By Chesa Chesa
The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has described former President Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ) and former MiIitary President, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB), as mere shadows, who should enjoy their retirements and allow other Nigerians the space to move Nigeria forward.
Obasanjo and Babangida had recently issued press statements admonishing President Muhammadu Buhari to quit in 2019 and allow a younger person to succeed him because of his poor performance.
Tinubu, who was at the Aso Rock Villa on Tuesday, along with first national chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande, for a closed-door meeting with the President, however, told the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) that he would rather not really address “those shadows”, in apparent reference to the inability of the two ex-leaders to influence decisions in the ruling party.
He said: “I don’t address those shadows. We should let our former presidents join retirees’ club and take pensions; but they can participate in our politics if they are interested.
“It is a free world but this freedom is not served a la carte; it is taken. We should be allowed to move our country forward. It is a challenge to every Nigerian”.
The former Lagos State governor and influential member of the APC, said that he was elated with his appointment as head of a reconciliation committee by Buhari with the mandate to patch up the dissenting factions of the APC, and had already started work to ensure even a better outing for the party in 2019.
He told the state-owned television station that “l feel greatly honoured with the mutual confidence that the President has reposed in me which is a very strong political challenge. We have started in earnest. He has given me free hand to put cohesion, confidence and trust in the party.
“Democracy is about conflict resolution process. You can’t do it without resolving conflicts. We can’t build it without understanding the conflicts and sources where we are coming from.
“But, we want to leave the country with a legacy. It’s not about Mr. President; that is what he’s telling the country. It’s about our country and no other choice to democratic tenets than through political party platforms.
“He’s one of those rare beings around the country, around Africa who had experienced both worlds: he fought a battle to save Nigeria and came to politics to save Nigeria. Very rare people have such an opportunity in their lifetime and that’s what we talk about legacy, and where we have all the challenges; do what we should do. I’m enjoying the challenges so far,” Tinubu stressed.