Former governor of Lagos, Bola Tinubu, has said he is yet to make a decision on a presidential bid in 2023 contrary to speculations making the round that his ambition has been dealt a blow by the dissolution of the APC National Working Committee.
In his first public statement since President Muhammadu Buhari chaired the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting that dissolved the Adams Oshiomhole led NWC, Tinubu on Saturday said the president’s decision had been accepted and called on sacked members of the NWC to do the same.
He said, “To those who have been actively bleating how the President’s actions and the NEC meeting have ended my purported 2023 ambitions, I seek your pity. I am but a mere mortal who does not enjoy the length of foresight or political wisdom you profess to have.
“Already, you have assigned colourful epitaphs to the 2023 death of an alleged political ambition that is not yet even born. At this extenuating moment with COVID-19 and its economic fallout hounding us, I cannot see as far into the distance as you.”
Tinubu said, “I have made no decision regarding 2023 for the concerns of this hour are momentous enough. During this period, I have not busied myself with politicking regarding 2023.
“I find that a bit distasteful and somewhat uncaring particularly when so many of our people have been unbalanced by the twin public health and economic crises we face.”
He said he has devoted these last few months to thinking of policies that may help the nation in the here and now and hat he may or may not do 3 years hence seems too remote given present exigencies.
Tinunu said, “I have toiled for this party as much as any other person and perhaps more than most. Despite this investment or perhaps due to it, I have no problem with making personal sacrifices (and none of us should have such a problem) as long as the party remains true to its progressive, democratic creed.
On the APC crisis, he said, “we must acknowledge that something important has gone off track. For some months we have experienced growing disagreement within the leadership of the party. This unfortunate competition had grown so intense as to impair the performance of the NWC, thus undermining the internal cohesion and discipline vital to success.
“Those most intimately involved in founding the party remain faithful to this benign, timely assignment. Sadly, many members have lost their balance. Their personal ambition apparently came to greatly outweigh the obvious national imperatives.”
He said, “The National Working Committee, itself, became riven by unnecessary conflict. Those who disagreed with one another stopped trying to find common ground. Attempts were made to use the power of executive authority to bury each other. I must be blunt here. This is the behaviour of a fight club not the culture of a progressive political party.
“Some members went against their chairman in a bid to forcefully oust him. In hindsight, his fence-mending attempts were perhaps too little too late. I believed and continue to believe that Comrade Oshiomhole tried his best.”
He said mistakes were made and he must own them. “Yet, we must remember also that he was an able and enthusiastic campaigner during the 2019 election. He is a man of considerable ability as are the rest of you who constituted the NWC.”
Tinubu said it had been his hope that the disagreements could be resolved. “After all, a political solution should not be beyond the ken of leaders of a major political party,” he said.
But such resolution he said has failed to materialise. “It was as if some unseen but strong force continued to stoke the embers. Instead of calling a prudent ceasefire, too many people sought more destructive weapons against one another,” Tinubu said.
On the court cases, the APC leader said order, party discipline and mutual respect went out of the window. Members, he said instituted all manner of court cases, most of them destructive, some of them frivolous, none of them necessary.
He said, “With lawsuits so numerous one needed a spread sheet to keep track, President Buhari has reasonably decided that he has seen enough.
“I do not lament his intervention or its outcome. I lament that the situation degenerated to the point where he felt compelled to intervene.”
President Buhari, he said is much more than a mere beneficiary of the party. “He is one of its founding fathers. The APC does not exist in its current form without his singular contributions. That is not opinion; it is undisputed fact,” Tinubu said.
The President, he added “has spoken and his decision has been accepted. It is now beholden on all of us, as members of the APC, to recommit ourselves to the ideals and principles on which our party was founded. While we recognize that people have personal ambitions, those ambitions are secondary, not sacrosanct.”
He said members must subordinate their ambitions to health and well-being of the party. According to him, never should the party be defined by one person’s interests or even the amalgam of all members’ individual interests.
He said, “A successful party must be greater than the sum of its parts. In this vein, I appeal to all former members of the National Working Committee and all members of our party to sheathe their swords and look to the larger picture.”