Despite speculations that the national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu may be considering withdrawing from the Nigeria’s 2023 presidential race, the politician has disowned the country’s vice president Professor Yemi Osinbanjo who declared to contest in the forthcoming presidential primary of the party.
Tinubu, a former Governor of Lagos State, whom Vice President Osinbajo served in his government as the state Attorney General, spoke hours after the Vice President declared his intention to contest for the top job.
Tinubu spoke after he met with some governors on the platform of the APC alongside some of his party chieftains on Monday in Abuja.
The meeting was held at the Kebbi State Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja.
Kebbi State Governor who incidentally is the Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Abubakar Atiku Bagudu was the chief host.
After a meeting that lasted for one hour, Tinubu who feigned ignorance of the declaration by Vice-President, Prof Osinbajo, Tinubu said he has no political son in the race for the presidential ticket of the APC.
He said: “I don’t have any son grown up enough to make such declaration.”
It would be recalled that Osinbajo declared for the race on Monday.
Prof Osinbajo’s formal declaration has since increased the number of aspirants for the APC ticket to seven.
Why Tinubu Met With APC Governors
Also speaking with newsmen, Governor Bagudu said Tinubu came to meet the governors to discuss his presidential ambition and also thank them for their individual contributions toward the success of the party national convention.
He said: “Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, this morning, met members of the Progressive Governors Forum where he stated what he has made public already his intention to seek for the office of the president come 2023. He briefed us on his reasons, his thinking and his message.
“All the governors in attendance graciously came to listen to him. He acknowledged the role of the governors in the last convention of our party, where, according to him, the governors of the party steadied the party by helping in the evolution of the leadership that is accepted and widely acknowledged as that which we wish for our party.
“We appreciated him (Tinubu), and his message and will definitely discuss the message at one of our forum meetings.”
Impact of Increasing Aspirants on APC Platform
Asked for his reaction to the insinuation that the growing number of aspirants could lead to implosion before the presidential convention, the Kebbi governor allayed the fears of the party faithful.
“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 who express the desire to lead the party into the highest office in the 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.”
Asked for his comment on the alleged plot to produce the presidential candidate through a consensus arrangement option, the Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum said the option should not be foreclosed.
“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 some others. There is always misrepresentation of consensus as if people are being snowballed into positions they would rather not take.
“APC has done well as a party, President Buhari has led the party ably well and we believe strongly that come 2023, Nigerians will see another president of the APC extraction.”
Among those in attendance at the meeting with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu were governors of Kano, Lagos, Kwara, Yobe, Imo and Kwara States.