Being a statement issued by All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart Asiwaju Bola Tinubu on December 17, 2014, after turning down an offer by the then APC flag bearer Muhammadu Buhari to be his running mate at the March 28, 2015 presidential election. The statement was issued after the former Lagos State Governor had forwarded the names of Prof Yemi Osinbajo as the party’s sole presidential running mate to Buhari. This is contrary to the claim in the President’s biography written by American author and international studies’ teacher Prof John Paden that Buhari chose Osinbajo above Tinubu and his successor at the Lagos State House, Babatunde Fashola.
Ex-Lagos governor chose Osinbajo for Buhari, says general
A retired general, Iliyasu Ibrahim, has faulted a report that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo became President Muhamamdu Buhari’s running mate despite pressure against it by former Lagos State Governor Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Ibrahim, in a statement yesterday, said the portion in the book by Professor John Padden on President Buhari, titled: “Muhammadu Buhari: Challenges of Leadership”, was wrong.
The statement reads: “I became disturbed about this falsification of recent history. Why would the author say this and have it published when many of us know the truth? The truth is that Tinubu singlehandedly chose Yemi Osinbajo and sent the name to President Buhari. There was no pressure. Tinubu is Osinbajo’s political mentor. The latter was his attorney-general and commissioner for Justice in Lagos and both have a close relationship.
“My worry stretched further when I recall the recent piece by Femi Fani Kayode on Tinubu and his huge contributions to the APC and how he is now being short-changed. Though I do not agree with all the claims made by Femi Fani-Kayode, I am convinced he made some reasonable arguments and his summation about Tinubu’s role in the current political dispensation can hardly be faulted. In some areas, he went overboard and you could see him gloating, the PDP apologist that he is. Also, the mention of Governor Ajimobi as one of the governors working against Tinubu is a fallacy and here he got his facts wrong. Ajimobi has remained consistently behind Tinubu and that is easily verifiable.
“But back to the emergence of Osinbajo as Vice Presidential candidate. I was there the night before the final decision and subsequent announcement. I was there at the Lagos Lodge Annex in Asokoro, Abuja at Tinubu’s place. On the night in reference, Asiwaju insisted that three names would not be sent for the VP slot. He maintained that only one name would be sent. Eventually, the name of Osinbajo was sent to President Buhari. There was no issue of pressure.
“Osinbajo was Tinubu’s man and that was the only person Tinubu was willing to accept to cede the VP slot. Shortly after Governor Amosun came around to the Lagos lodge. He came in and we greeted. Now, it seems clear that some fifth columnists are trying to distort recent history and we should not let them. This history is too recent to be mutilated.”
I am a Nigerian who loves his country and am hopeful about what it can become. I have seen and conducted myself as a patriot long before I thought of myself as a politician. I shall always walk this line and no other.
After all the political calculations are made and the dust of competition has settled, it must be this nation and its people who stand first and foremost. The question becomes whether we stand strong, able to shape ourselves into our best future or will we stand frail and trembling, burdened by the abject failure to surmount the multiple problems confronting us.
It is against this backdrop that I assess any action I take. Here I come to my name being placed in consideration as the Vice Presidential candidate for our party, the APC. I have laboured hard to move this party from being merely an idea in the minds of a few into being a political organisation that might win this election and govern the nation in way that gives the people the hope and opportunity they seek. Nothing is more important to me than to realise this dream not for myself but for the people of this land I so love.
I helped to build this party, giving no thought to seeking an elected office because of it. My contribution to the party was never based on the expectation of a later political handout. Nigeria is in trouble and we are well past the moment for such narrow, selfish games.
There came a time during the course of the events when our Presidential candidate, Gen Muhammadu Buhari offered the Vice Presidential slot to me. Being a normal human being, I was deeply moved and honoured that he would consider me for the position. Being a patriot, I had to weigh my potential candidacy in all of its dimensions.
I have concluded that the interest of the party, our campaign and of the nation are better served if I retain my position as the National leader of the APC, allowing me to be a bridge builder across all divides. Although, I declined the position, I want to thank Gen. Buhari for extending the honour to me. Despite all the noise and opposition around my possible selection, he stood firm and steadfast. He showed the traits of a leader in holding to a decision he believed was right despite the errant plots against it.
When my name was raised, the political hatchet men tried to chop it down with rumours and lies. Over the years, I have developed a thick skin. The personal attacks did not bother me. I am used to them. While I have a thick skin, I don’t have a thick mind. There has been one form of attack that has troubled me. That is the attack based on religion. The PDP and others have stoked fear of a Muslim- Muslim ticket.
I have removed myself from consideration so what I now say cannot be seen as self-serving. I plead with the people of this nation to never allow the power lust of cynical politicians to set brother against brother, neighbour against neighbour. If you look at those politicians who raise this issue the most, they are the least devout and faithful to any religion other their self-interests.
Nigeria has too many secular problems – insecurity, economic collapse, poverty, corruption and misgovernance – to allow inept people to use religion to keep us from solving these challenges for the benefit of all.
Those who exploit religion should be wary. For there really is a God and He does not like it when you play with His people or use His name to do the opposite of what He intends.
I ask the people to remove religion from the electoral equation now that the tickets of both parties are mixed. I ask you to select the ticket best able to end the downward slide that Nigeria has endured since this government took over. I ask you to remember that too many Christians and Muslims are poor. Most of all, I ask you to remember that the true religion of the PDP is poverty. APC has come to bring prosperity to the people. Please vote for that.
The Nigeria I see is a nation that shall overcome. The Nigeria I see is a nation ready to sweep aside the broken ways of our recent past and the government and politicians who impose distress upon us. The Nigeria I see and seek is one where each person, every man, woman and child may live free of terrorism, free of the despair of poverty and free of the fear that the government meant to serve and protect them has turned its back to them in cold and utter indifference.
I see and seek a Nigeria where progressive democratic governance creates the political and economic space needed for each of us to contribute to rescuing and retooling this nation. And, in the process of this benign endeavour, may each and every one of us share in the sound promise and good prosperity that shall describe the architecture of our national revival.
However, not everyone that shouts the name of Nigeria believes in this vision. There are many who would have you laid low and our future tossed asunder that they may persist in reaping the unjust reward of their selfish ways. There are wolves in sheep clothing and even jackals in wolf’s clothing. I have seen them but not as residents in some strange zoo. They populate the halls of this diminished government and the party from which this government was born.
We have come to the field of fateful choice. We have been brought to test the scales of weighty decision. Shall we lift this nation upward so that from its higher vantage point we may clearly see the road to our better destiny? Or shall we continue to march the march of fools into the dark of darkness. The current path has but one end. It shall take us into the den of national collapse. We have gone far enough down this wicked avenue to be aware of what its continuance portends.
We must awaken of our own accord, my dear people, before the bell of doom rings upon us. If we wait until that moment, we would have waited too long. Our future, our fate, our destiny would have been cast into the snare of utter misfortune. This is not the song of greatness. It is the poetics of ruin.
For me, political ambition will never triumph over patriotic conviction. This delicate moment affords no space for emotion to intrude to blind us from what is best. The APC is the best and only vehicle to enact the progressive and broad change this nation cries for. I eagerly lend myself to this fine cause without me having to be on the ticket.
This is a time for cohesion and an overriding sense of mission. We must defeat the foe before us and resist all temptations intended to entice us to fight among ourselves.
I sincerely commit myself to the rescue agenda of Gen Buhari and Prof Osinbajo.
I declare to you, I will work and dedicate myself so that our ticket succeeds and wins the 2015 election — not for his good, not for my good, not even for the party’s good but for the good of the nation we inhabit.
Some may call what I have done a sacrifice. I call it otherwise. It is my patriotic contribution and duty. I do so with a happy and uplifted heart and clear conscience because I have committed myself to seeking the best for this nation before seeking what is good for myself. This is the creed of statesmanship I chose to follow. May this be the creed of our party as Gen Buhari leads us to historic victory in the 2015 elections.
May the light of a bright future always shine on you and on our beloved nation, the Federal Republic of Nigeria.