Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The Senate Dr. President Bukola Saraki, has stated that he did not throw his hat into the ring to contest in the presidential primary of the All Progressives Congress against the then presidential aspirant, Maj.-Gen. Muhammumadu Buhari and other aspirants in December 2014 because he needed to make a sacrifice and be â€œpart of the solution, rather than be part of the problem of the party.â€
Saraki, who made this revelation yesterday on his facebook page, was responding to a publication by Africa Confidential, which said he was one of those who contested against Buhari in 2014 during the APC primary.
The publication had also alleged that Saraki had retained the services of a London-based PR firm, Aequitas, to burnish his image.
But Saraki in the facebook post signed by his media aide, Mr. Yusuf Olaniyonu, reminded the publication that he had announced in Ilorin, Kwara State on October 12, 2014, that he would not contest against Buhari because â€œsome of us need to make sacrifice and be part of the solution rather than part of the problem of the party.â€
He had further declared at the time that he would support the candidacy of the retired general and he was one of the people who worked tirelessly to ensure Buhari won the APC ticket and the general election three months later.
According to the post, â€œThis letter comes to directly refute the information reported in your most recent publication whereby in an article titled: â€˜Ambitious Menâ€™ you wrote that the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Bukola Saraki, was one of â€˜those who stood against Buhari for the APC nomination in 2014â€™.
â€œThe story also mentioned erroneously that Saraki has â€˜retained London communications consultants Aequitas, which helped Labour Party to remake its image under Tony Blair in the mid-1990sâ€™.
â€œFirst, please note that your claims above are not correct. Saraki did not contest the last presidential primary of the APC.
â€œSaraki publicly announced in a statement in Ilorin on October 12, 2014 that he would not contest against Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) who was then an aspirant because â€˜some of us need to make sacrifice and be part of the solution rather than part of the problem of the partyâ€™.
â€œHe then declared that he would support the candidacy of the retired General. Saraki was one of the people who worked tirelessly to ensure General Buhari won the APC ticket and the general election.
â€œAgain, contrary to the claim in your article, Saraki does not retain the services of Aequitas. He formerly engaged Aequitas for strategic policy services while he was Governor of Kwara State, and chair of the Nigeria Governorsâ€™ Forum, and at the initial stage of his period as Senate President.
â€œHe no longer retains the services of Aequitas effective from January 1, 2017.
â€œThe Senate President has repeatedly stated that his interest now is to reform the Senate and make it an institution whose impact and relevance is felt and appreciated by the generality of the people.
â€œHe has equally pledged his full support for and commitment to the success of the administration of President Buhari.
â€œSaraki has long admired the important contributions Africa Confidential has made to increasing global understanding about African affairs and policy.
â€œIt is his hope that your publication can continue this fine tradition, while also paying attention to the sensitivity of the information it disseminates on current affairs in the countries of Africa.â€