Trending reports suggest that a presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was quoted to have said President Muhammadu Buhari wouldn’t have been the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria without his help.
The reports also said the former governor of Lagos State said Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Governor Dapo Abiodun wouldn’t have been the occupants of the positions they currently enjoy if not for him.
He made the comments while addressing party members on Thursday in Ogun State as part of his ongoing consultations in the buildup to the APC special convention scheduled for June 6 – 8, 2022 to elect a candidate who will fly the party’s flag during the 2023 general elections.
Though he spoke in his native language, Yoruba, his words are interpreted thus: “You have not heard this from me before. This is the first place I am saying this.
“If not me that led the war front, Buhari would not have emerged. He contested first, second and third times, but lost. He even wept on television, declaring that he would not contest again.”
He also said he was asked to pen down three names for the vice-presidential slot in 2015, which he did settling for Osinbajo among those he nominated.
On Dapo Abiodun, he said, “Dapo that is sitting down here, could he 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 it over to him. I was the one who brought it.
“If he wants to meet God at the right place, he must know that without God and me, he would not have become governor.”
I was misinterpreted says Tinubu
In a statement which he signed and made available to pressmen on Saturday, Tinubu argued that he was grossly misinterpreted while noting that the reason may be because he had spoken in Yoruba language.
Part of the statement reads: “There have been gross misinterpretations in some sections of the media regarding comments I made on Thursday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. To a degree, the erroneous interpretations may be somewhat innocent, given that I spoke in Yoruba.
“Those who do not understand the nuances of this richly-layered and subtle language may have inadvertently, yet erroneously, missed the true meaning of what I said while attempting to translate my statement.
Expresses respect for the president
“Let me also erase any doubt. My respect and regard for President Buhari as Commander-in-Chief of this nation and as a person are high and unfailing. I shall never denigrate him.
“I certainly did not do so in Abeokuta. We have been political partners for a long time and I hope that our partnership continues well into the future. I would do nothing to jeopardize it. I believe our party is the best hope for the nation to right itself,” he said.
Checks by Daily Trust showed that Tinubu’s claims were actually true but maybe due to the political atmosphere were misconstrued as political chest-thumping on his part.
Did Buhari say he won’t contest again?
At the grand finale of his presidential campaign at the International Conference Centre (ICC), Abuja on April 14, 2011, on the platform of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), President Buhari had in an address titled, ‘Creating Hope for the Future’, said, “Today is exactly 18 weeks since I declared my intention to contest the presidential election, and I must say it has been a very memorable period of time for me. As always, being on the campaign trail has been for all of us a most educating experience.
“For me, this campaign is doubly significant. First, because it is an election in which more clearly and more unambiguously than the previous two in 2003 and 2007, our victory is assured, as evidenced by the unprecedented turnout by the people and spontaneous popular acclaim all over the country. And, second, because this campaign is the third and last one for me; since, after it, I will not present myself again for election into the office of the president.”
It is also on record that the president wept intermittently while delivering his 12-page speech.
Four years later, Buhari reneged on his promise, contested once again, and this time, having built a broader coalition with the help of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, won.
The APC is one of the two major political parties in Nigeria – the other being the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). It was founded on February 6, 2013 from a merger of the three major political opposition parties at the time; the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), and the new PDP, a faction of the PDP.
The resolution was signed by Tom Ikimi, who represented the ACN, Senator Annie Okonkwo on behalf of APGA, the chairman of ANPP’s merger committee and former Kano State governor, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau and the chairman of CPC’s merger committee and current Senior Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media, Garba Shehu.
The coalition received approval from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on 31 July 2013 to become a political party and subsequently withdrew the operating licenses of the three parties that merged (ACN, CPC and ANPP).
It should be noted that Asiwaju played a huge role in the merger of 2013 as he rallied the South West geopolitical zone to massively support the new party.
While it may be true that Mr. Tinubu pencilled down Prof. Osinbajo’s name for consideration as vice president in 2015, it cannot be ascertained if he single-handedly picked him for the position.
Also, Tinubu’s claim that Dapo Abiodun wouldn’t have been the governor of Ogun State without him cannot be proven, though he played a reasonable part by mobilizing Ogun residents to vote for the governor.
Available evidence proves that Tinubu had a hand in the emergence of Muhammadu Buhari as the standard flag bearer of the APC in the 2015 general elections and subsequently, the ousting of an incumbent president.