BY JOHNBOSCO AGBAKWURU
ABUJA – A Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla has dispelled the rumour in some quarters that there was an agreement between former Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and the former Lagos State Governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu not to contest for the party’s presidential ticket, saying that there was no deliberation of anybody’s ambition during the merger talks.
Chief Obono-Obla who was the Deputy National Secretary of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC that merged with other political parties to form APC and a member of the disbanded Joint Merger Committee also said that there was no bickering between Gen. Buhari and Asiwaju Tinubu.
In an interview with Vanguard in Abuja, Monday, the human rights activist turned politician said, “There is no struggle and tension between General Muhammadu Buhari and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
“Since the momentous and historic decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission to register the All Progressives Congress, APC, as a political party, purveyors of falsehood and mischief makers have gone to town to fabricate the tale that there is an intense struggle and tension between the indefatigable General Muhammadu Buhari and the ebullient Asiwaju Bola Tinubu over their presidential ambition.
“What started as a rumor and speculation was given official approbation and fillip by no less a person than the Special Adviser to the President, Dr. Rueben Abati yesterday ( the 11th August 2013) in a statement rebuking the position canvassed by the National Chairman of APC liken the presidency of Goodluck Jonathan to a ” kindergarten Presidency.”
“In the statement Dr. Abati maliciously and falsely seems to create and indeed gave credence to the falsehood that has been peddled in official circles and a cross section of the media that there is an intense struggle between General Buhari and Asiwaju Tinubu over their presidential ambitions.
“Nothing can be further from the truth. I say with all amount of confidence that there is no modicum of tension between these two leaders of APC. The relationship between the two remains cordial and warm.
“The camaraderie between them is unparalleled and heart warming. I want to use this opportunity to refute the rumor, gossip and speculation making the rounds that one of the conditions agreed by the political parties that merged to form the APC, is that both General Buhari and Asiwaju Tinubu must drop their presidential ambition.
“I do this in my humble but privileged position as the Secretary of the Merger Committee of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC and Co-Secretary of the Inter Party Joint Merger Committee (comprising the Merger Committees of Action Congress of Nigeria; All Nigeria Peoples Party; Congress for Progressive Change and factions of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA and the Democratic Peoples Party).
“Indeed the ambition of these two eminent leaders was never discussed throughout the duration of the merger negotiation from February 6th 2013 to the 18th June 2013. Conversely there was no time that the dropping of the alleged ambition of either of these two leaders was made a condition for negotiation.
“The merger talk was a beauty to behold. Agreement on every issue canvassed was by consensus. There was never voting on any issue. There were no strings attached. There were no conditions imposed by any of the parties.
“There was no interference on the work of the Committee by General Buhari, Asiwaju Tinubu and other leaders of the merged political parties in order to influence or dictate to it on any issue. It is clear that those who are peddling this tale are purveyor of falsehood and lies.
“They are striving to create a wedge between these two great leaders of the country. However I want to say that agents of darkness and retrogression will not succeed in their nefarious scheming and machinations to use chicanery and false propaganda to create division in the leadership of APC.
“These agents of Satan have tried every imaginable trick and machination to destroy APC. One of these is the unnecessary and needless imbroglio generated by the publishing of the list of Interim National Executive Committee.
“These agents of falsehood sought to use ethnicity and religion to undermine APC when they alluded to the fact that the leadership of APC is dominated by one of the major religions in the country. However, a cursory reading of the list of the interim National Executive Committee of the APC glaringly reveals that there is ethnic, religion and geo political balancing in recognition of the mosaic complexities of the country.
‘It is as clear as the crystal that both the presidency and the hierarchy of the Peoples Democratic Party have lost sleep over epochal registration of the APC and would stop at nothing to destroy it in order to realize their desire and dream to foist on Nigerians a one party dictatorship.
“But this is a pipe dream. The era of one party dictatorship is gone for good. APC has indeed come to stay and no Jupiter shall destroy it,” Obono-Obla stated.