I brought Buhari out of political retirement, assisted him to emerge President – Tinubu - AfrobadooTV
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I brought Buhari out of political retirement, assisted him to emerge President – Tinubu

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Buhari and Tinubu

A presidential aspirant and national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on Thursday, opened up on his role in the emergence of Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) as the President in 2015.

The former Lagos State governor, while addressing the Ogun State APC delegates at the Presidential Lodge, Abeokuta, said Buhari, after losing 2003, 2007 and 2011 presidential elections, vowed not to contest again.

Tinubu, however said he went to Katsina to persuade Buhari to contest and subsequently supported him to win in 2015.

Tinubu also took a swipe at one of his fellow presidential aspirants in the APC, the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, saying he nominated him as Buhari’s running mate.

 

Tinubu said without him, Dapo Abiodun would not have been elected governor of Ogun State in 2019.

The national leader was accompanied by the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo – Olu; his Kano counterpart, Umar Ganduje and former Borno State Governor, Kasim Shettima.

Buhari, who was Nigeria’s military Head of State between 1983 and 1984, first contested the Presidency on the platform of the defunct All Peoples Party in 2003 and lost to the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

In 2007, he lost to another PDP candidate, the late Umaru Yar’Adua. In 2011, he formed a new party, the Congress for Progressives Change, contested on its platform but lost to Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP.

In 2014, four political parties, 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 contested and finally won 2015 the presidential election.However, there has been tension in the APC since Tuesday when the Buhari said he would pick his successor.

Also, there are indications that the party may settle for an aspirant picked by Buhari and may not go for an indirect primary at its convention starting on Monday.

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

On Thursday, Tinubu, for the first time revealed how he assisted Buhari, Osinbajo and Abiodun to get their present posts.

Narrating the events that led to the choice of Osinbajo, Tinubu said Buhari wanted him to be his running mate, but a group in the party led by a former President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, rose against him.

The former Lagos State governor stated after three defeats, the ex-head of state vowed not to contest the presidency again.

He said, “If not me that led the war front, Buhari would not have emerged. He contested first, second and third times, but lost. He even said on television that he would not contest 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 said when the APC was formed he wanted to contest the presidency.

He added, “Buhari wanted me to be his Vice President. He said because the first time he contested, he picked (Chuba) Okadigbo; flamboyant, catholic, but Nigerians didn’t vote for him (Buhari). The second time, he picked another Igbo, Edwin Ume-Ezeoke, Nigerians didn’t vote for him, 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.”

Speaking on why he is the best choice among other aspirants in the South-West, he said, “It is my time, I’m educated, I’m experienced. I have been serving you people for a long time,
bring me the presidency, it is 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 earlier declared his support for Osinbajo’s candidature refused to endorse Tinubu.

He told Tinubu that delegates from the state would do “the right thing” at the convention.

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

When contacted on the telephone, Saraki’s Media Adviser, Yusuph Olaniyonu, stated, “We are not making any comment.”

Also attempts to speak with a Spokesman of the President, Garba Shehu, proved abortive as he neither responded to repeated calls nor a text message on Thursday night.

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

Although the details of the meeting were not known, the five governors were identified as Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa) and Abiodun (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 in the APC are set to hold a meeting to pick a consensus candidate which may be from the North, The PUNCH has learnt.

This is just as Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who is also the Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum on Thursday, insisted that the APC must pick 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

The PUNCH learnt that there were moves by some of the governors to settle for Senate President Ahmad Lawan or Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, who both come from the North-East and the North-Central respectively. These two regions have also not produced a democratically elected President before.

An aide to one of the northern governors said the emergence of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar as the Presidential candidate of the PDP had given impetus to the demand for the APC to also pick its candidate from the North.

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 wished to remain anonymous, said Buhari would not automatically accept candidates presented by the 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, supporters of Lawan led by the Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Kalu, urged Buhari to choose Lawan as the consensus presidential candidate of the APC.

Kalu, in a statement on Thursday insisted it is only cohesion and consensus among the regions that can produce a president for Nigeria.

He pointed out that the earlier Nigerians and presidential aspirants understand that no amount of money can buy the office of the president of Nigeria the better for everyone.

Kalu, who is representing the Abia North senatorial district in the red chambers stated that If presidential aspirants continue to throw in money, the majority of the delegates will collect the money but still vote according to their conscience.

He said, “If money can buy the office of the president of Nigeria, Late MKO Abiola could have bought it with extra change. If money can buy the presidency, former President Goodluck Jonathan could have bought the presidential seat in 2015.

“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.”

 

PUNCH.

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PHOTOS: Large Turnout As Tinubu Campaign In Lagos

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There was a large turnout of supporters in Lagos State on Saturday at the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential and governorship campaign rally held at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere.

Photos posted by the official Twitter account of the APC Presidential Campaign Council show hundreds of supporters seated with banners displaying the names and images of the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu and his running mate, Kashim Shettima.

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INDEPENDENT CAMPAIGN GROUP FLOATED IN LAGOS FOR TINUBU, SANWO-OLU

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Tayo Ayinde, Baba Eto lead grassroots campaign for APC candidates

An Independent Campaign Group (ICG) has been floated in Lagos State for the re-election of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the actualisation of the presidential ambition of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Frontline politician and Christian leader, Cardinal James Odunmbaku, popularly known as Baba Eto, is the chairman of the independent group whose role will be complementary to the ongoing campaign of the Lagos APC.

Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Tayo Ayinde, who led similar effort in 2018, is the Director General of the ICG. Ayinde will be overseeing the activities of all the directorates under the group.

The ICG was constituted purposely for the mobilisation of voters at the grassroots level towards meeting the target of five million votes for the party in the presidential candidate and to deliver votes across Lagos councils for the party’s governorship flag bearer.

Odunmbaku said the mandate of the ICG was to create a penetrating structure that would independently take the party’s campaign activities to the grassroots. He said the group’s mission was to operate from the grassroots to the top level.

He said: “Our work is a simple but technical one, because we operate from the grassroots to the top level. This Independent Campaign Group is an assembly of grassroots volunteers and mobilisers working for the actualisation of the presidential ambition of our leader, Asiwaju Tinubu, and for the re-election of our performing Governor Sanwo-Olu.

“Everyone appointed into this group has been given the charge to engage Lagosians on our message. They have shown their readiness to work and take the campaign to the voters in theirs abodes. Our operation and activities are independent of the party’s ongoing campaign but we will be working in complementary to the campaign activities of the party.”

Heads of the 60 directorates in the group were sworn in on Friday at its office in GRA, Ikeja.

Bashorun Sikiru Alabi-McFoy is the Deputy Director General. Chairman of Conference 57 in Lagos, Hon. Kolade Alabi, is the adviser to the group m.

There are four Assistant Directors-General for the ICG in the three senatorial districts, with Lagos West having two Deputy DGs to oversee the group’s activities in Badagry and Ikeja divisions.

Jubril Gawat, an influential social media user and Senior Special Assistant to Gov. Sanwo-Olu on New Media, leads the Directorate of Digital Communications.

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I have never, won’t run my administration on religious bias, Tinubu assures CAN

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…says choice of Shettima has nothing to do with religion

Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has assured the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria that he will not run his administration on the basis of religion if elected President of Nigeria.

Tinubu who met with the CAN leadership in Abuja on Wednesday at an interactive session assured them that the same way his administration did not discriminate against anyone either based on tribe, religion or gender when he was Lagos Governor, he would not start such in office as president.

He was accompanied to the session by his wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Presidential Running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima, House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, Governors Hope Uzodinnma (Imo), David Umahi (Ebonyi), Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano), Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq (Kwara), Deputy Senate Leader Senator Boroffice Ajayi, Senate Chief Whip Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, Minister of Special Duties, Senator George Akume and many others.

The leadership of CAN under new president Daniel Ukoh presented a charter of demands and issues to the APC presidential candidate.

They demanded among others state police or a decentralized policing system, devolution of power to states, equal rights for all religions and their adherents, right to self-determination by all ethnic groups, right to control natural resources by communities that bear them, no to open grazing, and equitable electoral system that guarantees the right to vote and be voted for by all.

Tinubu said, “My belief in the need for secular government and faith-based organizations to work in unison is not something adopted recently to benefit my campaign.

“As Governor of Lagos, I partnered with the Christian to improve lives and foster education. For instance, I returned mission schools to their owners, most of who are Christians.

“I instituted yearly Christian Denomination Service at the Governor’s residence as we approached the new year. This tradition continues in Lagos.

“More importantly, we fostered an atmosphere of religious tolerance and inter-faith collaboration. My cabinet was diverse and talented.

“In the exercise of government, I did not give a thought to whether a team member was Christian or Muslim, Yoruba, Igbo or Arewa.

“I have never lent myself to baseless prejudice and discrimination. To do so would be a recipe for failure in the governance of a diverse society and I am not a man that is familiar with failing.

“I never chased people out of Lagos nor made them feel unwanted. Under my administration Lagos welcomed all comers and continues to do so today.

“After me, Lagos has had one Muslim and two Christian governors. I may not be perfect. What human being is? But I am not a petty man secretly wedded to secret biases and prejudices.

“As such, I see all Nigerians as equals and as brothers and sisters in our national family. This means no one is inherently inferior or superior to anyone else, regardless of faith, place of origin, social status and gender. Anyone who does not hold this fair and equitable view, should not run for president in a country such as ours.”

He said the Christian body has a great role as the moral compass of the society which he cherishes and will always support.

“You, as an organization and as individual leaders of CAN, are entrusted as the watch person of the welfare of this society from a Christian perspective. Which means functioning in an atmosphere of charity, understanding, patience and wisdom.

” I understand the tremendous importance of your work and have nothing but the deepest respect for your selfless contributions to our national cause,” he added.

On his choice of Senator Kashim Shettima as his running mate, which has generated a lot of controversies, Tinubu assured the Christian body that he made the best available choice at his disposal without recourse to religious sentiments.

“I did not choose Senator Shettima so that we could form a same faith ticket. The ticket was constructed as a same progressive and people- based ideology ticket.

“I offer a confession. I selected Senator Shettima thinking more about who would best help me govern. Picking a Christian running mate would have been politically easier. But the easy way is rarely the right one. The selection of a running mate is at once a very momentous yet very intimate decision.

“Resting such a key decision on religious affiliation as the primary weight did not sit well with me. I am not saying there were not good and adequate potential running mates of the Christian faith.

“What I am saying is that the times we inhabit do not lend themselves to the good or adequate. We have urgent problems that lend themselves not to a Christian or Muslim solution. We need the best solution.

“Every time I thought about it, and I did think a lot; I came to the same conclusion: Kashim Shettima

— His faith was immaterial.

— He is a brilliant man with superior intellectual capacity. He is studious and detailed oriented. Enjoying excellent organization skills, Shettima fully understands the vital difference between governance and politics.

— This exceptionally gifted human being has humility of spirit, courage of his convictions and a strongly progressive world view in harmony with my own perspectives on government and its relationship to the governed.

— I trust the calibre of the man. I know the great lengths he went in fighting Boko Haram in his state. He did his best to protect the Christian community and rebuilt damaged churches.

— This man understands the value of our national diversity in all of its ramifications, including religious. He possesses the courage to stand up to those who would wreck that diversity and freedom.”

He continued, “I know people have reacted harshly to my selection. They have done so without knowing the man or giving him or me a fair chance.

“The rumour that this is some plot to suppress the Christian community is untrue and unfortunate.

“I can no more suppress the Christians of this nation than I can suppress the Christians in my own household, my very family. You all know my wife is Christian and a pastor. My children are Christians. I can no more disown them and their choice of faith than I can disown myself. As a husband and father to Christian wife and children, hearing such allegations is hurtful.”

He thereafter shared his campaign policies with the Christian leaders, asking for their support.

“We must move the nation forward more quickly so that hatred and pettiness haven’t a chance to imbed themselves and become the main colours of the fabric of our society.

“My team, Senator Shettima and I have crafted our Action Plan for Nigeria titled Renewed Hope. This agenda is based on the progressive notion that our economy must be recalibrated to ensure better jobs and wages for people. That all are entitled to basic health care and education.

“We will combat hunger and poverty by growing more food and better rewarding farmers for their toil.

“We shall revive our industrial capacity to provide work for our growing urban population and to produce more of the things that we need.

“Where the private sector thrives, we will not attempt to fix what is not broken. Where it falters, government shall lend a hand to keep people employed and the economy vibrant. Where there is a gap, we must fill it so that we more fully employ our idle workforce and productive capacity.

“We must better tend to the poor, vulnerable and elderly by strengthening the social safety net.

“We shall end the fuel subsidy because it has become an unproductive policy favouring an elite that needs no favours while giving the people precious little. Funds that were previously used for the subsidy will be invested in public transportation and other infrastructure, education, and health.

“Let us advance to the economy point where no parent is forced to send their children to bed hungry and no one is fearful that tomorrow will bring more lack and poverty.

“Fiscal power and authority shall be recalibrated to give the states more latitude to better fulfil their mandate of grassroots development and empowerment of people and local communities, This includes assessing each state’s best option regarding a more active role in crime prevention and law enforcement.

“On security, we will not relent until terrorists, kidnappers and criminals quit their malign ways or are completely defeated. We shall augment our security forces and use advanced technology to track and defeat these evil groups,” he added.

In their contributions, Vice Presidential Candidate Shettima, House Speaker Gbajabiamila, Governor Ganduje and Senate Chief Whip Kalu attested to Asíwájú Tinubu’s character and integrity.

They said he usually places merit and competence above any other factor in choosing who to work with and he is always moved to act in the best interest of the country.

Tinubu Media Office
Tunde Rahman
November 16, 2022

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