…as Tinubu denies rift with president
By Lawrence Olaoye
Ahead of the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) scheduled for today, President Muhammadu Buhari met with the National Chairman of the party, John Odigie-Oyegun and other notable leaders behind closed doors yesterday.
Other leaders at a separate parley held before the caucus meeting at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa included the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and the governor of Zamfara state, Abdulazeez Yari.
Immediately after the first meeting with those led by the APC National Chairman, Buhari entered into another with the former Lagos state governor and a national leader of the APC, Sen. Ahmed Bola Tinubu.
Asked to clear the air on the speculations that he was not in good terms with the President, Tinubu said such was fake news declaring that he had confidence in Buhari’s leadership.
He said “Fake news. I have confidence in this President. There is no doubt about that. We worked hard to bring about the government. There are certain things that are unpredictable and those are things that can lean itself to gossips, insinuations and all of that. But once you create leadership and is functioning, you don’t have to babysit that leadership unless there is a loss of confidence and I don’t have that.
He continued “You know me. I’m not known to shy away from talking my mind and rebelling if it is necessary and taking charge of things that I believe are necessary. What is the myth in this leadership thing? What is cabal? It’s a myth. We are the party of the people for the people and by the people and this is a democratic environment.
Each of us have our roles to play and that is why we are playing it. I don’t believe in the myth. I believe in confidence building, the trust that we have in the president. In the journey of democracy you are going to have twists and turns, you are going to have conflicts. Conflicts resolution mechanisms is inbuilt on how you handle your party and the governance and the party are joined by the hips.”
Asked to respond to insinuations that there was a panic ahead of the APC NEC meeting today, Tinubu queried “Did I tell you that? Why do you want to know? Are you a member of our party?”
On whether he believed that the ruling party was still on course, the APC chieftain said “Can you go back to the history of 16 years of the PDP? APC government is on course and will remain on course and we will remain focused to those necessary things about development, welfare and progress of our people. It’s not easy to face the challenges and the well that was dug, sinkhole that we inherited. But we are sorting that one out gradually so few steps we will find happiness and development in the future of our country.”
On different groups sprouting to call on Buhari to run for second term in 2019, he said “Don’t discuss that one with me.”