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Bola Tinubu Asiwaju for President? Don't bet against it

Don't rule out a Tinubu Presidency in 2019 or beyond. Remember, we warned you first.

  • Published:
Buhari and Tinubu play

Buhari and Tinubu

(Sahara Reporters)

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is back in the news again.

Actually, he never really left.

At the inauguration ceremony of Ondo Governor Rotimi Akeredolu (a man Tinubu never supported, it has to be noted), the Jagaban (as Tinubu is fondly called), let fly a kite.

Tinubu was asked if he'll be hurling his hat into the political ring come 2019.

Tinubu's response?

He wouldn't be ruling it out.

President Muhammadu Buhari meets with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Chief Bisi Akande at the Abuja House in London on February 9, 2017. play Buhari receives Bisi Akande and Bola Tinubu in London (Twitter/NGRPresident)

 

“You see, there is nothing wrong with such ambition. It depends on the timing and the environment and what political leadership dictates", the former Governor of Lagos said.

“I will not brush aside such an aspiration….Maybe as a Senator, maybe as a President, you cannot rule it out.

“How can I rule such a thing out? It's an opportunity to serve my country. But you only do that when there is vacancy.”

Interpretation: If there's a vacancy in Nigeria's political power equation, expect Jagaban to dive in, head first.

It was a comment that was immediately open to all other sorts of interpretations.

And the media and just about everyone else duly obliged.

ALSO READ: Is Asiwaju frustrated with President?

Here's one interpretation that has become a consensus since Tinubu's latest public outing: The Jagaban of Borgu has an eye on the Presidency in 2019 given that President Muhammadu Buhari is battling health challenges and may not seek a re-election.

There is a school of thought that should that scenario pan out, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who is a Tinubu ally and who was nominated for the Buhari ticket by Tinubu, would be asked to take a back seat role.

play Tinubu arrives political event (Twitter)

 

Tinubu would then vie for the Presidency while choosing a northerner as his Vice President.

Names being touted for the VP role in the emerging power picture are Kaduna Governor Nasir El-Rufai, former Kano Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso or incumbent Katsina Governor Aminu Bello Masari. 

As the speculations assumed lives of their own, Tinubu was forced to clarify his comments.

In a statement issued on Tuesday through Tunde Rahman for the Tinubu media office, the APC chieftain dismissed a ThisDay report which stated that Tinubu will not only vie for the Presidency in 2019, he'll defect to the PDP to achieve his ambition.

"As long as that patriotic and committed man named Muhammadu Buhari holds and seeks to hold the mantle as our president, then Asiwaju Tinubu stands behind him in unwavering support and confidence", the statement read.

Tinubu added that: "Asiwaju Tinubu remains faithful to the mission of progressive reform and change that President Buhari, he and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have started.

ALSO READ: I’m not contesting against Buhari in 2019,’ APC leader says

"As a politician, he cannot preclude the possibility of running for office in the future because no man knows what the future will hold. To translate this general statement of political reality into a tale that he is actively preparing for a 2019 presidential run is reckless in the extreme.

Bola Tinubu (L) and President Muhammadu Buhari (R) play Tinubu, Buhari (Punch)

 

"Asiwaju is acknowledged to be the intellectual father and the driving force behind the APC. It makes no sense that he would abandon the party that he worked hard to build in order to enter the dilapidated building the PDP has become.

"Asiwaju worked for over 16 years to break the PDP yoke on the nation. After breaking that yoke, it is not in his nature to voluntarily place it back on our necks.

"Anyone who has followed his career, even his staunchest critics, knows Asiwaju for his partisan consistency. He is not a party hopper. He is loyal and sticks with the party to which he belongs".

Tinubu will be 66 years of age in 2019. That's pretty young in Nigeria's geriatric power structure.

However, the North won't standby and watch as their "eight year tenure" as enshrined in the unwritten power sharing agreement between North and South, is truncated again by another 'Southerner'.

When Umaru Yar'adua passed on in office in 2010, Goodluck Jonathan who hails from Nigeria's South South region, had to complete his term.

Jonathan contested for and won the 2011 election on his own terms, mandate and ticket.

Buhari and Tinubu play Buhari and Tinubu (Punch)

 

Some sections of the northern leadership hegemony still feel that Jonathan's 2011-2015 tenure should have belonged to a northerner.

There have also been suggestions in certain quarters that Buhari won't be physically fit to continue with the demands of the office of President after 2019.

2019 may still be two years away, but there's already a jostle for the Presidency in several political circles.

Osinbajo isn't really ambitious and won't vie for the Presidency should Buhari find it unable to continue, Pulse has been told by some of his aides in the past.

In any case, Osinbajo still answers to Tinubu and owes his political rise to Asiwaju.

With his recent disclosure that he won't be ruling out a political run in the future, Tinubu has inserted himself right into Nigeria's political leadership frame for the nearest future.

That future may well be 2019 or post 2019... in some capacity.

"Maybe as a Senator, maybe as a President", Tinubu said.

Buhari and Tinubu play Buhari and Tinubu meet in London (Presidency)

 

We should believe him.

Tinubu has spent most of his adult life honing his skills as an adept political chess player.

The only reason Tinubu wasn't on the Buhari ticket in 2015 was because he's a Muslim.

The then opposition APC wanted to field a Muslim-Christian ticket in order to fend off criticisms suggesting that then candidate Buhari is a religious and ethnic bigot.

Tinubu's latest admission that he'll seek elective office someday soon because he intends to serve his country again, shouldn't be taken lightly.

However, Tinubu is reportedly battling health challenges of his own.

In 2013, Tinubu was flown to London in his private jet for a health related concern.

Upon his return a month later, Tinubu had a word or two for those who rumoured that he had passed away.

“May God forgive the rumour mongers because they don’t know what they are doing. Those with evil towards me, may God guide them right,” Tinubu had said.

A Tinubu Presidency someday soon? The signs are beginning to emerge.

Don't even bet against it.

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