National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has bared his mind on the recent defections in the polity, as he alleged that the bigwigs who left the party recently did so because the APC could not offer them what they wanted.
In a lengthy statement released on Sunday, entitled “They go away because we go the right way,” which he personally signed, Tinubu said Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and Sokoto Governor, Aminu Tambuwal’s exit from the broom party were compelled by ‘galloping yet blind ambition,’ explaining that Governor Tambuwal’s exit can be distilled to one cause, which he described as the seat of the President but that the former speaker of the green chamber had not the stomach to challenge President Buhari in a primary.
“Governor Tambuwal’s exit can be distilled to one cause. He covets the presidency. However, he 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 headliners 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,” he said.
On Senate President Saraki, the former Lagos governor said his exit was occasioned by his lust for the presidency but was promised by the PDP, at least, a return to his position in the Senate, which he (Tinubu) claimed Saraki would be unable to reclaim, let alone the Senate Presidency, if he had remained in the APC, adding that Tambuwal’s ambition will dwarf Saraki’s when the two collide.
“For Saraki to talk about lack of governance is for him to deny who he is and the position he holds. This man stands as Nigeria’s Number 3 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 laws passed. 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.
“They bristled when we demanded that congresses and conventions be held; they had demanded to be given themselves automatic extension in their positions. They privately erupted as the APC decided that direct primaries where all party members vote on the party’s nominations should be the way of the future. The injection of greater democracy meant a decrease in their ability to manipulate end results,” he added.
Describing the entire development as a moral battle which was more than a competition over numbers, Tinubu added that, “They detested President Buhari’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) innovation because it barred them from misdirecting funds into a maze of unaudited accounts from which they could siphon as they pleased. Buhari cut off their clandestine illicit spigot.
“These politicians see accountable good governance and lifting of the common person as the tearing down of their quest for great riches and power.”
The National Leader also noted that a similar promise was made by the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) to the others who have so far defected.
“The rest of the defectors were given similar assurances by the PDP as to their offices. The APC refused to make such bargains as they are part of the ancient regime; these bargains are not of our democratic new way.
There is nothing wrong with ambition. Without a degree of ambition, we would never strive to improve and develop ourselves. But ambition, restrained by nothing but itself, is a dangerous commodity.”
On the future of the party following their defection, he said, “In a fundamental way, the APC may be better for their exit. It would be untrue to say their departures did not generate concern. As the air clears and we can better assess what is lost and gained by their exit, I can truthfully say the APC will be better off because they are gone.
“We can now focus more wholly on democratic governance inside and outside the party. Inside the party, we have adopted direct primaries to discourage corruption of the democratic process.”
Temidayo Taiwo-Sidiq is a Political Journalist, Analyst and Social Change Advocate with major interest in Nigerian Politics, Governance and Sports.