Photos & Story -2019: Buhari Courts Tinubu Again
Abuja – Ahead of the 2019 general elections, there are indications that the presidency may have started wooing the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu.
This became obvious following a closed door meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and Tinubu for almost an hour at Aso Rock.
Their meeting came ahead of the national caucus meeting of the ruling APC slated for Monday night.
Shortly before the arrival of Tinubu, Buhari had played host to Senate President Bukola Saraki but details of their discussions were kept away from the prying eyes of reporters covering the State House.
Aside playing host to Saraki, Buhari also met with Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and National Chairman of APC, John Odigie-Oyegun.
Meanwhile, the president capped up his activities last night by hosting the national caucus meeting of the APC.
The meeting was convened to deliberate on the way forward for the party, especially the national convention of the party which had been stalled for long.
The caucus meeting will precede the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the party slated for today at the national secretariat of the party, where Buhari will be in attendance.
Tinubu, after the meeting with Buhari, denied that he has been sidelined by the alleged “cabals” within the presidency.
Ever since Tinubu and former chairman of the APC, Bisi Akande, paid Buhari a visit in London where he had gone to source medical care, he had also stayed away from the presidency, fueling speculations that they must have fallen apart.
Tinubu, who had been critical of the Buhari administration, especially during the wake of the recession that hit the country in 2016, described the APC as a party that was still on track.
He based his argument on the woes caused by the ousted Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which held sway for 16 years.
“I just met with the president. Our discussion was fruitful, productive and it was about the country and leadership as a whole and that got him excited and happy”, he said.
When prodded further that there are reports that he was not in good terms with Mr. President, that he was not also happy with the way things are done and that he may have been sidelined by the ‘cabal’, he responded saying, “Fake news”.
“I have confidence in this president, there is no doubt about that. We worked hard to bring about the government, there are certain things that are unpredictable and those are things that can lean itself to gossips, insinuations and all of that.
“But once you create leadership and is functioning you don’t have to baby sit that leadership unless there is a loss of confidence and I don’t have that.
“You know me. I’m not known to shy away from talking my mind and rebelling if it is necessary and taking charge of things that I believe are necessary. What is the myth in this leadership thing? What is cable? Is a myth. We are the party of the people for the people and by the people and this is democratic environment.
“Each of us have our roles to play and that is why we are playing it. I don’t believe in the myth, I believe in confidence building, the trust that we have in the president. In the journey of democracy you are going to have twists and turns, you are going to have conflicts. Conflicts resolution mechanisms is inbuilt on how you handle your party and the governance and the party are joined by the hips”.
On whether APC is still on course, he replied, “Can you go back to the history of 16 years of the PDP? APC government is on course and will remain on course and we will remain focused to those necessary things about development, welfare and progress of our people.
“Is not easy to face the challenges and the well that was dug, sinkhole that we inherited. But we are sorting that one out gradually so few steps we will find happiness and development in the future of our country”, the APC leader said.
It would be recalled that pressure has been mounting on President Muhammadu Buhari to join the presidential race for 2019 even though his body language proves otherwise.
It was gathered that stakeholders and top political elite from the North are the dominant forces mounting pressure on Buhari for now, having sensed that he is now relatively healthy and seems good to go for another term.
Although the president has not voiced his intention to run, leaders of the ruling party, the APC, seems determined to pull their weight behind him to consolidate their stay in power.
The pressure became obvious, when a group under the auspices of Buhari Support Group (BSG) stormed the Presidential Villa last week to have a meeting with the president.
According to leader of the delegation, Abu Ibrahim, the BSG could best be described as an amalgamation of over 189 different support groups which ensured that Buhari was able to clinch victory in 2015.
“We came here as members of the national committee of the Buhari Support Group. This is an amalgamation of about 189 different support groups that had worked for President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC to win the 2015 general election.
“We have been holding meetings, discussing the problems of this country, Nigeria. So, we thought it was high time we met with the president to intimate him about the activities of the group.
“We discussed with him about the plans to improve the situation in Nigeria. Mr. President was very pleased with our programmes,” Ibrahim said.