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Buhari may be distracted if I declare for president now: Tinubu

Speculations about Mr Tinubu’s run for presidency in 2023 ramped up in the week, following the release of an autobiography by his long standing ally, Bisi Akande.

• December 15, 2021
President Muhammadu Buhari and Bola Tinubu
President Muhammadu Buhari and Bola Tinubu

Bola Tinubu, an All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain, Tuesday said he is keeping his decision to run for president in 2023 close to his chest to avoid distracting President Muhammadu Buhari.

“The President (Buhari) is still in office. I don’t want to distract him from all the challenges he might face today,” said the former Lagos governor. “So, don’t muddle the political waters. Consult, make our program known to the people later. And the intention is clear. So you can keep guessing.”

Mr Tinubu all but confirmed his readiness to vie for the presidential ticket when he told leaders of the Northern Alliance Committee at a meeting in Abuja on Tuesday that “I am not going to turn them ( those urging him to contest) down.” 

He, however, said he “will still effectively and widely consult, particularly brainstorm with my friends and find a date to come out openly and tell Nigerians.”

Speculations about Mr Tinubu’s determination to run for presidency in 2023 ramped up in the week, following the release of an autobiography by his long standing ally and first National Chairman of the APC, Bisi Akande, last week.

In the book, Mr Akande projected Mr Tinubu as a politician who has sacrificed much for others’ (including Mr Buhari’s) presidential ambition but has suffered betrayals at each turn.

Last year, Peoples Gazette reported how Mr Tinubu quietly opened his campaign office in Abuja.  

In October, Lagos governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, launched a political group for Mr Tinubu’s 2023 presidential campaign.

Before now, Mr Tinubu had publicly denied setting up machinery for his 2023 run but former Lagos governor Babatunde Fashola confirmed weeks ago that Mr Tinubu will make his position on contesting for presidency in 2023 known by January.

With the run up to the next general elections fast approaching, Mr Tinubu has recently intensified consultations with northern groups, the region with the country’s most voters

Should Mr Tinubu officially throw his hat into the ring, he would be up against his protegee, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who is reportedly warming up to take over  from Mr Buhari; the Ekiti State governor Kayode Fayemi, and other candidates of southern extraction. 

Nonetheless, the frail health of Mr Tinubu remains a sticking point against his touted life ambition to direct the affairs of Africa’s most populous nation. The politician only recently returned from the UK after spending months undergoing a major surgery and its post surgery therapy.

Mr Tinubu will have to convince his critics and Nigerian electorates who do not appear ready to have another leader spending more time attending to his health challenges than the nation’s grueling affairs succeeding incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari. Mr Buhari has spent over 200 days in the hospital attending to his health since his time at the reins.

The former Lagos governor will also be bugged by allegations of corruption, having been accused of tilling his hands into the commonwealth of Lagos which he ruled for eight years.

The Gazette had published a series of damning reports on Mr Tinubu’s corrupt enrichment via questionable Lagos tax administration via Alpha Beta. The newspaper also uncovered how Mr Tinubu’s Alpha Beta siphoned billions to shell companies.

Already, there has been plots to indict Mr Tinubu for corruption. In March, The Gazette reported how the EFCC requested Mr Tinubu’s asset declaration documents from the Code of Conduct Bureau, in apparent move to establish infractions committed by him.

The former Lagos governor’s decision to order bullion vans bearing cash into his private residence on the eve of last year’s general elections has continued to haunt him, with Deji Adeyanju and other anti-graft campaigners describing it as primitive and petitioning the EFCC to go after him. The commission has so far failed to take action.

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