Presidency: Buhari, Tinubu Relationship Remains as Strong as Ever

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Mallam Garba Shehu

Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

The relationship between President Muhammadu Buhari and the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, is strong, enviable, and has resisted various ploys of the opposition to break it, the Presidency said at the weekend.

The presidency was reacting to various commentaries trending on social media that following the exclusion of Tinubu from last Thursday’s emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party, he had been dumped by Buhari after using him twice to gain political power.

Proponents of the insinuations who had also claimed that there is a rift between Buhari and Tinubu, had repeatedly mocked Tinubu, saying the alleged face-off between him and the president meant end of the road for his presidential ambition.

But the presidency, in a statement by presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, last night, dismissed the insinuations that the decision of Buhari not to invite Tinubu to the meeting implied a “showdown” between the two leaders, saying nothing could be further from the truth.

According to him, the relationship between the president and the former governor was inspired by democratic norms, national interest and both of them are in touch with each other.

“To put the records straight: In the formation of this great party and giving it leadership, President Buhari and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who are reckoned as the founding fathers of the APC are both inspired by democratic norms, national interest and not at all by partisan motivations. These are the qualities that have made them move past cynical distractions.

“They are in touch with one another. Their relationship remains as strong as ever and between the two of them, only they know how they manage their enviable relationship,” he said.

According to the statement, the meeting was called to pull the party from the brink and save it from collapse, a move he said had been widely applauded in the polity.

He also said those insinuating a face-off between Buhari and Tinubu were only engaging in what he described as “political vulturism.”

He said: “The very essence of the requests put to the Emergency National Executive Committee meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) by President Muhammadu Buhari, which were unanimously approved aim to pull back the party, faced with an existential crisis from the brink of collapse, follow the constitution and take everyone along.

“While this action has been widely accepted with great relief by lovers of democracy and the rank and file of the membership, we are concerned that political vulturism masquerading as “smart analysis” is selling the commentary that this is a Buhari-Tinubu “showdown.” Nothing can be farther from the truth.”

Shehu who accused opposition parties of sponsoring the campaign, explained that Buhari, who was aware of all the insinuations, would never habour bad intentions towards the former Lagos State governor, neither would he engage in any pursuit out of selfish motives.

He emphasised that the essence of the meeting was to rescue the party from self-destruction and carry everybody along as the president had said in his speech.

He added: “Try as hard as they could, the opposition parties have used all their intellectuals and their supporters in the media to break this relationship and have failed. And they won’t.

“For President Buhari who has received much of the cynical commentary, Nigerians know him as someone who will not do anything with bad intentions.Neither will he do anything out of partisan motivations or for himself.

“This whole exercise, that should lead to massive reform and overhaul of the leadership of the party, as he said in that brilliant speech, was ‘to save the APC from the imminent self-destruction. We have to move ahead. We have to take everyone with us and ensure that the party is run in accordance with democratic norms and with consensus. We have to work for the benefit of the country.'”

Shehu also said both leaders who had received mandates to serve at different levels in the country would only be judged by the outcome of the decision taken from the NEC meeting.

“The leaders of the party, who have received two successive massive mandates to govern the country and a majority of the states should be judged by how this exercise turns out in achieving these objectives, not cursed at the mere commencement of the process,” he added.