I Helped Buhari Come Out Of Political Retirement To Become President — Tinubu


I Helped Buhari Come Out Of Political Retirement To Become President — Tinubu

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a presidential aspirant and national leader of the All Progressives Congress, spoke out on Thursday about his role in the election of Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) as President in 2015.

While speaking to Ogun State APC delegates at the Presidential Lodge in Abeokuta, the former Lagos State governor said Buhari vowed not to run for president again after losing in 2003, 2007, and 2011.

Tinubu, on the other hand, claimed he went to Katsina to persuade Buhari to run and then backed him to win in 2015.

Tinubu also slammed one of his fellow APC presidential aspirants, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, saying he nominated him as Buhari's running mate.

Dapo Abiodun would not have been elected governor of Ogun State in 2019, according to Tinubu.

The national leader was accompanied by Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Kano State Governor Umar Ganduje, and former Borno State Governor Kasim Shettima.

Buhari, Nigeria's military Head of State from 1983 to 1984, ran for President on the platform of the now-defunct All Peoples Party in 2003, but lost to Peoples Democratic Party candidate Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

He lost to another PDP candidate, the late Umaru Yar'Adua, in 2007. In 2011, he founded a new party, the Congress for Progressive Change, and ran for president on its platform, but was defeated by Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP.

 In 2014, the CPC, the Action Congress of Nigeria, the All Nigeria Peoples Party, and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance merged to form the APC, on whose platform Buhari ran and won the presidential election in 2015. However, there has been tension in the APC since Tuesday, when Buhari announced that he would choose his successor.

In addition, there are indications that the party will settle for an aspirant chosen by Buhari rather than hold an indirect primary at its convention, which begins on Monday.

One of Tinubu's associates, James Falake, warned the party against adopting a consensus candidate in an interview with The PUNCH on Tuesday, adding that aspirants should be allowed to test their strength through an indirect primary.

On Thursday, Tinubu revealed for the first time how he helped Buhari, Osinbajo, and Abiodun get their current positions.

In recounting the events that led to Osinbajo's selection, Tinubu stated that Buhari wanted him to be his running mate, but a faction within the party led by former Senate President Bukola Saraki rose up against him.

After three defeats, the ex-head of state vowed not to run for president again, according to the former Lagos State governor.

"If it hadn't been for me leading the war front, Buhari would not have emerged," he said. He ran first, second, and third, but lost all three times. He even stated on television that he would not run for office again.

“But I went to his home in Katsina, I told him you would contest and win, but ‘you would not joke with Yoruba matters.

“Since he has emerged, I have not been appointed minister. I didn’t get a contract.

“This time, it’s the Yoruba’s turn and in Yorubaland, it’s my tenure.”

Referring to Abiodun in his remarks, Tinubu said, “This one sitting behind me here, could not have become governor without me? We were at the stadium, they tore all his posters. Even the party flag, they didn’t want to hand over it to him, I was the one who brought it.

“If he wants to meet God at the right place, he must know that he would not have become governor without God and me.”

Tinubu stated that when the APC was formed, he intended to run for president.

"Buhari wanted me to be his Vice President," he added. He claimed that the first time he ran for office, he chose (Chuba) Okadigbo, a flamboyant Catholic, but Nigerians did not vote for him (Buhari). Nigerians did not vote for him the second time he chose another Igbo, Edwin Ume-Ezeoke, that if he brought the Pope to run as his deputy, Nigerians would not vote for him, that 'you, Bola Tinubu, you have six governors, you have never lost an election before, come and be my running mate.'

“He knew all the calculations then favoured us. That was why he wanted me as his running mate, but I told him to let us build the party first. And when we finished building the party, we brought in people from the PDP.  Saraki saw that those from the PDP would not get anything if Buhari, a Muslim becomes the President and me, also a Muslim becomes his deputy. He won’t become the Senate President and the Senate President could not also be a Muslim. That was how they started the campaign of calumny against me.

“And I told them that I had a candidate that is a Christan that I could nominate so that the party would not break. That was how I nominated Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. I surrendered my right to him (Osinbajo).

“I was asked to submit three names, Yemi Cardozo, Wale Edun and Yemi Osinbajo, but I told them if I submitted three names, they would play a game. They may make it four and pick the fourth one.  I gave them one name and that was Osinbajo.”

"It is my time, I'm educated, I'm experienced," he said, explaining why he is the best choice among other aspirants in the South-West. I've been serving you for a long time; give me the presidency; it's my turn.

“When Atiku was being flogged out of the PDP by Obasanjo, he ran to me for help. I let him have the ticket. Nuhu Ribadu came to me and I backed him.

“If not for me that stood behind Buhari, he wouldn’t have become the president. He tried the first time, he failed, the second time, he failed, the third, he failed. He even wept on national television and vowed never to contest again but I went to meet him in Kaduna and told him he would run again and I will stand by him and he will win, but he must not joke with the Yoruba and he agreed.

“Since he became the President, I have never got ministerial slots; I didn’t collect any contract, I have never begged for anything from him, it is the turn of Yoruba, it is my turn.”

In his remarks, Abiodun, who had previously declared his support for Osinbajo's candidacy, refused to endorse Tinubu.

He assured Tinubu that state delegates would "do the right thing" at the convention.

Tinubu was described by Abiodun as a political warrior, serial winner, and strategist.

When reached by phone, Saraki's Media Adviser, Yusuph Olaniyonu, stated, "We are not making any comment."

Attempts to reach the President's Spokesman, Garba Shehu, were also futile, as he did not respond to repeated phone calls or a text message on Thursday night.

Meanwhile, five APC governors met with Vice President Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa on Thursday.

Although the meeting's details were not disclosed, the five governors were identified as Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), and Abiodun Abiodun Abiodun Abiodun Abiodun Abiodun Abiodun Abiod (Ogun).

“The meeting was part of consultations ahead of the primary. We were trying to see those who would step down. Chances look bright for the VP,” the Presidency official said.

The northern governors of the APC are set to meet to select a consensus candidate, who may be from the North, according to The PUNCH.

Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, who is also the Chairman of the Southern Governors' Forum, insisted on Thursday that the APC must choose its presidential candidate from the South.

“The APC must work to retain power. We must rotate power to retain power!!! Rotate to the South. Shikena,” he declared.

Some governors have made moves to settle for Senate President Ahmad Lawan or Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello, both of whom are from the North-East and North-Central, respectively. These two regions have never had a democratically elected President.

According to an aide to one of the northern governors, the emergence of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as the PDP's Presidential candidate has fueled calls for the APC to choose a candidate from the North as well.

He said, “The argument is that the North has the numbers. With Atiku also running, some of the governors believe only a northern candidate can win the ticket for the APC. The northern governors are expected to meet anytime from now to pick a consensus candidate. Many of them actually feel that in the spirit of fairness, the ticket should go to the South.

“However, some of them think otherwise. The refusal of the party to zone its presidential ticket has also left room for this scheming.”

On plans to re-open the sale of forms, the aide said, “It is just four days to the convention. I don’t see how they will re-open sale of forms, get 350 signatures and submit and be screened within such a short time.”

However, a Presidency official who requested anonymity stated that Buhari would not automatically accept candidates proposed by governors.

“The President has asked them to go and deliberate among themselves. By him doing this, it means he is not a dictatorial President. He will speak with different stakeholders including some of the brightest minds across the country that he can consult,” he said.

In a related development, Lawan supporters, led by Senate Chief Whip Orji Kalu, urged Buhari to select Lawan as the APC's consensus presidential candidate.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Kalu insisted that only regional cohesion and consensus can produce a president for Nigeria.

He stated that the earlier Nigerians and presidential aspirants understand that no amount of money can buy the office of President of Nigeria, the better for everyone.

According to Kalu, who represents the Abia North senatorial district in the red chambers, if presidential aspirants continue to throw money in, the majority of delegates will collect the money but vote according to their conscience.

"If money can buy the office of Nigerian president, Late MKO Abiola could have bought it with spare change," he said. Former President Goodluck Jonathan could have bought the presidency in 2015 if money could buy it.

“I urge President Muhammadu Buhari to consider giving Nigeria a man who can give the entire country a sense of belonging, fix our economy, secure all parts of the country, take education very seriously  and protect his legacy.”

Tinubu, Buhari, 2023 Elections

Youtube Channel Image
Regency Reporters Subscribe To See Our latest Videos