From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has dismissed the declaration of his hitherto political godson and Vice President, Prof Yemi Osibanjo, to contest the 2023 presidential election, stressing that he does not have any son old enough to make such a declaration.
He spoke after a consultative meeting with the APC Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) in Abuja, yesterday, few hours after Osinbajo joined the presidential race. It is widely believed that Tinubu nominated Osinbajo as President Muhammadu Buhari’s running mate in 2015 as part of the political trade-offs that led to the birth of APC.
The governors who met with Tinubu were Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna; Dapo Abiodun of Ogun state; Simon Lalong of Plateau; Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano; Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi; Mai Mala Buni of Yobe; Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos; Hope Uzodimma of Imo; Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa; Muhammad Badaru of Jigawa, and Gboyega Oyetola of Osun.
At a press briefing after the meeting, Tinubu said: “My mission is to seek collaboration, support and encouragement of my party — the APC for my ambition and mission to become the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.”
On the declaration of Osinbajo, who is considered his god-son, Tinubu said: “I don’t have any son grown up enough to make such declaration.”
Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum and Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu, said there was nothing untoward in the APC opting for a consensus candidate during its presidential primary.
He also said there was nothing wrong in Osinbajo declaring to contest against Tinubu.
Asked if the duo contesting for the ticket is putting the governors in tight corner, he replied: “No, no, no. In fact, on the contrary, we appreciate our party because it has become a party that has endeared itself to Nigerians. We have many brilliant people in our party, some serving and some not serving. The fact that we have people in our party that express desire to lead the party into the highest office in electoral contest shows how much our party has resonated with Nigerians and our party members.
“For us, it is a hallmark of success that people are showing interest, but at the end of the day, and because they are leaders of the party, they will always put the party’s interest at heart. We always encourage our party to go for the best. Don’t forget that in the 2015 presidential election primary, President Buhari contested against several others and it was a beautiful contest.
“There is nothing wrong. Members of the party always want to see consensus if it is possible, but we are a democratic party. In our last convention, we had consensus in some of the offices, and election in others. There is always misrepresentation of consensus as if people are being snowballed into positions they would rather not take.”