The presidency has dismissed the insinuation that President Muhammadu Buhari’s relationship with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the National Leader of the ruling party has deteriorated.
The president’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu said the relationship between the two leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) remains as cordial and strong as ever.
Recently, the ruling party has been embroiled in a protracted leadership crisis that led to speculations that President Buhari’s loyalists are at loggerheads with Tinubu over the latter's perceived 2023 presidential ambition.
In a bid to quell the crisis, the president on Thursday, June 25, 2020, at the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) directed that the Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee be dissolved.
Two days after the dissolution of the committee, Oshiomhole, who is believed to be Tinubu’s ally, said he had accepted the dissolution of the committee in good faith. He also said he had directed his lawyers to withdraw suits challenging his suspension as the Chairman of the ruling party to demonstrate his loyalty to the president and the party.
However, on Saturday, June 27, 2020, Tinubu released a statement, saying he has not yet decided to run for president in 2023.
It is against this background that the presidency issued a statement, accusing the opposition parties of spreading rumour of a rift between President Buhari and Tinubu.
In the statement, the presidency said, President Buhari and Tinubu are reckoned as the founding fathers of the APC , adding that the recent crisis in the party should not be seen as Buhari-Tinubu showdown.
The statement reads; “The very essence of the requests put to the Emergency National Executive Committee meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) by President Muhammadu Buhari, which were unanimously approved aim to pull back the party, faced with an existential crisis from the brink of collapse, follow the constitution and take everyone along,” he said.
“While this action has been widely accepted with great relief by lovers of democracy and the rank and file of the membership, we are concerned that political vulturism masquerading as “smart analysis” is selling the commentary that this is a Buhari-Tinubu “showdown.” Nothing can be farther from the truth.
“To put the records straight: In the formation of this great party and giving it leadership, President Buhari and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who are reckoned as the founding fathers of the APC are both inspired by democratic norms, national interest and not at all by partisan motivations. These are the qualities that have made them move past cynical distractions.
“They are in touch with one another. Their relationship remains as strong as ever and between the two of them, only they know how they manage their enviable relationship. Try as hard as they could, the opposition parties have used all their intellectuals and their supporters in the media to break this relationship and have failed. And they won’t.
“For President Buhari who has received much of the cynical commentary, Nigerians know him as someone who will not do anything with bad intentions. Neither will he do anything out of partisan motivations or for himself.
“This whole exercise, that should lead to massive reform and overhaul of the leadership of the party, as he said in that brilliant speech, was ”to save the APC from the imminent self-destruction. We have to move ahead. We have to take everyone with us and ensure that the party is run in accordance with democratic norms and with consensus. We have to work for the benefit of the country.”
“The leaders of the party, who have received two successive massive mandates to govern the country and a majority of the states should be judged by how this exercise turns out in achieving these objectives, not cursed at the mere commencement of the process.”