Former governor of Lagos and a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Wednesday said he rejected his nomination as the running mate to APC’s presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, in order to maintain his position as a party leader.
Tinubu said in a statement that he had no ambition of seeking any elective office when he and others began the building the foundation of what became APC.
“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, General 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.”
Tinubu pronouncements contrasted sharply with the belief held by many that he was jostling for the VP ticket of APC. He lent credence to this on Tuesday when he accused President Goodluck Jonathan of launching a ‘smear campaign’ against his person in order to block his emergence as the vice presidential of APC.
But he said today that he removed himself from reckoning.
“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.
“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.”
Tinubu himself then launched a frontal attack on the present administration, describing as inept, corrupt and lacking vision.
He advised Nigerians to rise above ethnic and religious sentiments when they go to polls in 2015.
“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 came to bring prosperity to the people. Please vote for that.”
Mr. Tinubu described members of the PDP as “jackals in sheep’s clothing” who are ready to toss the nation’s future asunder in order to continue reaping the rewards of their “selfish” ways.
“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,” he said.
“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.
The former governor further said that he would never place political ambition over patriotic conviction, adding that there is no room for emotion to becloud sense of judgement.
“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,” Mr. Tinubu said.
“I sincerely commit myself to the rescue agenda of General Buhari and Professor 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.”