• Says we have greater chance to win 2019 polls
•Amosun backs Buhari for second term
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja and Shola Oyeyipo in Lagos
The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, on Tuesday advised former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida to join retirees’ club and take pensions.
The leaders had sent open letters, accusing President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration of ineptitude and sectionalism.
But reacting to questions on Obasanjo and Babagida’s statements while speaking with State House Correspondents after meeting with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Tinubu Tinubu slammed Obasanjo and Babangida over their respective statements, advising Buhari to forget 2019 as a result of bad governance, describing their statements as shadows, and admonish them to join retirees’ club and earn their pensions.
According to him, whereas they reserve the freedom to participate in the nation’s politics, the two former leaders are duty bound to make good use of such freedom and allow Nigeria’s democracy to move forward.
“I don’t address those shadows. We should let our former presidents join retirees’ club and take pensions but they can participate in our politics if they are interested. It is a free world but this freedom is not served a la carte but they should allow us to move our country forward. It is a challenge to every Nigerian,” he stated.
Tinubu who said he felt greatly honoured by the confidence reposed in him by Buhari following his appointment by the president to lead reconciliation in APC, said so far, he’s enjoying the responsibility.
Tinubu who was accompanied by former interim National Chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande, added that he had commenced the task in earnest.
According to him, the president had given him free hands to carry out the responsibilities, pointing out that democracy is about conflict resolution as he described Buhari as one of the rare people in Africa who care to leave legacies behind.
“Well, l feel greatly honoured with the mutual confidence that the president has reposed in me which is a very strong political challenge. We have started in earnest. He has given me free hand to put cohesion, confidence and trust in the party.
“Democracy is about conflict resolution process. You can’t do it without resolving conflicts. We can’t build it without understanding the conflicts and sources where we are coming from. But we want to leave the country with a legacy. It’s not about Mr. President. That is what he’s telling the country.
“It’s about our country and no other choice to democratic tenets than through political party platforms. He’s one of those rare beings around the country, around Africa who had experienced both worlds: he fought a battle to save Nigeria and came to politics to save Nigeria. Very rare people have such an opportunity in their life time and that’s what we talk about legacy, and where we have all the challenges, do what we should do,” Tinubu said.
But unlike the general perception that APC had lost credibility and has little or no chance to stand for the next general election, Tinubu argued that the party’s chances are even brighter now and hence, will come out victorious in the forthcoming elections.
“You are asking me an obvious question. I belong to this party. My commitment is to this party. We have a better chance and we are strongly determined to prosecute election in a most transparent and democratic manner and we will win,” he added.
In another development, Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, has said except on health grounds, President Buhari should not be discouraged from running for a second term in office in 2019.
Fielding questions from THISDAY sister television station, Arise Television yesterday, Amosun also expressed contrary position on the letters written by Obasanjo and Babangida advising Buhari to jetison second term ambition.
“I think we are different. Everybody has ways of presenting things. Probably I would have done things differently but if you look at the calibre of people I don’t think it is for me to say what they have done is wrong.
“But when I have my day with them, which I will tell them I would have said it differently,” he noted.
Talking about President Buhari’s second term, Amosun said: “I will be the first to say he should not run, only on health grounds, but since he knows his health can take it, if he says he is running, I have not seen anything that can say he should not run.”
The governor, who noted that his administration is investing heavily into agriculture with the hope to earn foreign exchange, particularly in the area of rice productions, suggested commercial ranching as solution to the incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen which have claimed several lives.
“The solution to this problem is to have ranches. Clearly, it is the business of the herdsmen. They are making money, they have to pay for it. It is not what government will pay for, “ he said.