*Tinubu’s chances in North-east very high, says Yahaya
Laleye Dipo in Minna
Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan and the North-east Coordinator of the Tinubu Support Organisation and Gombe State Governor, Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya, yesterday had separate closed-door meetings with two former Heads of State, Generals Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd) in their homes in Minna, Niger State.
Though THISDAY could not ascertain the reasons for their visits as of press time, it was gathered that their meetings centred on the unity of the country.
Lawan arrived in Minna at about 1.30 pm and first visited the residence of Abdulsalami before he went to that of Babangida.
His meeting with Abdulsalami lasted for about 40 minutes, while that with Babangida took about 30 minutes.
Ahmad amid growing concern that he is not supporting the candidacy of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Senator Bola Tinubu, declined to speak to the press on politics and especially the 2023 general election.
He said he was in Minna “on a private visit not for politics.”
The Senate President along with some others had recently absented themselves from a meeting called at the instance of Tinubu with all presidential aspirants of the APC.
Speaking to journalists after he met with Abdulsalami, the Senate President said that the two leaders have a lot of roles to play in ensuring the unity and peaceful co-existence of Nigerians.
Lawan, who was accompanied by the Senator representing Niger East Senatorial District, Senator Sani Musa, said he was in Minna on a sympathy visit to the former Head of State who was recuperating from an illness.
He added: “As an elder statesman, it is necessary that the visit is made especially with the contributions Abdulsalami has made to the country.
“As our leader and elder statesman, we felt that it is necessary that we make this visit today to come and sympathise with him and his family.
“We are grateful to God for the lives of our fathers and we pray that they recover completely. This is to enable them to continue with their good work of ensuring that Nigeria remains united and Nigerians live peacefully amongst themselves.”
Lawan, however, shunned questions fielded on politics and the 2023 elections as he insisted that “he was only in the state for a private visit and not a political visit.
On his part, Governor Yahaya’s first point of the visit was Abdulsalami’s residence before he later visited Babangida.
He said he was on a visit to both leaders to “check on their health especially Abdulsalami who is recuperating.
Answering questions from journalists after his visit to Abdulsalami, the governor said that the chances of the All Progressive Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Senator Bola Tinubu in the North-east in the 2023 general election are very high.
“Our chances in the North-east are very high indeed. We are strong in our resolve to win the 2023 general election and we shall succeed.
According to him, “It does not matter that the PDP’s presidential candidate is from North-east. Both Tinubu and Atiku are my brothers. Nigeria is one and our major goal is to maintain a united and indivisible country and so, it doesn’t matter where both leaders come from because what we need is the best for Nigeria.”
“General Abdulsalami is our father and elder statesman and knowing him had been a blessing to us. I have come to greet him after his return from a medical checkup abroad,” the governor said.
Yahaya attributed the relative peace being enjoyed in his state amidst diversity because the people had realised their differences long ago and have also decided to address them, work together and live in peace to forge ahead.
“In Gombe, you will find that some families have both Christians and Muslims. It is a cosmopolitan settlement and a small Nigeria. We realised our differences early on and seek to address them. We have tried to maintain peace and understanding in the spirit of nationhood and brotherhood”, Yahaya declared.
He said that the two former leaders were carrying out their duties in guiding and advising the people on how to live together as one, saying that their efforts should be applauded.
Speaking about the state of insecurity across the country, Yahaya, said that the state has been able to maintain its peace amidst diversity.