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General News of Tuesday, 11 January 2022


Seeking the presidency is my lifelong ambition - Tinubu

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu Asiwaju Bola Tinubu

A national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, yesterday, described as his lifelong ambition, the nation’s presidency and disclosed that he had decided to give it a shot in 2023.

Thus, as part of steps to realising this ambition, Tinubu formally made his aspiration known to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, clearing years of speculations about his intentions.

Tinubu, who by his disclosure, put paid to speculations around his ambition, told newsmen after a meeting with Buhari at the State House, that, “I’ve informed the president of my intention, but I have not informed Nigerians yet. I’m still consulting. And I have no problem consulting. I’ve not set a parameter of limitation to the extent of how many people I will consult.

“You will soon hear. All you want to hear is the categorical declaration. You’ve gotten that truth from me that I have informed Mr. President of my ambition, and you don’t expect more answers than that.”

Asked what the response of the president was to his ambition, the former two-time Lagos State governor replied, “That’s our business. He is a democrat. He didn’t ask me to stop. He didn’t ask me not to attempt and pursue my ambition, which is a lifelong ambition.

“So, why do I expect him to say more than that? You are running a democratic dispensation, and you must adopt the principles and the values and the virtues of democracy. That’s it.”

Tinubu also said he was at the Villa to see the president on wide-ranging national issues, “including our political party, APC, security issues, the achievement, and the New Year Agenda.”

He stated that it was not in his character to discuss other presidential hopefuls, saying he is out to market himself, as he possesses the capacity and vision to lead Nigeria, having successfully governed Lagos State.

The APC leader stated, “I don’t want to discuss individuals now. I must discuss myself. I have the confidence, the vision, the capacity to rule, build on the foundation of Mr. President, and turn Nigeria better. I’ve done that with commitment, you know, in Lagos State. You’ve seen that experience and the capacity to turn things around and that is what we are doing.”

On whether it wouldn’t be ideal for him to remain a kingmaker instead of becoming a king himself, Tinubu emphasised that there was nothing wrong in a kingmaker aspiring to be king. He said, satirically, that he had never seen the cap of a kingmaker before.

Tinubu explained further, “That is the truth. And I’ve never seen where it is written in the rulebook anywhere in any country that a kingmaker cannot be a king, unless you commit murder. So, whatever is your attribute is your own opinion. Me, I want to pursue my ambition without the title of a kingmaker. You can write your literature and your story based upon your own perception.”

On the Electoral Act Amendment Bill that was rejected by the president, the APC leader stressed the need for both the executive and the legislative arms to collaborate and come up with a realistic electoral bill.

He said, “The National Assembly and the president must be encouraged to review the Electoral Act Bill again and again. Whatever they come up with, as electoral amendment, is what we must comply with. There is no unlimited elasticity in what we face, because we have to plan and plan well, and be able to manage the time effectively.

“The great roadmap to success is ability of a leader to do what he must do at the right time that it should be done. So, that to me, the electoral amendment bill, we will still look at that collectively. And it is our country. It’s our democracy. We had adopted it and we will push it.”

Tinubu took a swipe at the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the mess Nigeria found itself before APC came to power in 2015, saying the drift is being corrected by the Buhari administration.

He said, “You know, the confusion, the drift of the past in PDP, is being corrected. And you can’t take away from that. As we are today, go back to the data on how many barrels of oil we were producing, when we first came in and what it is today. We could not even at the time we came in pay the counterpart funds to start our rail line.

“Today, you enjoy the comfort of having rail from Lagos to Ibadan, you have the Kaduna and you have the one for Kano State in the pipeline, you see excellent infrastructure. I just came from Azare and I have seen good roads…

“Let us think back, let us be intellectually inquisitive as to the past and the present and what the future holds for Nigeria.”

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