Seeking the Presidency is My Lifelong Ambition, Says Tinubu

•Informs Buhari of his intention to contest in 2023

•Says he is not done consulting, boasts capacity to succeed current govt

•Dismisses anything unusual in kingmaker becoming king

•Knocks PDP for creating nation’s woes APC is trying to solve

Deji Elumoye

A national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, yesterday, described as his lifelong ambition, the nation’s presidency and disclosed that he had decided to give it a shot in 2023.

Thus, as part of steps to realising this ambition, Tinubu formally made his aspiration known to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, clearing years of speculations about his intentions.

Tinubu, who by his disclosure, put paid to speculations around his ambition, told newsmen after a meeting with Buhari at the State House, that, “I’ve informed the president of my intention, but I have not informed Nigerians yet. I’m still consulting. And I have no problem consulting. I’ve not set a parameter of limitation to the extent of how many people I will consult.

“You will soon hear. All you want to hear is the categorical declaration. You’ve gotten that truth from me that I have informed Mr. President of my ambition, and you don’t expect more answers than that.”

Asked what the response of the president was to his ambition, the former two-time Lagos State governor replied, “That’s our business. He is a democrat. He didn’t ask me to stop. He didn’t ask me not to attempt and pursue my ambition, which is a lifelong ambition.

“So, why do I expect him to say more than that? You are running a democratic dispensation, and you must adopt the principles and the values and the virtues of democracy. That’s it.”

Tinubu also said he was at the Villa to see the president on wide-ranging national issues, “including our political party, APC, security issues, the achievement, and the New Year Agenda.”

He stated that it was not in his character to discuss other presidential hopefuls, saying he is out to market himself, as he possesses the capacity and vision to lead Nigeria, having successfully governed Lagos State.

The APC leader stated, “I don’t want to discuss individuals now. I must discuss myself. I have the confidence, the vision, the capacity to rule, build on the foundation of Mr. President, and turn Nigeria better. I’ve done that with commitment, you know, in Lagos State. You’ve seen that experience and the capacity to turn things around and that is what we are doing.”

On whether it wouldn’t be ideal for him to remain a kingmaker instead of becoming a king himself, Tinubu emphasised that there was nothing wrong in a kingmaker aspiring to be king. He said, satirically, that he had never seen the cap of a kingmaker before.

Tinubu explained further, “That is the truth. And I’ve never seen where it is written in the rulebook anywhere in any country that a kingmaker cannot be a king, unless you commit murder. So, whatever is your attribute is your own opinion. Me, I want to pursue my ambition without the title of a kingmaker. You can write your literature and your story based upon your own perception.”

On the Electoral Act Amendment Bill that was rejected by the president, the APC leader stressed the need for both the executive and the legislative arms to collaborate and come up with a realistic electoral bill.

He said, “The National Assembly and the president must be encouraged to review the Electoral Act Bill again and again. Whatever they come up with, as electoral amendment, is what we must comply with. There is no unlimited elasticity in what we face, because we have to plan and plan well, and be able to manage the time effectively.

“The great roadmap to success is ability of a leader to do what he must do at the right time that it should be done. So, that to me, the electoral amendment bill, we will still look at that collectively. And it is our country. It’s our democracy. We had adopted it and we will push it.”

Tinubu took a swipe at the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the mess Nigeria found itself before APC came to power in 2015, saying the drift is being corrected by the Buhari administration.

He said, “You know, the confusion, the drift of the past in PDP, is being corrected. And you can’t take away from that. As we are today, go back to the data on how many barrels of oil we were producing, when we first came in and what it is today. We could not even at the time we came in pay the counterpart funds to start our rail line.

“Today, you enjoy the comfort of having rail from Lagos to Ibadan, you have the Kaduna and you have the one for Kano State in the pipeline, you see excellent infrastructure. I just came from Azare and I have seen good roads…

“Let us think back, let us be intellectually inquisitive as to the past and the present and what the future holds for Nigeria.”

See full text of Tinubu’s exchange with State House Correspondents below:

SHC: Why are you here?

TINUBU: I will not answer that question when I have not lost my citizenship. I came to see the President on general issues concerning Nigeria, including our political party, APC, security issues, the achievement and the New Year Agenda. That’s all I can tell you. The new strategy that we must have, party congresses and all that.

SHC: President Buhari recently said he did not want to divulge his favorite for the APC 2023 presidential ticket. Nigerians will like to know, have you informed your president, because they are urging you to come out and contest. Have you informed him about your ambition?

TINUBU: I can answer that with categorical yes. I’ve informed the President of my intention but I have not informed Nigerians yet. I’m still consulting. And I have no problem consulting. And I’ve not set a parameter of limitation to the extent of how many people will I consult. You will soon hear, all you want to hear is the categorical declaration. You’ve gotten that truth from me that I have informed Mr. President of my ambition, and you don’t expect more answers than that.

SHC: What was his response?

TINUBU: That’s our business. He is a democrat. He didn’t ask me to stop. He didn’t ask me not to attempt to pursue my ambition; it’s a lifelong ambition. So, why do I expect him to say more than that? You are running a democratic dispensation, and you must adopt the principles and the values and the virtues of democracy. That’s it.

SHC: We have seen a number of support groups, drumming up support for your ambition, that of Vice President Osinbajo and Governor of Kogi State too. What’s your perspective on this? How do you see a potential race between you and these other persons for the APC ticket?

TINUBU: I don’t want to discuss individuals now. I must discuss myself. I have the confidence, the vision, the capacity to rule, build on the foundation of Mr. President, and turn Nigeria better. I’ve done that with commitment and unyielding, you know, in Lagos State. You’ve seen that experience and the capacity to turn things around and that is what we are doing.

You know, the confusion, the drift of the past in PDP is being corrected. And you can’t take away from that. As we are today, go back to the data on how many barrels of oil were we producing when we first came in and what it is today. We cannot even at the time we came in, pay the counterpart funds to start our rail line.

Today, you enjoy the comfort of having rail from Lagos to Ibadan; you have the Kaduna and you have the one for Kano State. On the aggressive pipeline, you see excellent infrastructure. I just came from Azare and I have seen good roads, the carnage of dying on motor vehicles is reducing except you know, lack of compliance with a lot of Nigerian drivers and VIOs. Let us think back, let us be intellectually inquisitive as to the past and the present and what the future holds for Nigeria.

SHC: Tinubu as Nigeria’s President, what do we hope to see?

TINUBU: You want my manifesto now? Not yet. Not yet.

SHC: I would like you to speak on the direct primaries and the convention. And secondly, what would be your response to those that say, the cap of being a kingmaker fits you more than you throwing your self into the ring; that you should remain a kingmaker?

TINUBU: First of all, the National Assembly and the president must be encouraged to review and review again. Whatever they come up with on the electoral amendment is what we must comply with. There is no unlimited elasticity in what we face, because we have to plan and plan well, and be able to manage the time effectively.

The great roadmap to success is the ability of a leader to do what he must do at the right time that it should be done. So, that to me, the electoral amendment point, we will still look at that collectively. And it is our country. It’s our democracy. We had adopted it and we will push it rigorously.

About the cap of kingmaker. I’ve never seen the cap of a kingmaker before. That is the truth. And I’ve never seen where it is written in the rule book anywhere in any country, that a kingmaker cannot be a king unless you commit murder. So, whatever is your attribute is your own opinion. Me, I want to pursue my ambition without the title of a kingmaker. You can write your literature and your story based upon your own perception. Convention? It is certain that we are going to get it.

SHC: When next month?

TINUBU: Oh, well, I’m not a spokesperson for the party. And the President is the leader of the party. So, expect convention, maybe if that’s added to your own anxiety, or the other party’s anxiety is good for us. We get it and we’ll get it done properly.

Total
0
Shares
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts