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[UPDATE]: I’ve told Buhari I’ll contest for presidency in 2023, says Tinubu

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Former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has informed President Muhammadu Buhari of his intention to vie for the presidential ticket of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).

The party chieftain met with the president in his office Monday at the presidential villa, Abuja after which he told correspondents that he would definitely contest for the 2023 presidency.

He refused to be drawn into the question of a potential race for the APC ticket between him and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo whose support groups have been mobilizing for his candidacy.

Tinubu asserted that his ambition to be president of Nigeria has been a life-long ambition, noting that with what he did in Lagos in his time as governor, he has the capacity to rule Nigeria.

On Osinbajo’s potential ambition, the APC leader maintained that he would not discuss any individual.

Asked why he would not remain a kingmaker rather than being the king, he said there is nothing that stops a kingmaker from becoming the king unless he has committed murder.

On whether he has told the president about his ambition, he said: “I answer that with categorical yes. I’ve informed the President of my intention but I have not informed Nigerians yet. I’m still consulting. And I have no problem consulting. And I’ve set a parameter of limitation to the extent of how many people will I consult.

“You will soon hear. All you want to hear is the categorical declaration. You’ve gotten that truth from me that I have informed Mr President of my ambition, you cannot expect more answers than that.”

Tinubu said that Buhari has not told him not to contest as he noted that the president is a democrat.

When asked how the president responded to his information, the former Lagos governor stated: “That’s our business. He is a democrat. He didn’t ask me to stop. He didn’t ask me not to attempt and pursue my ambition, is a lifelong ambition.

“So, why do I expect him to say more than that? You are running a democratic dispensation, and you must adopt the principles and the values and the virtues of democracy. That’s it.”

On how he sees a potential face-off between him and Osinbajo for the APC ticket, Tinubu responded: “I don’t want to discuss individuals now. I must discuss myself. I have the confidence, the vision, the capacity to rule, build on the foundation of Mr President, and turn Nigeria better.

“I have done that with commitment and unyielding you know, in Lagos State. You’ve seen that experience and the capacity to turn things around and that is what we are doing.

“You know, the confusion, the drift of the past in PDP is being corrected. And you can’t take away from that. As we are today, go back to the data on how many barrels of oil were we producing when we first came in and what it is today.

“We cannot even…at the time we came in we did not pay the counterpart funds to start our rail line. Today, you enjoy the comfort of having rail from Lagos to Ibadan, you have the Kaduna and you have the one for Kano state on the aggressive pipeline, you see excellent infrastructure. I just came from Azare and I have seen good roads. The carnage of dying on motor vehicles is reducing except you know, lack of compliance with a lot of Nigerian drivers and VIOs.

“Let us think back, let us be intellectually inquisitive as to the past and the present and what the future holds for Nigeria.”

Asked why he was not satisfied remaining a kingmaker rather than wanting to president, Tinubu said: “About the cap of kingmaker. I’ve never seen the cap of a kingmaker before. That is the truth. And I’ve never seen where it is written in the rule book anywhere in any country that a kingmaker cannot be a king unless you commit murder.

“So, whatever is your attribute is your own opinion. Me, I want to pursue my ambition without the title of a kingmaker. You can write your literature and your story based upon your own perception.”

The former governor was also asked how he would governor Nigerian if given the opportunity but said the question amounted to asking him to disclose his manifesto.

“You want my manifesto now? Not yet. Not yet,” he declared.

Tinubu advised President Buhari and the National Assembly to review the Electoral Act Amendment Bill that the president has withheld his assent to.

He stated: “First of all, the National Assembly and the president must be encouraged to review and review again. Whatever they come up with as electoral amendment is what we must comply with.

“There is no unlimited elasticity in what we face because we have to plan and plan well, and be able to manage the time effectively.

“The great roadmap to success is the ability of a leader to do what he must do at the right time that it should be done. So, that to me, the electoral amendment point, we will still look at that collectively. And it is our country. It’s our democracy. We had adopted it and we will push it rigorously.”

Speaking specifically on his meeting with the president, he said he came to discuss issues of national interests including security, current government efforts and plans for the new year.

“I will not answer that question when I did not lose my citizenship. I came to see the President on general issues concerning Nigeria, including our political party, APC, security issues, the achievement and the New Year Agenda. That’s all I can tell you. The new strategy that we must have party Congresses and all that.”

He assured that the APC will conduct its national convention despite the worries being currently expressed, saying: “It’s certain that we are going to get it.”

When asked if it will be next month as earlier announced: “Oh, well. I’m not a spokesperson for the party. And the President is the leader of the party. So, expect convention, maybe if that’s added to your own anxiety, or the other party’s anxiety is good for us. We get it and we’ll get it done properly.”

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