Bola Tinubu, former Lagos State governor and chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that Nigerians at home and in the diaspora have the democratic power to determine who will become the next president in and not President Muhammadu Buhari.
Tinubu, who shared the conversations he had with President Muhammadu Buhari on his presidential bid ahead of the 2023 general elections, when he visited the Aso Rock Villa last January to intimate Mr President of intention to run for Presidency, said, “I told the president I want to replace you and I don’t want to offend you.
“I told the president that I want to step in his shoes and not to step on his toes. I told him as the number one citizen, I should start my presidential bid by informing you first, and he (Buhari) told me to inform the whole world, and I have done that”.
While speaking at the Alake Palace in Abeokuta on Saturday, having met with Oba Sikiru Adetona, the Awujale of Ijebuland and Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, the Alake of Egbaland in Abeokuta, Tinubu noted that the directive of President Buhari to him to announce his presidential bid prompted him to begin consultations with those that matter in the country.
The former Lagos State governor said he had visited Awujale in Ijebu-Ode and was in Abeokuta to consult with the Alake of Egbaland, saying the rationale behind informing President Buhari of his interest in becoming the president was borne out of the passion to uphold mutual respect, not to create bad blood between him and Buhari because he did not want to offend him by “pulling the carpet from his feet”.
Recalling that he had once served as a senator at a younger age, governed Lagos State for two-term and was actively involved in Nigeria’s return to civil rule in 1999, Tinubu declared his intention to become President of Nigeria, adding that he had embarked on the consultations and visits to people that matter in the country, including traditional rulers, chiefs and others.
He said, “I call this visit a courtesy call. I have contested with the support of the people for Senate and I won at a younger age ever. I have been a governor; I clocked 50 on the seat of governor.
“I have done crusades to return Nigeria to democratic rule before I started hearing the voices of the people that I should contest for president, I have thought about it deeply, but I cannot think about it alone.
“The people said, this time around, I should run for the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I told them that, we have elected someone there and I don’t want to pull the carpet from his feet.
“I want to seek the permission of the Kabiyesi, I want to seek his blessings and his prayers and seek the blessings of other chiefs. I’m here to tell you (Alake) that, I want your prayers and I want to inform you that I want to become the President.”
Responding, the Alake of Egbaland, who prayed for the APC national leader on his desire to rule Nigeria in 2023, also expressed the optimism that Nigeria will be much better under Tinubu’s presidency than what it is now.