Sunday, 1 June 2014

Tinubu Set To Join Presidential Race

As the build-up to the 2015 elections gathers momentum, there are strong indications that a national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Senator Bola Tinubu, may have changed gear. He is now set to declare his intention to seek the party’s presidential ticket.
Checks by LEADERSHIP Sunday indicate that the former Lagos governor may have concluded arrangements to make his intention known immediately after the party’s national convention slated for next week in Abuja.

Sources within the party told our correspondent that, contrary to earlier reports which indicated that Senator Tinubu was billed to serve as the running mate to General Muhammadu Buhari if the latter gets the nomination, the Lagos strongman has changed his plan.
This development may not be unconnected to the resounding objections against a Muslim-Muslim ticket which the Tinubu-and-Buhari ticket would reflect.

Another inside source said that the change of plan by Tinubu is to serve as a bargaining power for him, as the party is said to have already zoned the presidential ticket to the north in principle while the vice-presidential candidate is to therefore come from the south.
“The former Lagos State governor wants a chance to be picked as the running mate to whoever emerges as the party’s presidential flag-bearer,” LEADERSHIP was told. Those close to Tinubu said he wants to hold the south-west votes as a bargaining chip to force whoever may emerge as the favoured candidate to discuss with him.

A bloc of governors of the party has agreed that the challenge the nation faces is a generational one and therefore wants Tinubu and other elders of the party to lead them instead of contesting. It is suspected that Tinubu has decided to join the race himself to force the hands of the younger generation, since he believes he controls the south-west.
Similarly, given the resounding objection that greeted the Muslim-Muslim ticket, there was the need for the party to convince all and sundry that, contrary to speculations about the choice of Tinubu and Buhari as the presidential flag-bearers of the party, a level playing field has to be provided for the emergence of the party’s candidate through a democratic process, hence the new game plan.

It was learnt that, immediately after the APC national convention which is scheduled to hold between June 13 and 14, Senator Tinubu will formally declare his intention to contest the 2015 presidential election.
Other aspirants who may also declare include General Muhammadu Buhari, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso and Governor Rochas Okorocha. So far, only Sam Nda-Isaiah has publicly declared his intention to run for president on the platform of the APC.

Efforts to get the reaction of Senator Tinubu on the development were not successful as calls to the media aide of the Senator, Sunday Dare didn’t go through.
Also, LEADERSHIP Sunday’s attempt at contacting Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the National interim publicity Secretary of the APC was futile as calls to his mobile phone were not answered.

Also, a text message to his GSM line which reads: “Good day sir, my name is Kazeem Akintunde, deputy editor leadership newspaper. We want to confirm a story that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has decided to run for the presidency under the platform of APC. Please confirm. Thanks” was not replied.

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