The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Senator Bola Tinubu, has said he will never contest against President Muhammadu Buhari or even support anyone who does so.
In a statement filled with bitter criticism over a THISDAY news report published Tuesday on his preparations for a run for the presidency, the former Lagos State governor denied it, stating that he was not preparing to contest for the presidency in the 2019 elections.
He said the story was aimed at placing him at odds with Buhari, adding that it was baseless.
A statement by his media office said: “First, Tinubu is not gearing up for a presidential run. So there will not be any doubt about this core matter, we shall state Tinubu’s position clearly and unequivocally.
“As long as that patriotic and committed man named Muhammadu Buhari holds and seeks to hold the mantle as our president, then Tinubu stands behind him in unwavering support and confidence.
“Tinubu remains faithful to the mission of progressive reform and change that President Buhari, he and the All Progressives Congress (APC) members have started.
“Tinubu was instrumental in the formation and success of the APC. His toil and efforts helped establish this government. He is not one to tear down something he laboured so dutifully to build.”
The statement said the report misrepresented the mild banter Tinubu had with journalists at the inauguration of Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.
“When asked about future political office, Tinubu said he could not discount that possibility if the nation called upon him for such service, provided, he emphasised, that all political conditions were appropriate; particularly the office in question would have to be vacant, even if it’s local government area chairmanship.
“In our political lexicon, this means the office is not held by a member of the APC in good standing. We all know this.
“Moreover, if you really listen to his words, Tinubu did not mention any office or any timeframe. The conditions he mentioned may not become ripe for years to come and they might not pertain to the presidency.
“In effect, all he said was the position that any political figure would hold.
“As a politician, he cannot preclude the possibility of running for office in the future because no man knows what the future will hold,” the statement added.
The statement signed by Tinubu’s media aide, Mr. Tunde Rahman, stressed that his principal has not held any planning meetings for any such presidential campaign and is not contemplating any such meetings.
“He has no present list of possible running mates because he has no present intention of running,” it noted.
It also described as false that Tinubu ever contemplated leaving the APC to join the Peoples Democratic Party (PCP), saying: “Asiwaju is acknowledged to be the intellectual father and the driving force behind the APC. It makes no sense that he would abandon the party that he worked hard to build in order to enter the dilapidated building the PDP has become.
“Asiwaju worked for over 16 years to break the PDP yoke on the nation. After breaking that yoke, it is not in his nature to voluntarily place it back on our necks.
“Anyone who has followed his career, even his staunchest critics, knows Asiwaju for his partisan consistency. He is not a party hopper.
“He is loyal and sticks with the party to which he belongs. After fighting for so many years to elevate his party to the position of national leadership, he would not give that away in order to join with those who blame him for their currently bleak political circumstance.”
The statement added that any attempt to put Tinubu at odds with the president would fail, saying he supports and stands behind Buhari.
“He wishes the president well and that he returns soon. Whether the president is here or away, he has the full loyalty of Asiwaju Tinubu.
“President Buhari can rest assured on this point: Asiwaju Tinubu will never contest against him nor will he support anyone who does,” it said.