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Tinubu seeks Buhari’s support, informs president of intention to succeed him

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A FORMER governor of Lagos State Bola Tinubu on January 10 said he has informed President Muhammadu Buhari of his intention to contest the presidential election in 2023.

Tinubu disclosed this to journalists after a closed-door meeting with Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

The development indicates that Buhari has formally asked Buhari to support his intention to succeed him when his (Buhari’s) tenure in office ends in 2023.

Tinubu was quoted to have told Buhari that becoming the president of Nigeria was his lifelong ambition.


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“I have informed the president of my ambition but I have not informed Nigerians yet, I am still consulting,” Tinubu said in an interview with journalists after meeting Buhari behind closed doors.

The former Lagos State governor disclosed that Buhari, as a democrat, did not ask him to drop his presidential ambition.

Although he is yet to formally declare his intention to contest the election, Tinubu’s supporters have been mobilising support for his presidential ambition across the country.

Tinubu had said he is still consulting but it is expected that he will very soon formally declare his intention to contest the election.

Tinubu’s decision to first inform Buhari of his plan to contest the election may not be unconnected with claims by his camp that Buhari agreed to hand over to him at the end of his (Buhari’s) tenure in office.

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Pioneer national chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) Rufai Hanga said the agreement was the basis for Tinubu’s support for Buhari’s election in 2015 and reelection in 2019.

“This is an open secret. There was an implied agreement. Even in law, there is an implied and expressed act. If something is expressed, there are no two ways about it. There was an implied agreement that he would take over. That is why he didn’t back out after the first tenure.”

“If Tinubu knew that he would not benefit, he would have backed out during Buhari’s first tenure. But he knows there was an agreement,” Hanga added.

However, some of Buhari’s loyalists have said the president never entered into any agreement to hand over to Tinubu.

Director General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON) Osita Okechukwu, who moved to the All Progressives Congress (APC) with Buhari from the CPC said there was no agreement between the president and Tinubu concerning succession in 2023.

Speaking on the matter, Okechukwu said, “As a member of the defunct CPC, I never heard of such an agreement and most importantly Mr. President (Buhari) is not wont to, or better put, rarely enters into any formal or informal agreement with anybody. But he appreciates good deeds.”

Okechukwu further explained that Tinubu was being considered as Buhari’s running mate, but was dropped because of the political disadvantages of fielding a Muslim/Muslim ticket.

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He said, “All I know was that Asiwaju (Tinubu) automatically could have been the Vice President if not for what lawyers will call force majeure. For our leadership warned against Muslim/Muslim ticket. Our leadership then argued that the Abiola/Kingibe Muslim/Muslim ticket which worked in 1993 may not work in 2015, if Buhari/Tinubu both Muslims were to run, as the scenario differs.”

It is not yet clear whether Buhari will support Tinubu’s presidential ambition.

In a recent interview with Channels Television, Buhari said he was not interested in who succeeds him.

Asked if he was interested in who would take over when he leaves office, Buhari said, “No. Let him come, whoever it is.”

But Buhari in the same breath suggested that he was keeping the identity of his preferred successor secret.

“It is (a) secret. No, I wouldn’t say because he may be eliminated if I mention. I better keep it,” Buhari said when asked to disclose his preferred successor.

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