Bola Ahmed Tinubu has become a presidential favorite once again.
The APC National Leader has been seen at least twice in the Presidential Villa in 2018 and has held private meetings with President Muhammadu Buhari in the company of Chief Bisi Akande. He was also recently named by the president as the chairman of the party’s reconciliation committee.
Why It Matters:
Tinubu addressed journalists after a Tuesday meeting with the president and spoke about his commitment to the APC, the letters by the ex-leaders, Obasanjo and Babangida to President Buhari that piles on the pressure on the president to jettison his reelection bid and his role as the head of a committee to reconcile aggrieved members of the party.
Tinubu – up till now – has been seen as one of the most aggrieved persons within the party as his influence diminished within the government he helped create. It appears that all of that has now changed.
The key highlights of his remarks below:
Tinubu Is Back In Charge
The APC national leader’s influence in the APC waned considerably after Buhari’s victory. The former governor has been openly frustrated and tried unsuccessfully to change the party’s leadership, failed to install his preferred candidates at party primaries like the case of Ondo state, and was hardly consulted by the Presidency on several matters.
However, on Tuesday Tinubu signaled that his role as the head of the reconciliation committee is larger than it sounds. According to him, the President has given him a “free hand” to fix the party and Tinubu is happy to do just that.
“I feel greatly honoured with the mutual confidence that the President has reposed in me, which is a very strong political challenge. We have started in earnest.
“He has given me a free hand to put cohesion, confidence and trust in the party. Democracy is about conflict resolution process. You can’t do it without resolving conflicts.
“We can’t build it without understanding the conflicts and sources where we are coming from. But we want to leave the country with a legacy. It’s not about Mr. President. That is what he’s telling the country.”
Tinubu Has Reversed His Position On Buhari, Now They Are In Love Again
Tinubu has been highly critical of the Buhari administration whenever he comes out of his silence. He criticized the President’s handling of the economy during a speech at the National Defence College, titled “Strategic Leadership: My Political Experiences”, called for the resignation of the petroleum minister during a prolonged fuel scarcity and also clashed with the APC governor’s forum after their endorsement of the President for a second term.
But Tinubu is now singing Buhari’s praises to the high heavens.
“He is one of those rare beings around the country, around Africa who have experienced both worlds: he fought a battle to save Nigeria and came to politics to save Nigeria.
“Very rare people have such an opportunity in their life time and that’s what we talk about legacy, and where we have all the challenges, do what we should do. I’m enjoying the challenges so far.”
Tinubu Confident of APC’s Victory In 2019 Elections
Tinubu is upbeat about APC’s chances in the upcoming elections. He said he is committed to the party and that the party is in a stronger position than it was in 2015.
This assertion might not be unconnected from his quiet moves at strengthening the party in the South West, having secured key defections of top opposition leaders like Musiliu Obanikoro, Adebayo Alao-Akala and others.
“You are asking me an obvious question. I belong to this party. My commitment is to this party. We have a better chance and we are strongly determined to prosecute election in a most transparent and democratic manner and we will win.”
Tinubu also dismissed the third force movement and similar coalitions. He said that there is “no other choice to democratic tenets than through political party platforms.”
Tinubu Dismisses Obasanjo, IBB Statements As Politically Insignificant
Tinubu dismissed the significance of the anti-Buhari letters released by former military rulers Obasanjo and Babaginda and noted that their rights to speech is not in any form superior to what is available to ordinary Nigerians. Important to note that these are the same retired presidents who Tinubu strenuosly courted before the 2015 elections.
”I don’t address those shadows. We should let our former presidents join retirees’ club and take pensions but they can participate in our politics if they are interested.
“It is a free world but this freedom is not served a la carte. They should allow us to move our country forward. It is a challenge to every Nigerian.”