The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, on Tuesday bowed to pressure and opted out of the race for the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress.
The Speaker who made his decision public in a statement he signed and made available to newsmen in Abuja, said the decision to suspend his bid was taken after due consultations and considerations of the overall interest of the party.
He equally noted that going ahead with such a bid at this time, would alter calculations on the political chessboard of the party.
The Speaker, however, stressed that he had what it takes to be the President of the country.
This, he said, led him to embark on extensive consultations towards taking a decision as to whether or not to participate not to actualise a personal ambition, but rather to actualise “our dream for a new Nigeria.”
The statement partly read, “Having consulted widely, taking into consideration the concerns of some elders of the party, I have decided to suspend my participation in the presidential contest for now.
“I have done so as a sacrifice for the cohesion and unity of the APC. I am suspending my participation in the presidential race for now, because I do not have any inordinate ambition to occupy any office.
“Nigeria is a country too great to sacrifice on the altar of partisan politics and personal ambition. What anyone becomes in life is exclusively in the hands of God. Only God gives power to whoever He pleases.”
He noted that since the news of the possibility of his participation in the presidential contest got into the public domain, it had generated monumental interest, analyses and commentary.
Although he made no direct reference to his next political move, Tambuwal said, “I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and interest. On my part and with the greatest sense of modesty and responsibility, I wish to assure Nigerians that I am fully prepared, ready, willing, determined, available and armed with the requisite plans, programmes and ability, to undertake the great mission of rescuing our dear country from the clutches of institutionalised corruption, gross incompetence, greed and divisiveness.
“I am prepared for the great task of rescuing Nigeria from the security problems, the scandalous youth unemployment, and the economic and social malaise that plague her.”
The Speaker expressed confidence that when given the chance, an APC government would operate a clean, corruption-free, competent and purposeful government to deal with the inexplicable paradoxes that had held the nation hostage for over 100 years.
“I have carefully considered the concerns expressed by some of our leaders, whom I deeply respect and whose support and counsel I enjoy, to the effect that my entry into the presidential race at this point may necessitate having to rework some equations on the political chessboard of the party,” he said.
While pledging his loyalty to the APC and the five presidential aspirant – Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Governor Rochas Okorocha and Sam Ndah- Isaiah, Tambuwal appealed for understanding.
Inquiries from the APC National Secretariat on Tuesday evening, revealed that even though Tambuwal was speculated to be eyeing the governorship of Sokoto State, he had yet to pick an expression of interest or nomination forms.