No aspirant from the South can stand against the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on the contest for the presidency ahead of 2023, a chieftain of the ruling party, Senator Abu Ibrahim, has said.
Senator Ibrahim, who is a close confidant of both President Muhammadu Buhari and the Asiwaju, told Daily Trust on Sunday in an exclusive interview that all those being taunted for the presidency in the South-West were protégés of the former Lagos governor and would not compete against him.
Narrating how he linked Buhari with Tinubu in 2010, the Katsina-born politician, who had been in the Senate for many years before he quit, said the alleged plan by some northern governors to retain power in the North would not scale through.
Asked if the reported presidential ambitions of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State would not affect the chances of Tinubu, Ibrahim said, “It is normal, but the issue is: Can they stand Tinubu in the South-West? They can see what is coming up. I don’t want to start discussing this issue; it is a different topic.
“Tinubu brought Fayemi back to Nigeria. Above other leading contenders, he picked him to be the governor of Ekiti State. When we met at Bourdillon (Tinubu’s residence), he told me to thank my friend for him. He said Asiwaju even mobilised fund for him after nominating him to be governor.
“He won the election, but in the second tenure, he failed to even win his ward, and he was made a minister. When he wanted to go for this present tenure, I went to the president and I said Fayemi may not be able to win without Tinubu, so he called Asiwaju and gave him the responsibility to deliver Ekiti for him.”
And on Osinbajo, he said, “The vice president was his commissioner for justice. He never lobbied for the office; he just picked and gave him that position. I have discussed with the vice president many times. I went to his house and office and we discussed the party and everything, including his relationship with Asiwaju. I know how he felt or how he feels about their relationship. He respects Tinubu so much that I feel he may not be able to contest against him.”