President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, described his relationship with the national leader of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, as strong, enviable and unbreakable, saying he has resisted various ploys by the opposition to break the bond.
Buhari stated this in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu. It was in reaction to insinuations about an alleged exclusion of Tinubu from last Thursday’s emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the APC.
There were suggestions that Tinubu might have lost out in the party’s power tussle after the dissolution of the National Working Committee (NWC), which he had backed, and its subsequent replacement with a caretaker committee. The committee was to pilot the party’s affairs and organise a convention within six months.
The latest outcomes were also rumoured to indicate a rift between Buhari and Tinubu, with some saying it signalled the end of the latter’s alleged 2023 presidential ambition.
In response to the speculations, Tinubu had issued a lengthy statement last night, where he spoke extensively on the state of the party, admitting unequivocally that the ruling party headed in the wrong direction before Buhari’s intervention last Thursday.
But in the statement by the presidential spokesman, Buhari dismissed the insinuations that the decision not to invite Tinubu to the NEC meeting implied a “showdown” between the two leaders. The statement said the relationship between the president and the former Lagos State governor was inspired by democratic norms and national interest, and that both men were constantly in touch with each other.
According to the statement, “To put the records straight: In the formation of this great party and giving it leadership, President Buhari and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who are reckoned as the founding fathers of the APC, are both inspired by democratic norms, national interest and not at all by partisan motivations. These are the qualities that have made them move past cynical distractions.
“They are in touch with one another. Their relationship remains as strong as ever and between the two of them, only they know how they manage their enviable relationship.”
The statement said the NEC meeting had been called to save the party from collapse. It said those insinuating a face-off between Buhari and Tinubu were merely engaging in “political vulturism.”
The statement added, “The very essence of the requests put to the Emergency National Executive Committee meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) by President Muhammadu Buhari, which were unanimously approved, aimed to pull back the party, faced with an existential crisis, from the brink of collapse, follow the constitution and take everyone along.
“While this action has been widely accepted with great relief by lovers of democracy and the rank and file of the membership, we are concerned that political vulturism masquerading as ‘smart analysis’ is selling the commentary that this is a Buhari-Tinubu ‘showdown.’ Nothing can be farther from the truth.”