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Tinubu supports Buhari to preserve his presidential ambition in 2023 – Saraki
THE staunch support being accorded President Muhammadu Buhari by former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, is just so that he (Tinubu) can take over from Buhari come 2023, says Senate President Bukola Saraki.
Saraki made the allegation in a statement on Monday, saying that Tinubu had, on several occasions, expressed his displeasure with Buhari’s style of the government, but he could not publicly criticise the president because he too is eyeing the presidency.
Saraki’s statement is in reaction to comments by Tinubu during the weekend, that Saraki and Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State left the All Progressives Congress (APC) because they were no match for Buhari and will easily be floored during the primary elections.
Tinubu thus maintained that it was Saraki’s personal interests, not any interest of the nation, that drove him out of the APC.
“If Saraki had remained in the APC, he would be unable to reclaim his Senate seat let alone the Senate Presidency. He thus bolted because he lusts for the presidency but was promised by the PDP, at least, a return to his position in the Senate,” Tinubu stated on Sunday.
But Saraki, in his response, said it was Tinubu who has consistently acted based on his selfish political ambitions.
“I can… vividly recall that he (Tinubu) himself always expressed his displeasure with the style of the government and also mentioned that he had equally suffered disrespect from the same government which we all worked to put in office,” Saraki stated.
“However, during those meetings, the point of disagreement between Tinubu and I is that while I expressed my worries that there is nothing on ground to assure me that the administrative style and attitude would change in the next four years in a manner that will enable us to deliver the positive changes we promised to our people, he (Tinubu) expressed a strong opinion that he would rather ‘support a Buhari on the hospital stretcher’ to get a second term because in 2023, power will shift to the South-west.
“This viewpoint of Tinubu’s was not only expressed to me but to several of my colleagues. So much for acting in national interest.
“It is clear that while my own decision is based on protecting the collective national interest, Tinubu will rather live with the identified inadequacies of the government for the sake of fulfilling and preserving his presidential ambition in 2023.”
Saraki further stated that the genesis of Tinubu’s acrimony with him dated back to 2014 when he opposed the idea of Tinubu becoming Buhari’s running mate since both of them are Muslims.
“It should be noted that he (Tinubu) has not forgotten the fact that I took the bull by the horns and told him that in the interest of the country, he should accept the need for the party to present a balanced ticket for the 2015 General Elections in terms of religion and geo-political zones. Since that time he has been very active; plotting at every point to undermine me, both within and outside the National Assembly,” he stated.
Saraki maintained that his exit from the APC was purely because he had decided to “join others to present a viable alternative platform for Nigerians in the coming elections”.
Earlier on Monday, Tambuwal had also replied Tinubu, also alleging that the former Lagos Governor was yet to get over his failed vice presidential ambition. Tambuwal denied the insinuation that he left the APC because of a presidential ticket.
“If I wanted to and if the Presidency is what (why) Ahmed Tinubu thinks I defected, I could contest with President Buhari under the APC. I have what it takes to have contested with Mr. President,” Tambuwal said.
“Tinubu tried to rock the boat when he was denied Buhari’s vice presidency. He thinks every other person could behave his way. If I wanted to contest under the APC as president, I could have done so and only the votes could have produced a winner.”