By Emmanuel Mogbede
Sen. Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State and 2023 presidential hopeful on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday called for collaboration with the party’s governors.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the call is aimed at achieving his 2023 presidential ambition.
Tinubu made the call when he met with some APC governors under the aegis of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) at the Kebbi Government Lodge in Abuja.
“My mission here is to seek collaboration, support and encouragement of my party, the APC, over my ambition to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari at the expiration of his tenure,’’ he said.
On the 2023 presidential declaration by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who is regarded as Tinubu’s political godson, the former Lagos State governor said he did not have a son grown up enough to make such a declaration.
“I don’t have any son grown up enough to make such declaration,’’ Tinubu quipped.
He acknowledged the role the governors played at the party’s March 26, national convention, saying that they helped to ensure a peaceful enthronement of an acceptable leadership for the party.
Speaking at the event, Gov. Abubakar Bagudu, Chairman of the PGF, said the forum appreciated Tinubu and his message and would discuss it at its meeting.
“Tinubu met members of the PGF where he stated what he had made public already — his intention to seek for the Office of the President come 2023.
“He briefed us on his reasons, his thinking, and his message. We appreciated him, his message and will definitely discuss it at one of our forum meetings,’’ Bagudu said.
He added that all the governors in attendance graciously listened to Tinubu.
He said that contrary to speculations, Osinbajo and Tinubu being in the 2023 presidential race would not put the governors under any pressure.
“In fact, to the contrary, we appreciate that our party has become a party that has endeared itself to Nigerians.
“We have many brilliant people in our party; some serving and some not serving.
“The fact that we have people in our party that express the desire to lead the party into the highest office in the electoral contest shows how much our party has resonated with Nigerians and with our members.
“For us, it is a hallmark of success that people are showing interest, but at the end of the day and because they are leaders of the party, they will always put its interest at heart,’’ he said.
Bagudu added that as a democratic party, the APC could always go for an acceptable consensus candidate if it became the last option.
He recalled that at the party’s 2015 presidential primary election, President Buhari contested against other aspirants and came out as its acceptable consensus candidate.
“At our last convention, we had consensus in some of the offices and election in some others.
“There is always misrepresentation of consensus as if people are being snow-balled into positions they would rather not take.
“APC has done well as a party. President Buhari has led the party well and we believe strongly that come 2023, Nigerians will see another president of APC extraction,’’ he said.
NAN reports that no fewer than six other 2023 presidential hopefuls had declared their intentions to contest the presidency on the APC platform.
They include Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, Sen. Rochas Okorocha, a former governor of Imo, Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi and Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi. (NAN)