By Gboyega Akinsanmi
The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Senator Bola Tinubu, has stated that the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and the Sokoto State Governor, Mr. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, among others, left the APC because the ruling party could not offer them automatic tickets.
He said in Lagos that the defectors wanted automatic tickets and sharing of the national wealth, which the governing APC could not guarantee.
The APC leader unfolded his mind in a lengthy statement he personally signed, entitled: “They Go Away Because We Go the Right Way.”
According to him, the defectors “left the party to return to a motley agglomeration that would promise them what true democracy could not: automatic tickets, sharing of the national wealth and other offices and privileges.”
Tinubu urged Nigerians to go beyond the debate on the numbers in the Senate and the House of Representatives, saying, “We must pull back from the shallow headlines to recognise that something fundamental is at stake.
“Nigeria is undergoing a historic transition. Sometimes awkwardly, tentatively, yet inexorably, we nurture political and governance reform. We steadily close the door on the old malpractices that have caused a rich nation to reside in the tenement of the global poor.”
Speaking specifically on the Sokoto governor’s defection, the APC leader said, “Governor Tambuwal’s exit can be distilled to one cause. He covets the presidency. However, he had not the stomach to challenge President Buhari in a primary. Tambuwal felt further insulted that he would be compelled to face a direct primary just to retain the governorship nomination.
“But for the promise made by PDP headliners like Rivers State Governor Wike that he would have the PDP presidential nomination, Tambuwal would not have left. His exit had nothing to do with governance of the nation. It was about forging a personal ambition predicated on the defeat of progressive reform not the advancement of it.”
On Senate President, Tinubu said, “Much the same for Senate President Saraki. Returning to the PDP, he harbours dreams of the presidency but Tambuwal’s ambition will dwarf Saraki’s when the two collide. If Saraki had remained in the APC, he would be unable to reclaim his Senate seat let alone the Senate Presidency. He thus bolted because he lusts for the presidency but was promised by the PDP, at least, a return to his position in the Senate.”
He added: “For Saraki to talk about lack of governance is for him to deny who he is and the position he holds. This man stands as Nigeria’s number three citizen. Clothed is he in ample power and influence. If he saw areas where government and the nation needed help, he could have easily applied his energies to these areas. He could have drafted legislation and easily got laws passed.
“However, no progressive enactment bears his name for he cared not for progress. He has been more focused on changing the rules of the Senate to favour himself and changing the order of elections so as to coincide with his selfish designs.
“We move toward a more democratic union. The old days where a handful of uninformed men and those with deep pockets decided everything for everybody are being swept away. The will of the people can no longer be ignored. Those who would be the masters over the people must now be public servants. A party or elected official may no longer rule over the people. They must govern for the benefit of the people.
“This is more than competition over numbers. What rests in the balance is not whether one party has more elected officials on its roster, but which party has the right mindset and policies to reform Nigeria that she may become what goodness demands of her. We are in locked battle to define the future of this nation and the quality of its governance. This battle pits one party, the APC, with all of its imperfections, that seeks national reforms against another party, the PDP, which symbolises the perfection of the most selfish designs of the most selfish politicians among us,” Tinubu explained.
According to him, moral battle informed the recent defections, adding that those who belong to that PDP mode of thought could find no permanent comfort in walking the path of progressive reform and progress.
“All the things we have inaugurated such as school-feeding programmes for poor pupils, social security for poor families, affordable housing programs, greater access to credit for small businesses and greater access to education and health care, these things the defectors could not well abide. They detested President Buhari’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) innovation because it barred them from mis-directing funds into a maze of unaudited accounts from which they could siphon as they pleased. Buhari cut off their clandestine illicit spigot,” he said.