Ninth Nass: Why I support APC, Buharis position Tinubu

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By Clifford Ndujihe & Levinus Nwabughiogu

Says he is not positioning himself for 2023 presidential poll
I pray for your success, Ooni tells Bago
Doguwa opts for Reps majority leader

NATIONAL Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has ruled out ulterior motives in his support of President Muhammadu Buhari and the partys position on the adoption of candidates for the Ninth National Assembly leadership.

Buhari meeting with Tinubu at Aso-Villa

Insisting that his stand has nothing to do with positioning himself for the presidency in 2023, Tinubu, in a 2,268-word statement by his media office, said all his mind, heart and efforts are focused on backing the APC and President Buhari in achieving their shared vision of a flourishing economy and a prosperous people.

The APC hierarchy had adopted Senator Ahmad Lawan (Yobe North) for Senate Presidency and Femi Gbajabiamila (Lagos) for the House of Representatives speakership.

The adoptions are still raising dust in the party with Senator Ali Ndume (Borno South) insisting that he would not step down for Lawan and would pursue his Senate presidency aspiration to a logical conclusion. Also, some speakership aspirants from the North-Central zone have insisted on contesting and urged the party leadership to ensure equity, and justice in the zoning of National Assembly leadership slots.

Meanwhile, the Ooni of Ife, HRM Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, has canvassed youth inclusiveness in the leadership structures of the country to avoid a lacuna while praying for the success a front line aspirant to the Speakership of the 9th House of Representatives, Mohammed Bago in his palace, over the weekend.

With the partys decision, Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Ado Doguwa (Kano), yesterday, said that he has sacrificed his speakership and deputy speakership ambitions for the APC and would now aspire for the majority leader seat.

Why Im going for majority leader Doguwa

Speaking to Vanguard, Doguwa, a fifth-time lawmaker from Kano State said that as a loyal party man, he would not go against the APC which has respectively zoned the speakership and deputy speakership to South West and North Central geopolitical zones.

He said that it was natural to drop his ambition and support whoever the party has endorsed for the positions.

His words: The party said the South-West should produce the speaker. On that note, we are supporting the person that is coming up from that zone. They now went ahead to say that the deputy speaker is zoned to the North-Central. Okay, we are out of it. Now, the same political party made a clear-cut declaration that the majority leader of the House is going to the North-West. So, on that note, we dont have any other option. I am the only person now vying for that position. Any other person is a joker. Of course, we are consulting with all the stakeholders, governors, National Working Committee, NWC members especially those that come from our zone because it is like a zonal thing now.

I pray for your success, Ooni tells Bago

While receiving Bago in his palace, the Ooni of Ife said to avert a lacuna in leadership, the youth must be encouraged to assume leadership.

Yes, we now have a Not-Too-Young to Run law, but to compliment that we need to consciously bring the youth into leadership positions, Ooni said and praised Bago for embarking on the courtesy visit, describing it as an a demonstration of your profound respect for the Yoruba race.

Oba Ogunwusi also prayed for the success of Bagos aspiration of becoming the next Speaker of the House, pointing out that the positive attributes he exudes would surely guarantee him success.

As the custodian of the tradition and values of the over 50 million Yorubas worldwide, and by the grace of sitting on the revered throne of Oduduwa, I pray for the success of your endeavour, the royal father said.

Earlier, the speakership hopeful stated that besides the fact that the Nupe, his ethnic group from Niger State have historical links with the Yoruba, he decided to identify with the Ooni because of his stance as an advocate of youth inclusion in governance.

No ulterior motive in my support for APC, Buharis position on NASS

In the statement by Mr Tunde Rahman, Asiwaju Tinubu said he would have committed a terrible blunder by navigating against the Presidents position, adding that those who cast aspersions at him were, in reality, bucking against Buharis stated position. He attacked Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara for going against the APCs position in 2015 and used their positions to hamper President Buharis projects for the country.

The statement titled Tinubu Focussing on the Issues of Today: Tomorrow is the Master of Itself read in part: We have monitored, with rising incredulity, the rash of news stories claiming Asiwaju Tinubu is manipulating the APC nomination process for the National Assembly leadership. The stories claim this supposed manipulation is the first salvo in Asiwajus effort to position himself for a presidential run during the 2023 election cycle. Not only are these reports utterly false, based as they are in the febrile imaginations of those persons by whom they are being peddled, but they are also injurious to President Buharis historic quest to reform Nigeria. It is for this latter reason that we find cause to speak out where otherwise we would have continued to watch on in silent amusement.

Nigeria has barely emerged from President Buhari and the APCs resounding victory in the last election. The President, with the support of an APC majority in both chambers of our National Assembly, is now preparing to lead the nation forward for the next four years. Instead of covering the Presidents exciting Next Level agenda and what it promises in terms of economic and social growth and development, these people want to skip ahead to the next election as if they can cast aside the next four years.

However, the Nigerian people do not elect politicians to office simply to watch on as they manoeuvre and jostle for position at the next election. The people elect those who they believe will be the best public servants, committed to the national well-being. This is why they re-elected President Buhari while rejecting the horde of political jobbers that constitute the PDP.

The peddlers of these rumours have arrogated to themselves the preternatural ability to read Asiwajus mind more than he himself can know it. They also seem to have acquired the unique gift of bending time so that 2023 appears before we even reach the midway point of 2019.

This attempt to caricature Asiwaju as if his words and actions are all aimed at grabbing power will fail because this portrait distorts the plain truth. While the headlines are sensational they are also senseless because they are not grounded in fact. Asiwaju has not run for elected office since 2003. He last held office in 2007. He has never vied to become chairman of the APC nor has he tried to insinuate himself into any major government office.

If you were asked to name another political figure who has exercised such forbearance, you would be hard pressed to identify another person with a comparable record when it comes to restraint in seeking office. Where others, upon leaving one office, tend to set their eyes immediately upon another, Asiwaju, uniquely in Nigerian politics, has foregone his personal ambitions as his political ideas and policies have flourished in the hands of his allies and mentees

Since he last held public office, Asiwaju has, with unprecedented success, dedicated himself toward building a political party that would furnish a progressive alternative to the regressive policies of the PDP. Joining forces with President Buhari and others, who shared his progressive ideology, he helped form the APC. Since the inception of the APC, Asiwajus focus has been to assist President Buhari to develop, refine and implement a progressive agenda that would give every Nigerian a fair chance to prosper and provide for his loved ones

It is against this backdrop that Asiwajus support of the party position regarding the National Assembly leadership must be interpreted. There is no surprise in him supporting the party and the presidents position regarding the National Assembly positions. Nor is it wrong that he do so. As a loyal party member and progressive leader, he would have committed a terrible wrong by navigating against the president and party in these matters.

That Asiwaju has actively and publicly supported the party and president should not result in such public back-biting. We all know how important these positions are to the fulfilment of the presidents agenda. One needs only look to the last four years to see how painfully this lesson has been learned. With the Senate leadership usurped by regressive elitists that chamber constituted a brake on progress and good governance. The Senate leadership, and to a lesser degree the House leadership, stymied APC legislative initiatives while attempting to hoist noxious, reactionary and self-interested legislation on the nation.

Just look at the way Saraki, Dogara and their ilk high-jacked the budget process these past four years. National budgets were delayed and distorted as these actors repeatedly sought to pad budgets with pet projects that would profit them. Even worse, they cut funds intended to prosper projects that would have benefited the average person. After four years of their antics halting the progress of government, we should do all we can to prevent a repeat of their malign control of the National Assembly.

In 2015, Senator Saraki finagled his way into the Senate presidency. He planted himself at the apex of legislative power. But his actions as Senate president showed a man devoid of compassion for the average Nigerian. All he cared for was power and position. House Speaker Dogara has fared only slightly better. Occupying these positions is not a guarantee of future success. It is only a guarantee of present duty.

Elections are over. Now is the time for governance to take primacy. Those who have taken to intrigue about 2023 reveal themselves to be lacking in essential concern for the people and the substantive issues that confront us. Our challenges are steep and multiple. Resolving them will occupy all of our time and energy. We do not have the luxury to embark on fantasies about the future. Let the future stay where it is for now.

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