“Tinubu would rather live with the identified inadequacies in the government for the sake of fulfilling and preserving his presidential ambition in 2023.”
– Tackles president, APC
Fred Itua, Abuja
Twenty-four hours after former governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, alleged that Senate President, Bukola Saraki, exited the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) because he was not promised a return ticket, the latter has fired back.
In a lengthy statement he personally signed, yesterday, Saraki described Tinubu’s support for President Muhammadu Buhari’s second bid as selfish. He said Tinubu is supporting Buhari’s re-election with the assurance that power would return to the South West geographical zone, his zone, in 2023.
While lashing out at Tinubu, Saraki did not spare the APC and Buhari. He accused the president of treating the National Assembly with disdain, while labeling APC as “a party, which ignores justice, equity, and inclusion as basic pre-condition for peace, unity and stability.”
Saraki wrote: “Tinubu himself will recall that during the various meetings he had with me at the time he was pursuing reconciliation within the party, I raised all the above issues.
“I can also vividly recall that he always expressed his displeasure with the style of the government and also mentioned that he had equally suffered disrespect from the same government, which we all worked to put in office. I also made the point that whatever travail I have gone through in the last three years belongs to the past and will definitely not shape my decisions now and in the future.
“However, during those meetings, the point of disagreement between me and him is that while I expressed my worry that there was nothing on ground to assure me that the administrative style and attitude would change in the next four years, in a manner that would enable us deliver the positive changes we promised to our people, he (Tinubu) expressed a strong opinion that he would rather ‘support a Buhari on the hospital stretcher’ to get a second term because, in 2023, power will shift to the South West. This Tinubu’s viewpoint was not only expressed to me, but to several of my colleagues. So much for acting in national interest.
“It is clear that while my own decision is based on protecting collective, national interest, Tinubu would rather live with the identified inadequacies in the government for the sake of fulfilling and preserving his presidential ambition in 2023. This new position of Tinubu has only demonstrated inconsistency, particularly when one reviews his antecedent over the years.
“Again, let me reiterate my position that my uncertain and complex relationship with Tinubu has been continually defined by the event of 2014, when myself and other leaders of the APC opposed the Muslim-Muslim ticket arrangement about to be foisted on the APC for the 2015 polls.
“It should be noted that he has not forgotten the fact that I took the bull by the horns and told him that in the interest of the country, he should accept the need for the party to present a balanced ticket for the 2015 general elections, in terms of religion and geo-political zones. Since that time, he has been very active, plotting, at every point, to undermine me, within and outside the National Assembly.
“It is a surprise to me that Asiwaju Tinubu is still peddling the falsehood about the fact that my defection is about automatic ticket and sharing of resources. Members of the public will recall that when the issue of my decision to quit APC came to the fore and many APC leaders were holding meetings with me, a newspaper owned by the same Tinubu published a false report about the promise of automatic ticket, oil block and other benefits.
“I immediately rebutted their claims and categorically stated that I never discussed any such personal and pecuniary benefits with anybody. My challenge that anybody who has contrary facts should come forward with them still remains open.”
Maintaining that he had always restrained himself from responding to Tinubu, Saraki said he could no longer sit back and allow the falsehood to continue to hold sway in the public domain.
Said he: “I‘ve always restrained from joining issues in the media with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and this is based on my respect for him. However, I will not allow him to create a wrong, false and mischievous impression about the reasons for my decision to exit the APC and present his prejudices as facts for public consumption.
“I‘ve been consistent in my complaints to all leaders of the APC, including Tinubu, that a situation where the National Assembly is not constructively engaged or carried along in key policy decisions, particularly those that will eventually require legislative approval, is not in the best interest of the nation.
“No genuine leader of the legislature will be comfortable that the Presidency will simply write a terse letter to the National Assembly on key issues, which the federal legislature is expected to later deliberate upon and give its approval. The Buhari administration consistently treats the legislature with contempt and act as if the lawmaking body should be an appendage of the Executive. To me, that is unacceptable.
“In the same way, I find it very objectionable that many stakeholders who worked strenuously to get the administration into office have now been excluded in the government and not consulted on key decisions as necessary and expected. In fact, some of them are treated as pariah. A party, which ignores justice, equity and inclusion as basic precondition for peace, unity and stability cannot sustain its membership and leadership.
“It should be known that democracy is a system, which allows people to freely make their choice. It is my choice to join others to present a viable alternative platform for Nigerians in the coming elections. Tinubu and leaders of the APC had better respect this decision or lawfully deal with it. As for me, Allah gives power to whom He wishes. Human beings can only aspire and strive to fulfill their aspirations.”