Former Lagos governor and All Progressives Congress (APC) Chieftain, Bola Tinubu has said that Senate President/former governor of Kwara State, Bukola Saraki and Kaduna State governor/former FCT Minister Nasir El-Rufai, and other members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who defected to APC were the ones who worked against the plan to make him President Muhammadu Buhari’s running mate in the 2015 presidential election.
The revelation was made in the book, “Against the Run of Play – How an incumbent president was defeated in Nigeria,” written by the Chairman of the THISDAY Editorial Board, Olusegun Adeniyi
“What they (Saraki and others from the PDP) did behind my back was wrong. We always do things as a group. By the time they joined, we were already too far ahead in our processes but we accommodated them.
We agreed to take their state structures and subsume them into the part and they all had their opportunity to nominate the candidates of their choices for different political offices.
But they went behind to instigate Buhari and some other people in the party against me on the pretext of religion. That was not right. They were canvassing arguments that the Christians in the North would not vote for a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
Nasir el-Rufai was also selling the same argument within the CPC (the defunct Congress for Progressive Change) because at that point, he still wanted to have Pastor Bakare brought in as Buhari’s running mate,” Tinubu was quoted as saying.
Adeniyi said that the Tinubu claimed that the governors and some senators led the charge to stop him from contesting with Muhammadu Buhari, an agreement he said they had reached when the APC was formed.
“With the former Kwara State governor, Senator Bukola Saraki leading the charge, APC governors and senators agreed to meet with Tinubu to convince him that a Muslim-Muslim ticket would not work.
At the meeting, Tinubu was non-committal, insisting that the issue of running mate should be discussed only after the primary. To him (Tinubu), it was more important that the governors worked to ensure the emergence of Buhari rather than dissipate energy on who would become the running mate.
Apparently unsatisfied, Senator Saraki as well as Governors Wamakko of Sokoto and Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara decided to meet Buhari especially when they had feelers that he could announce Tinubu’s name as running mate the moment he was declared the winner of the primary, thus bringing about another fait accompli.
The governors did a concise analysis of the situation for Buhari at the meeting. Each one told him about the Christian population in their states and how a Muslim-Muslim ticket would be perceived.
They added that with such a ticket, it would be difficult to sell Buhari to get many votes from the North-central, a geopolitical zone that was then at play.
The governors also stated that for the party to win, the running mate had to come from the South-west. Similar to Tinubu, Buhari made no commitment to them, but the governors were confident that they had driven the message home.
But the former military head of state had come a long way and he was not prepared to gamble away what appeared to be his best shot at the presidency after his previous disappointments,” Adeniyi wrote.
The book stated that Rotimi Amaechi (Former Rivers governor and incumbent Minister of Transportation) and Adams Oshiomhole‘s (former Edo governor) names were mentioned after the APC primaries of December 2014 where Buhari secured the ticket.
It added that many persons within the APC hierarchy had decided that the position should go to the South-west.
The book added that in consulting on the issue, Buhari had visited former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar at his Abuja home on Sunday December 14, 2014.
The former number two man pledged his support to Buhari but warned against picking a Muslim running mate, as that could jeopardise the aspiration of the party.
On Monday 15th December 2014, Buhari called on Tinubu at his Asokoro residence in Abuja. It was not a pleasant meeting, according to those present.
The APC presidential candidate explained why he could not go with a Muslim-Muslim ticket. But Tinubu countered that the position was forced on Buhari by his (Tinubu’s) opponents within the coalition who were using religion as an excuse to edge him out.
Buhari persisted and asked Tinubu to nominate three persons. The South-west leader sent only one name: that of his former Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
Sources: PUNCH | THISDAY