Bola Tinubu on 2023: Why I’m yearning to take over from Buhari


National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu has told President Muhammadu Buhari about his 2023 presidential ambition.

Tinubu said this Monday while fielding questions from State House correspondents after a meeting with Mr President in his office at the State House Abuja.

He said as a democrat, the president did not stop him from pursuing his lifelong ambition.

Asked if he had informed the president of his ambition, the APC chieftain said: “I will 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, you don’t expect more answers than that.”

On why he, as a kingmaker, would want to contest, Tinubu said:  “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.”

The former lawmaker said with what he had done in Lagos as a governor, he has the capacity to rule Nigeria.

He also declined to comment on what a race for the APC ticket between him and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo would look like, saying he would not discuss any individual.

He said: “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 have 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 we were producing when we first came in and what it is today. We cannot even at the time we came in we did not 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.”

On direct primaries and the APC national convention, the APC national leader said: “First of all, the National Assembly and the president must be encouraged to review and review again. Whatever they come up with 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. It is certain that we are going to get it.”

On the national convention of the ruling party, the former governor said:  “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.”

Speaking on the purpose of his visit, Tinubu said he came to see the President on general issues concerning Nigeria, including the ruling political party, security issues, the achievement and the New Year Agenda.

Groups back Osinbajo

In a related development, a coalition of fifty-seven youth and student groups under the aegis of National Coalition of Youth and Students (NACOYS) have declared their support for  Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as successor to President Buhari in 2023.

 The groups said its endorsement was a part of strategies to signal a resolve that Nigerian youth cannot afford to remain indifferent to the nation’s political process and its future, they have declared.

The groups disclosed this in a communiqué Monday in Abuja after an official meeting with officials of The Progressive Project (TPP) – the sole coordinating body for other existing and upcoming pro-Osinbajo groups across Nigeria.

The communiqué was signed by representatives of 57 organisations drawn from the North-central, North-west, South-west, North-east, South-east and South-south geo-political zones.

The youth groups include; North-central Youth Assembly of Nigeria, ECOWAS Youth Parliament, Kwara Youth Movement, Association of Northern Nigeria Students, Arewa Youth and Students Assembly (AYASA), Arewa Youth Parliament (AYP), National Youth, Progressive Front Usman Mubarak, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Youth Council of Nigeria ( ABYCN), National Association of University Students (NAUS), Nigeria Good Governance And Transparency Initiative, National Youth Awareness Group, APC National Students Vanguard, Association of Northern Yoruba Students, Arewa Youths Congress of Nigeria, Petroleum Training Institute SUG and Federal Polytechnic Offa SUG among others.

Addressing newsmen in Abuja,  national coordinator of the coalition,  Barrister Festus Ofume, said: “For the future of Nigeria, we firmly believe that the man Yemi Osinbajo SAN, GCON is the best qualified for the office of the President, especially with his intellectual accomplishment, empathy for the younger generation, understanding of the economy and the fact that he has the experience of being an acting President and Vice President with uncompromised passion to consolidate on the achievements of the last seven years.”

NACOYS pledged to mobilise at least five million youth across Nigeria to support Osinbajo if he finally decides to run for the presidency in 2023.

“Being the most viable candidate for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, we shall, in the best of today’s youth and coming generations, strive towards the election of Professor Yemi Osinbajo SAN, GCON as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria come 2023.

“At our enlarged meeting held at Abuja on the 10″ day of January, 2022, we unanimously endorsed Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON as our candidate for the top job of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the 2023 general elections; we came to this conclusion after due consultation nationwide and after a thorough assessment of all he has done over the past seven years.

“Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is not only the best qualified among all the names being mentioned as potential aspirants; he is also the most qualified in terms of practical potentials towards redressing issues of deep concern such as the rule of law and unemployment; he has consistently demonstrated deep passion for impactful economic policies and we all know a bit about his roles in the Economic Recovery and Growth Project (ERGP) and other policies targeting macro-economic stability and restoration of economic growth,” Ofume stated.

They further said: “We, members of NACOYS and other stakeholders have resolved that Yemi Osinbajo, who is a Southerner should succeed President Buhari as the tide is set for the presidency to rotate to the south; in this regard, we know that Mr. Yemi Osinbajo SAN, GCON will select his running mate from the North to balance the political equation and ensure effective representation of the North bur for the national interest and the interest of future generations.

“After scrutinising the current challenges of the country and the pertinent efforts and roles played by Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON towards containing these challenges, we are firmly confident about his capacity to address all the challenges the country is currently facing, if given the chance to serve in the capacity of Commander in Chief and the Chief Executive Officer of the country.

“After due consideration and a nationwide sampling of opinions among the youths and students across Nigeria’s six geo-political zones, we came to the firm conclusion that Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON is a well-liked and highly acceptable figure to people across the country; we are in no doubt that he is best qualified to foster national unity and quench the incessant aggressive quest for self-determination and demarcation of Nigeria,” the coalition stated.

 The communiqué also expressed confidence in Osinbajo’s capacity to lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty and create vast opportunities for millions of youth in technology-related fields.

“North won’t cede presidency …”

Also, a former presidential aide, Alhaji Abdulrahman Sumaila Kawu, has said the North won’t cede presidency to the South the through intimidation, blackmail or coercion come 2023.

Minister of Labour and Employment Dr. Chris Ngige was in a media report, quoted to have said any political party that fields a northern candidate for the 2023 presidential election would lose.

In a statement by Kawu, a three-term former member of the House of Representatives said the likes of Ngige should bury their heads in shame for trying to intimidate and blackmail the North.

He said the North would only cede power to the Southern part of the country through negotiations, dialogue, consensus and understanding and not ranting in the media.

Kawu said: “I think the likes of Ngige should be placed where they belong. You cannot come and try to intimidate the North in the media. Politics everywhere in the world is a game of numbers, and those that have the numbers can decide who leads them.

“I want to say without fear of contradiction that the North will not succumb to intimidation or blackmail of the likes of Ngige. The North can only cede power through peaceful negotiations and dialogue. Open confrontation will not give the South presidency.

“Maybe one should refresh Ngige’s memory. We were all in this country when Goodluck Jonathan contested and won presidential election in 2011 even when it was the turn of the North to complete the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s tenure. Did the world come to an end then? Certainly no!

“So, nobody should try to bamboozle us today just because of 2023 presidency. If the North wants to contest, I don’t think anybody can stop it through intimidation. Let this sink in the minds of Ngige and his co-travellers.

“I also want to make it clear that I have a lot of respect for Ngige. I worked closely with him during the formation of APC. But I felt it was important to make things clear on the issue of 2023 presidency.”

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