when the governor declined to endorse him for the presidency in 2023.
In a statement he released on Friday, however, the ex-governor of Lagos stated that his speech in Abeokuta was misrepresented by his opponents in order to present a narrative that he disrespected Buhari in the hopes that such a narrative would persuade the president to oppose his candidacy in the upcoming party primary.
He also pledged to accept the outcome of the party’s June 6-8 presidential primary in Abuja.
“Let me also dispel any uncertainty. My esteem and regard for President Buhari as the nation’s Commander-in-Chief and as a person are high and unwavering. I shall never degrade him. In Abeokuta, I did not behave in this manner. We have been political partners for a very long time, and I hope that this relationship will continue for many years to come. I would not risk it in any way.”
“I feel our party is the nation’s best hope for restoring order. I believe that my future role will be larger than my current one. I also feel that President Buhari will continue to play an important role after he leaves office,” he remarked.
Tinubu asserted that at Abeokuta, he addressed the unfair attacks on his person that have been a part of the campaigns of other presidential candidates, and he emphasised that he retold the history of the party for individuals whose memory need to be refreshed.
“Many individuals played no role in the creation of the APC or in its many victories. Now that the party has reached the political pinnacle, they seek credit for something they had nothing to do with. The same cannot be said about President Buhari. I am proud of my contribution to the formation of the APC and its election victories. President Buhari is, however, the driving force behind this success. He was elected twice as president. For seven years, he has borne the burden of national government. Nothing can compare to that. I would not dare minimise what he has done for the party and the country,” he added.
Tinubu, who stated that his desire to become Nigeria’s president stems from a desire to serve the nation rather than a sense of entitlement to high office, emphasised that governance is a holy and moral job.
His stated purpose was to build upon the foundation established by the Buhari administration.
“I make no apologies for seeking the nomination of the party. I believe that I have something valuable to offer Nigeria that the other candidates do not, despite the fact that I consider them to be decent and devoted Nigerians in their own right. Although I desire this position, there are certain things I will not do and boundaries I will not cross. Never will I diminish myself by disparaging the president or his office. “I would not dare run for office and treat it with contempt,” he stated.
He emphasised that the presidency should not be offered as a favour to an unqualified individual, nor should personal motives be used to hinder the most competent candidate from gaining the post.
“The welfare of more than 200 million humans is in jeopardy. Let us all recognise this and behave accordingly; all I want is a level playing field for all applicants and adherence to the rules and procedures in place. “If, in the fairness of such a process, I do not emerge as the party’s nominee, I will have no qualms about an honest primary and will accept the result as a real democrat,” he concluded.