All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart Asiwaju Bola Tinubu yesterday spoke on the defection of some chieftains from the ruling party to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He said the defectors, including Senate President Bukola Saraki and Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal, left the APC because they wanted automatic tickets and “the sharing of the national wealth”, which the party could not guarantee.
Tinubu said those anticipating the decline of the APC on account of the defections will soon be disappointed by their inaccurate predictions, adding that the days and months ahead will reveal that the forecasts were premised on bitterness and not on objective analyses.
In his view, the debate on the current historic national transition should not be reduced to narrow and cunning electoral calculations based on which party maintains the majority in the National Assembly. Nigerians are more concerned about the quality of governance, Tinubu said.
He added: “We are locked in battle to define the future of this nation and the quality of its governance. This battle pits one party, the APC, with all its imperfections, that seeks national reforms against another party, the PDP, which symbolises the perfection of the most selfish designs of the most selfish politicians among us.”
The former Lagos State governor said the defectors, who have presidential ambition, are afraid to face President Muhammadu Buhari at primary.
Tinubu reflected on the gale of defections in a statement in Lagos titled: “They go away because we go the right way”.
He said chieftains who had called it quits with the APC embraced the PDP because of the promise of automatic tickets, offices and privileges, adding that they were not interested in political and governance reforms that are critical to the liberation of Nigeria from the tenement of global poor.
Firing salvos at Tambuwal, Tinubu said his ambition was motivated by a personal ambition predicated on the defeat of the progressive reform and not its advancement.
He stressed: “Governor Tambuwal’s exit can be distilled to one cause. He covets the presidency. However, he had not the stomach to challenge President Buhari in a primary. Tambuwal felt further insulted that he would be compelled to face a direct primary just to retain the governorship nomination.
“But for the promise made by PDP hardliners like Rivers State Governor Wike that he would have the PDP presidential nomination, Tambuwal would not have left. His exit had nothing to do with governance of the nation. It was about forging a personal ambition predicated on the defeat of progressive reform, not the advancement of it.”
Tinubu said it was strange that Saraki could attribute his exit to lack of governance in a government where he wields ample power and influence as the number three citizen.
Chiding him for lack of proper focus, he said the Senate President had concentrated on activities that fuelled his selfish designs, instead of progressive enactments that could catapult the country to progress.
Tinubu added: “He harbours dreams of the presidency, but Tambuwal’s ambition will dwarf Saraki’s when the two collide. If Saraki had remained in the APC, he would be unable to reclaim his Senate seat, let alone the Senate Presidency. He thus bolted because he lusts for the presidency, but was promised by the PDP, at least, a return to his position in the Senate.
“For Saraki to talk about lack of governance is for him to deny who he is and the position he holds. The man stands as Nigeria’s number three citizen. Clothed is he in ample power and influence. If he saw areas where government and the nation needed help, he could have easily applied his energies to these areas. He could have drafted legislation and easily got passed.
Why announcing his defection, Saraki said it was “inescapably imposed on me by certain elements and forces within the APC who have ensured that the minimum conditions for peace, cooperation, inclusion and a general sense of belonging did not exist.
He added: “All governance principles which were required for a healthy functioning of the party and the government were deliberately violated or undermined.”
Speakinmg to his supporters in Ilorin, he lamented that “200 juicy appointments” were made without anyone being given to him and House of Represntatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara.
Tambuwal also said he was defecting because the APC-led government neglected its promise to Nigerians including “the restructuring of the country as promised and as contained in the APC manifesto”
He added that he could not “boldly point to any meaningful federal projects initiated in the state under the APC government, adding that “Sokoto State is also not being meaningfully carried along in political appointments and in other matters of national importance.
“However, no progressive enactment bears his name, for he cared not for progress. He has been more focused on changing the rules of the Senate to favour himself and changing the order of elections so as to coincide with his selfish designs.”
Noting that the Buhari administration is on course, Tinubu said it is nurturing political and governance reforms that would reposition the polity.
He said: “We steadily close the door on the old practices that have caused a rich nation to reside in the tenement of the global poor. The corruption of the past is ending; for it must end, if we are to fulfill our collective purpose. With this correction, less public money will be diverted to private benefit. More will be afforded to the causes of the people. The economy is being transformed so that the average person will have a better chance of finding a better life.”
Tinubu also said Nigeria is on the path of a steady union where exclusive decision making by a handful of uninformed men and rich persons has become a thing of the past.
He lamented that while some politicians champion the cause of reforms, others are scheming against collective improvement.
Tinubu stressed: “They seek to halt progress toward a fairer nation. They seek to hold the old ways. The difference between the two parties and why some people returned to their PDP conclave must be seen in this light.”
To the former governor, Nigerians have a stark choice to make in 2019. They will exercise the wisdom to make a good choice, he said.
He added: “If they want to relive the certain failure and inequality of the system the PDP had erected against their very interests, the people will walk the way of the defectors. If the people want to give themselves a better chance at an excellent nation, they will adhere to the path elected in 2015 when they voted for reform and the APC.
“I believe in the collective wisdom of the people. They will choose the right way for they are Nigerians, which means they shall do what is right and just.”