Tinubu denies backing Lawan, Gbajabiamila for ulterior motives
The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, yesterday described as wrong and unfortunate the insinuation that his support for Ahmed Lawan to become the Senate President and Femi Gbajabiamila Speaker of the House of Representatives was born out of his 2023 presidential ambition.In a statement yesterday, Tinubu’s spokesman, Mr. Tunde Rahman, denied that his boss was supporting both men in preparation for his potential presidential candidacy in 2023.
According to Rahman, “Asiwaju is neither inclined nor sufficiently naïve, to take his eye off the present in the futile attempt to peer through the thick fog that is the future” The APC national leader said the manner in which the incumbent Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara allegedly worked against the interest of President Muhammadu Buhari and that of the party informed his support for Lawan and Gbajabiamila, with the aim of ensuring that both persons loyal to the presidency and the principles of the party hold the two sensitive positions. Tinubu added that it would not have been tactical of him to navigate against the interest of President Buhari and the party by looking elsewhere rather than what would enhance APC and the government to build a viable economy and strong nation.
The statement reads: “We have monitored, with rising incredulity, the rash of news stories claiming Tinubu is manipulating the APC nomination process for the National Assembly leadership. The stories claim this supposed manipulation is the first salvo in Asiwaju’s effort to position himself for a presidential run during the 2023 election cycle.
“Not only are these reports utterly false, baseless as they are in the febrile imaginations of those persons by whom they are being peddled, they are injurious to President Buhari’s historic quest to reform Nigeria. It is for this latter reason that we find cause to speak out where otherwise we would have continued to watch on in silent amusement.
“Nigeria has barely emerged from President Buhari and the APC’s resounding victory in the last election. The President, with the support of an APC majority in both chambers of our National Assembly, is now preparing to lead the nation forward for the next four years. Instead of covering the President’s exciting Next Level agenda and what it promises in terms of economic and social growth and development, these people want to skip ahead to the next election as if they can cast aside the next four years.
“However, the Nigerian people do not elect politicians to office simply to watch on as they manoeuvre and jostle for position at the next election. The people elect those who they believe will be the best public servants, committed to the national wellbeing. This is why they reelected President Buhari while rejecting the horde of political jobbers that constitute the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“The peddlers of these rumours have arrogated to themselves the preternatural ability to read Asiwaju’s mind more than he himself can know it. They also seem to have acquired the unique gift of bending time so that 2023 appears before we even reach the midway point of 2019. If these people would only enlist their uncanny talents in the service of the nation instead of in the service of political intrigue and gossip mongering our country, it would be much the better.”According to Rahman, “this attempt to caricature Asiwaju as if his words and actions are all aimed at grabbing power will fail because this portrait distorts the plain truth.”
The statement described the headlines as sensational and senseless “because they are not grounded in fact.”It further reads: “Asiwaju has not run for elected office since 2003. He last held office in 2007. He has never vied to become chairman of the APC nor has he tried to insinuate himself into any major government office.“If you were asked to name another political figure who has exercised such forbearance, you would be hard pressed to identify another person with a comparable record when it comes to restraint in seeking office. Where others, upon leaving one office, tend to set their eyes immediately upon another, Asiwaju, uniquely in Nigerian politics, has foregone his personal ambitions as his political ideas and policies have flourished in the hands of his allies and mentees.
“This track record does not evince a man obsessed with power and office. While the intrigue-mongers seek to depict Asiwaju as a man hungering for position, his deeds speak of something else. These peddlers of tales do not know the measure of the man nor can understand what motivates him. Thus, they project their own petty ambitions and designs on to him. The rumours reveal more about the mongers than they say about Asiwaju. They merely reveal what these people would do if they were Asiwaju. But they are not him and thankfully he is not motivated by the same selfish designs that fuel such people. Perhaps because these people have nothing to contribute regarding statecraft or providing actual solutions to actual problems, their minds remain forever mired in political machinations.
“What afflicts them does not affect Asiwaju. Since he last held public office, Asiwaju has, with unprecedented success, dedicated himself toward building a political party that would furnish a progressive alternative to the regressive policies of the PDP. Joining forces with President Buhari and others who shared his progressive ideology, he helped form the APC. Since the inception of the APC, Asiwaju’s focus has been to assist President Buhari develop, refine and implement a progressive agenda that would give every Nigerian a fair chance to prosper and provide for his loved ones.
“As he enters his second term, President Buhari has stated that he will give the economy special priority. His goal is to defeat poverty and joblessness while spurring the type of growth and development that will make Nigeria’s a durable and flourishing economy. These goals are laudable and necessary to move Nigeria forward. However, the obstacles before us are vast and complex.”