The presidency has reacted to the speculation that President Muhammadu Buhari and Bola Ahmed Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), are having a frosty relationship.
In a statement on Saturday, Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, said the relationship between Buhari and Tinubu has been cordial.
The APC, the ruling party, has been embroiled in a leadership crisis which is spinning off speculations that the president’s loyalists are at daggers drawn with those of Tinubu over the former Lagos state governor’s presidential ambition.
Tinubu has issued a statement, saying he has not yet decided on a 2023 presidential bid.
On Thursday, the Adams Oshiomhole-led national working committee (NWC) was dissolved by the national executive committee (NEC) of the APC at the behest of the president.
Some members of the dissolved NWC had threatened to seek legal remedy to the action but backtracked. Oshiomhole, who is Tinubu’s ally, as well said he has accepted the dissolution of the NWC in good faith.
In the statement, Shehu accused the opposition of stoking the rumour of a rift between the president and Tinubu.
”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.”