By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
A national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has feigned ignorance of Monday’s presidential declaration of his erstwhile political godson, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, saying he has no son grown enough to have made such declaration.
The development came as governor of the APC said they would soon meet to discuss the presidential aspiration of Mr Tinubu.
They also denied speculations that the aspirations of Messrs Tinubu and Osinbajo may have caused a division within the ranks of the APC governors.
Tinubu spoke on Monday in Abuja shortly after meeting with at least 12 governors of the APC.
The meeting came few hours after Mr Osinbajo declared his interest in the 2023 presidential election.
Osinbajo, a protegè of Tinubu, had on Sunday night also met with APC Governors to intimate them of his ambition. Those who met with the VP on Sunday night were Governors Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Babagana Umara Zulum (Borno) and Babajide Sanwoolu (Lagos).
Monday’s meeting which agenda was about Tinubu’s presidential ambition held behind closed doors at the Kebbi state Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro, Abuja.
The Kebbi state Governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu is the Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum PGF, a think-tank for governors of the ruling party.
Those who met with Tinubu were Governors Gboyega Oyetola (Osun), Nasir el-Rufai (Kaduna), Abdullahi Umar Ganduje (Kano), Mohammed Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Mai Mala Buni (Yobe), Abubakar Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi) and Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos). Others were Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq (Kwara), Simon Bako Lalong (Plateau), Hope Uzodinma (Imo), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa) and Dapo Abiodun (Ogun).
Speaking after the meeting, Tinubu said he met the governors to see their buy-in.
He also said he has no “son” grown enough to have made a presidential declaration.
“My mission here is to seek collaboration, support and encouragement of my party, the APC, for my ambition to become the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as replacement for President Muhammadu Buhari after his tenure”, he stated.
On the declaration of his “son”, Osinbajo for presidency, Tinubu said; “I don’t have any son grown up enough to make such declaration”.
No division among APC Govs
Also speaking, PGF Chairman, Bagudu said the aspiration of both men has not caused any form of division within the ranks of the governors.
He said; “Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, this morning, met members of the Progressive Governors Forum where he stated what he has 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.
Tinubu’s ambition for discussion
“All the governors in attendance graciously came to listen to him. He acknowledged the role of the Governors in the last convention of our party, where, according to him, the governors of the party steadied the party by helping in the evolution of the leadership that is accepted and widely acknowledged as that which we wish for our party. We appreciated him, his message and will definitely discuss the message at one of our forum meetings”.
Consensus not ruled out
“In fact, on the contrary, we appreciate our party because it 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 desire to lead the party into the highest office in electoral contest shows how much this our party has resonated with Nigerians and our party 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 the party’s interest at heart.
“We always encourage our party to go for the best. Don’t forget that in the 2015 presidential election primary, President Buhari contested against several others and it was a beautiful contest. There is nothing wrong. Members of the party always want to see consensus if it is possible but we are a democratic party.
“In 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 snowballed into positions they would rather not take.
“APC has done well as a party, President Buhari has led the party ably well and we believe strongly that come 2023, Nigerians will see another President of the APC extraction”.