By Lucy Osuizigbo
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), has denied reports of manipulating process for nominating leadership of the National Assembly (NASS), describing the insinuations as injurious to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Reacting to media reports that he was carrying out the manipulation to position himself for a presidential run in 2023 election, Tinubu said the claim was not only utterly false, but injurious to President Buhari’s historic quest to reform Nigeria.
Tinubu said his focus was to assist President Buhari develop, refine and implement a progressive agenda to flourish the economy and make Nigerians prosper.
Tinubu gave the explanation in a statement entitled ‘Tinubu Focusing on the Issues of Today: “Tomorrow is the Master of Itself”, released on Sunday by his Media Officer, Mr Tunde Rahman, in Lagos.
“I have not run for elected office since 2003. I last held office in 2007. I have never vied to become chairman of the APC nor tried to insinuate myself into any major government office.
“ Since I left office, I have dedicated myself toward building a political party that would furnish a progressive alternative to the regressive policies of the PDP.
“Since the inception of the APC, my focus has been to assist President Buhari develop, refine and implement a progressive agenda that would give every Nigerians a fair chance to prosper and provide for their loved ones.
“As he enters his second term, President Buhari has stated that he will give the economy special priority.
“His goal is to defeat poverty and joblessness while spurring the type of growth and development that will make Nigeria a durable and flourishing economy. These goals are laudable and necessary to move Nigeria forward, “he said.
Tinubu said that as a loyal party member and progressive leader, he would have committed a terrible wrong by navigating against the president and party’s position regarding the National Assembly leadership.
“It is against this backdrop that my support of the party’s position regarding the National Assembly leadership must be interpreted.
“There is no surprise in my supporting the party and the president’s position regarding the National Assembly positions. Nor is it wrong that I do so.
“That I have actively and publicly supported the party and president should not result in such public backbiting.
“We all know how important these positions are to the fulfillment of the president’s agenda, ” he said.
Tinubu lamented that a painful lesson was learned in the last four years regarding the leadership of the National Assembly.
“One needs only look to the last four years to see how painfully this lesson has been learned. With the Senate leadership usurped by regressive elitists that constituted a brake on progress and good governance.
“Just look at how outgoing Senate President Bukola Saraki and House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara and their like, highjacked the budget process these past four years.
” National budgets were delayed and distorted as these actors repeatedly sought to pad budgets with pet projects that would profit them.
” Even worse, they cut funds intended to prosper projects that would have benefitted the average person.
“After four years of their antics halting the progress of government, we should do all we can to prevent a repeat of their malign control of the National Assembly, “he said.
Tinubu said there was the need for equal commitments to ensuring that the National Assembly leadership be competent and experienced as well as imbued with a progressive mindset and a desire to work in close cooperation with executive.
“This is all I have hoped to achieve. There are no ulterior motives. Everything I have done is in concert with and in furtherance of the wishes of President Buhari and the party.
“What everyone who cares about Nigeria should now do is rally around the president to give him all possible support in driving to reality his economic policies and objectives.
“This is how we progress as a nation, ” Tinubu said.(NAN)