Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos State and the national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), will officially announce his position on whether he will seek the highest political post in the country in 2023 after the national congress of the party.
Already, the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) headed by Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State has commenced ward congresses election across the country. It has not announced any date for the national convention where a substantive party executive that will lead the party to the general election will be elected.
Several groups in the country have been launched by supporters of Tinubu, asking him to run in 2023, prominent among them is the South West Agenda for Asiwaju (SWAGA 23), a group which comprises former lawmakers and political associates of the APC national leader.
However, there are also reports that the presidency which has already constituted a group to search for a worthy successor to President Muhammadu Buhari across the country is already mounting pressure on Tinubu to drop his presidential ambition and support a younger candidate.
Speaking with Daily Independent, a very close associate of Tinubu, who does not want his name in print, acknowledged the fact that even in the APC, there have been divergent views on whether Tinubu should run or support any of his loyalists for the presidential primary billed to hold next year.
“Asiwaju has not convened any meeting where the issue of 2023 presidency is discussed but the fact is that many of his loyalists believe that he will run based on his body language. The truth is he has received several advice from Nigerians on whether he should run or not but the ultimate decision is his to make”.
” I strongly believe that he will make his position known after the national convention of the party. No date has been announced but we are confident that it will hold this year. Every presidential candidate knows the significance of the convention because that is where those who will determine the fate of the party will be decided”.
“I believe that is the focus of Asiwaju for now. After the convention, the picture will be clear as to whether he will run or not and he will make decision. Don’t also forget that after the convention where the national chairman and other party executives are elected, the next event is the presidential primary. So, there is no need for anybody to hide anything again. Anyone who wants to contest will come out to declare”.
When asked if reports that Tinubu had a knee replacement surgery in John Hopkins Hospital in Maryland, USA, is true, the APC chieftain said Tinubu usually travels abroad to rest and strategise given the fact that his itinerary in Nigeria is very tight and he hardly has time for himself.
While debunking reports that he is critically ill, he said there is nothing wrong if he also used that period to do medical checks and attend to his health if the need arises.
“Those of us who have been with him know how busy he is. Once he wakes up as early as 10a.m, it is from one meeting to another and he doesn’t sleep until 3a.m. Everybody wants to see him for one issue or another and he usually does his best to attend to everyone.
“So, he usually travels abroad to have a quiet time and strategise. Every man needs his private moment. But it is unfortunate that fifth columnists believe that whenever a ‘big man’ travels outside the country, it is to seek medical attention or surgery. It is very unfortunate the way people think”.
In a related development, Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi, on Monday said there is no crisis in the party and governors in APC are pleased with the efforts of the Buni-led Caretaker Committee.
Umahi, who spoke while featuring on Channels Television programme ‘Politics Today’ monitored by Daily Independent, said those raising issues about the legality of the caretaker committee are only out to distract them from the great work they are doing which has seen influx of PDP members into the APC.
“I don’t believe there is a problem. With all due respect to our senior advocates of Nigeria and senior lawyers, my interpretation of this is simply the constitution of the party and the interpretation is that what Governor Buni is doing is a caretaker job. It is a committee set up by our party to do a particular job.
“There is no further definition about what a committee can do and what it cannot do. The day to day running of the party rests on the national secretariat of the party and of course, in the states and local government and wards. So, this our caretaker chairman is doing a committee work which anybody can also do. It is not an executive position and he is taking no salary”.
“We are happy with the leadership of the caretaker chairman, secretary and all members of this committee. They are doing a wonderful work”.
People are just worried because of the great work we are doing and the fact that people are coming into APC. So, they just feel that they can distract the beautiful work that the chairman is doing but I don’t think it is possible because the constitution of the party is very clear”, he said.