The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki’s statement on the 2023 presidential ambition of the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress attracted diverse reactions on Tuesday.
Saraki had on Monday said Tinubu was supporting President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election with the hope of succeeding the President in 2023.
Saraki spoke in reaction to a statement on Sunday by Tinubu, alleging that the Senate president dumped the APC because of his presidential ambition and selfish quest for power.
The National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Yekini Nabena, in an interview with one of our correspondents, indicated that it was premature to talk about 2023 presidency, adding that Tinubu’s presidential ambition had not been communicated to the party.
When asked to comment on Saraki’s statement, Nabena said, “This (Tinubu’s ambition) has not been communicated to the party, so I cannot comment on it. Besides, why should anybody be talking about 2023 when we are in 2018? Is anybody God?”
Tinubu, Saraki’s conflict about personal interests – Afenifere
Commenting on the exchange of words between Saraki and Tinubu, the Yoruba socio-cultural association, Afenifere, expressed dismay over what it identified as the elevation of personal interests and ambitions over national good and development by politicians in the country.
It noted that the verbal exchanges between the APC leader, Bola Tinubu, and Senate President Bukola Saraki were all about their personal interests.
Afenifere spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, expressed disappointment that the two men were more interested in personal ambitions than in national good and progress.
“You cannot see anything in these exchanges that talk about national good or higher values. The only thing that was substantial was when Saraki said he was against Muslim-Muslim ticket in 2014. If that was true, it would have been unthinkable in a Nigeria so badly divided as it is today. Clearly, the arguments were about personal interests and ambitions,” Afenifere noted.
It’s not a crime to be ambitious – Junaid Mohammed
But a Kano State delegate to the 2014 National Conference, Dr Junaid Mohammed, said there was nothing wrong with Tinubu or anybody for that matter being ambitious.
He stated he would not quarrel with politically-ambitious people so long as the process of actualising their ambition would not lead to collateral damage that could ruin the country.
The medical doctor-turned politician said, “Unlike Bukola Saraki, I do not blame anybody for being ambitious as long as the process of achieving the ambition doesn’t create so must collateral damage that will be harmful to the country. I don’t have any problem with it.
Speaking about Tinubu’s statement which led to Saraki’s response, Mohammed said, “I don’t know if the information he has as regards either Buhari himself, Tambuwal or Bukola Saraki for that matter is necessarily 100 per cent reliable.
“Let me state for the records, Tinubu is my friend and I would not take issue with people I consider my friends publicly.
“Having said so, I must admit that some of his criticisms in defence of Buhari, the APC and even Adams Oshiomhole, who was until recently a persona non grata to him, is something I find rather amusing and somewhat a little surprising.
“And I don’t know whatever calculations he might have had in his defence right or wrong of Buhari contrary to what he tells people in private; no matter how he goes about his defence of Buhari and people like Oshiomhole and others, I don’t think that will pay him off eventually in his own political ambition.”
Tinubu shouldn’t think North will support him in 2023 – Adebanjo
But a chieftain of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, says the APC leader must be naive to think that the North will allow him to succeed Buhari in 2023.
The 90-year-old statesman also urged the people of the South-West not to allow themselves to be fooled by Tinubu a second time.
Speaking with one of our correspondents on the telephone on Tuesday, Adebanjo said, “Tinubu is daydreaming if he thinks the North will ever support his presidential ambition. We have our principles.
“We are not supporting Buhari under any circumstance and Tinubu cannot lead Yoruba land because all he has done is to lead us astray. All he has done for us is to give some of our people who are close to him appointments.
“Nothing tangible has been done for Yoruba land. He gave his stooges appointments, nothing more, nothing less. If he has done more than that, let him say it.”
Adebanjo said the only demand the Yoruba had made was restructuring which the APC had been dishonest about.
The Afenifere chieftain said one of the reasons Afenifere supported Buhari in 2007 was because of his promise to restructure the country to allow for true federalism.
He said instead of keeping its promise, the APC resorted to setting up a committee on restructuring to deceive gullible Nigerians and the likes of Tinubu participated in the grand scheme of deception.
Adebanjo added, “How can they be telling us about restructuring committee, when from the outset, they were supposed to have started restructuring. Who do they think they are fooling? If Tinubu is daydreaming, he shouldn’t think others are daydreaming like him.”
“Buhari is a stranger to us in Yoruba land. The only Yoruba supporting him are those benefitting from this corrupt regime.”