The Presidency has dismissed reports that President Muhammadu Buhari was referring to the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, when he made reference to Lagos in his interview on Arise TV on Thursday.
Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, said the President’s comment on the future of APC during the interview had nothing to do with Tinubu.
During the interview, the President said: “The hope of this administration is to see APC last beyond it. Therefore, we should allow the party to decide. You cannot sit there in Lagos, for instance, and decide on the fate of APC on zoning.”
Though he has not openly declared to run for President in 2023, it is an open secret that Tinubu is positioning himself to succeed Buhari, and counting on zoning to favour him, a southerner since Buhari, a northerner would have spent 8 years in office by 2023.
But, Shehu, in a statement, said: “The Presidency wishes to distance President Buhari from a malicious campaign aiming to drive a wedge between him and a staunch ally, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“This is nothing short of a mischievous attempt to drag the President into controversies. Our citizens and especially the members of the APC should not fall for this.
“The ruling party, the APC, unlike others before it is a popular political party owned by its entire membership, hence Mr President was making the point during the 45-minutes interview that neither he nor anyone in the leadership could impose their wishes on the party.
“This is a basic consensus that binds the entire party leadership. The party leaders remain firmly committed to the principles that succession must be through democratic norms and processes.
“The mention he made of Lagos was not a reference to the respected party leader, Senator Bola Tinubu, as the opposition party’s predatory designs would put it in order to damage the excellent relationship between the two of them.
“The President, the Asiwaju and the rapidly growing members of the party want a dynastic succession of elected leaders.
“The APC should not be distracted from its progress as a democratic party.”
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