Tinubu confirms presidential ambition: I’m a kingmaker, I want to be king
After months of speculation, the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, yesterday, formally declared his intention to run for the country’s number one office in 2023, confirming The Guardian’s exclusive report that he has informed President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo of his ambition.
He disclosed this to journalists after a closed-door meeting with President Buhari in Abuja on Monday. In his interview with State House reporters, Tinubu said it has been his life-long ambition to lead the country one day.
“I have informed the President of my ambition but I have not informed Nigerians yet, I am still consulting. There’s nowhere in the world where a kingmaker cannot himself be king.
“About the cap of a kingmaker. I’ve never seen the cap of a kingmaker before. That is the truth. And I have never seen where it is written in the rulebook anywhere in any country that a kingmaker cannot be a king unless he has committed murder. So, whatever you write is your own opinion. Me, I want to pursue my ambition without the title of a kingmaker,” he said.
The former Lagos State governor added that he plans to actualise his ambition under the platform of the ruling APC, noting that with what he did in Lagos in his time as governor, he has the capacity to lead Nigeria.
“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,” he said.
He shrugged the question of a potential race for the APC ticket between him and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, whose support groups have since begun mobilising for his candidacy. On Osinbajo’s potential ambition, the APC national leader maintained that he would not be drawn into any discussion on any individual.
Tinubu said: “I don’t want to discuss individuals now. I must discuss myself. I have the confidence, vision and capacity to rule, build on the foundation of Mr. President, and turn Nigeria better. I’ve done that before in Lagos State. You’ve seen that experience and the capacity to turn things around and that is what we are doing.”
Answering a question on President Buhari’s response, Tinubu said: “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. It 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.” On the Electoral Act Amendment bill and what Nigerians should expect, Tinubu responded thus: “You want my manifesto now? Not yet. Not yet.
“First of all, the National Assembly and the President must be encouraged to review and review again. Whatever they come up with 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 the ability of a leader to do what he must do at the right time that has to be done. So, to me, we will still look at the amendment bill collectively. It is our country. It’s our democracy. We had adopted it and we will push it rigorously.”
The APC national leader said as a bonafide citizen, he was in the State House, Abuja, to also discuss a number of other national issues, including security.
“I have not lost my citizenship. I came to see the President on general issues concerning Nigeria, including our political party, APC, security issues and the New Year agenda. That’s all I can tell you.”
The Guardian gathered that the disagreements on the delay to fix a definite date for the APC national convention proposed for February was part of the agenda of the meeting as Tinubu is believed to be a major stakeholder.
Last Friday, chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum and governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, met the President over the convention. Shortly after his meeting, the APC caretaker chairman and governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, also met the President over what sources said was a major shift on the party’s convention.
In an interview the President granted to NTA last week, he warned his party to take the issue of convention seriously else the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would snatch victory in 2023 and form the next government.
On Sunday night, a meeting between President Buhari and APC governors did not hold. A host of APC governors were in their states for other activities, rather than being in Abuja for the meeting.
You would recall that at the beginning of 2021 when many states were lamenting the devastating effects of Covid-19 on their economy, the Governor released billions of naira for life-touching and economic revamping capital projects.
“While many see 2022 as a year of politics, the Governor has already directed us to go back to site to continue to work so that our people can begin to reap the fruits of what we have been laboring for over the past few years and months”.
Engr Ohere said some of the strategic road projects within Lokoja will help decongest traffic in the State Capital which is one of the fastest growing cities in the world.
He further disclosed that his Ministry has put in place, a strategy that would bring about quick delivery of the projects and assured that the quality of works would not be compromised as the people of the State are used to the GYB standard.
He urged the contractors not to compromise the GYB standard, adding that his Ministry would continue to monitor all projects regularly and thoroughly to ensure people have value for money spent on those projects.
“We are doing many projects at the same time, with the same speed, with the GYB standard as our people deserve the best. As a Government, we will never compromise quality”, he assured.
Some of the road projects visited were Maigari Palace to Old Central Mosque roundabout; Fem Hotel/GTbank junction to Kogi Circle and NTA roundabout and NTA roundabout to Post Office and Marine Road(MoW/H) “Jakura” end of the road.
Others are Stella Obasanjo Library /Government House/Kogi Hotels; and GTBank Junction/Hydro Junction/Post Office and Cemetery Road Junction.
Similarly drainages from all these roads up to INEC road are receiving prompt attention to keep them ready and adequate before the rains.
The Commissioner for Works also told newsmen that contractors are working day and night to deliver the roads, hospitals and schools under construction across the state.
“We have completed a good number of roads and other infrastructure that are already in use. Other massive ones are the Reference Hospital and other Model Hospitals and Schools that we are building across the three Senatorial Districts.
“We are very satisfied and excited that these projects are already taking shape now. They are the signature projects that will separate this administration from others before it.
“Apart from the fair distribution of the projects, GYB has remained faithful to his development blueprint. In the next couple of months, we shall witness a festival of project commissioning across the length and breadth of Kogi State”.
In the same vein, some indigenes of Lokoja have expressed excitement over the road projects in the State Capital.
Adejoh Gabriel, a trader who resides in Lokoja said he has been impressed with the ongoing road projects in Lokoja.
“I am from Ankpa and am quite familiar with the road projects of this administration. We thank them for constructing the Ankpa Township Roads. I also know they have done quite a number of roads in Igalaland.
“Our concern has been the Lokoja Township Roads. The Governor seemed to be more concerned about the rural roads. But we are now seeing a great difference. The road in my area is now very good and I want to say thank you to the Governor”.
An Adankolo resident in Lokoja, Oloruntomi Abiodun told our correspondents that he is impressed with the ongoing construction of a magnificent edifice at Government Day Secondary School, Adankolo.
“I have never seen such before. This is a clear statement that Yahaya Bello is capable of giving us good things that we have never seen before. With the way they are working there, it will be delivered very soon”.