LAGOS: All Ahead of 2019 presidential elections, Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu yesterday enjoined former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former military president Gen. Ibrahim Babangida to retire and “allow us to move our country forward”.
Obasanjo, in a “special press statement” last month, slammed the Muhammadu Buhari administration and “advised the President not to seek reelection”.
Babangida followed it up with a controversial statement which was also not complimentary to the Buhari administration.
Tinubu and Chief Bisi Akande, the former interim chairman of the APC, met with President Buhari at the Aso Villa one and a half hours after the President’s meeting with another former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar.
Responding to a question on the statements made by Obasanjo and Babangida, Tinubu said: ”I don’t address those shadows. We should let our former presidents join retirees’ club and take pensions but they can participate in our politics if they are interested.
“It is a free world but this freedom is not served a la carte. They should allow us to move our country forward. It is a challenge to every Nigerian.”
On the chances of the APC in the 2019 elections, the former Lagos State governor said: “You are asking me an obvious question. I belong to this party. My commitment is to this party. We have a better chance and we are strongly determined to prosecute election in a most transparent and democratic manner and we will win.”
Tinubu, who is the head of a presidential panel to reconcile APC leaders and unite the party, told reporters that he felt “greatly honoured” being offered the job.
.He said: “I feel greatly honoured with the mutual confidence that the President has reposed in me, which is a very strong political challenge. We have started in earnest.
“He has given me a free hand to put cohesion, confidence and trust in the party. Democracy is about conflict resolution process. You can’t do it without resolving conflicts.
“We can’t build it without understanding the conflicts and sources where we are coming from. But we want to leave the country with a legacy. It’s not about Mr. President. That is what he’s telling the country.
“It’s about our country and no other choice to democratic tenets than through political party platforms.”
Tinubu described President Buhai as “one of those rare beings around the country, around Africa who have experienced both worlds: he fought a battle to save Nigeria and came to politics to save Nigeria.
“Very rare people have such an opportunity in their life time and that’s what we talk about legacy, and where we have all the challenges, do what we should do. I’m enjoying the challenges so far.”
Gen. Abubakar met with the President immediately after he received letters of Credence from the Ambassador of Niger to Nigeria, Mr Alat Mogaskia; the High Commissioner of Ghana, Alhaji Rashid Bawa and that of Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy Sea to Nigeria, the Most Rev. Archbishop Antonio Guido Filipazzi.
The former Head of State declined to speak to reporters after the meeting, which lasted for less than one hour.