The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday declared that the party would follow the normal democratic process in choosing its standard bearer for the 2019 presidential election.
He said the leadership of the party had not endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari as its sole candidate for the forthcoming presidential election.
His declaration was against the recent endorsement of President Muhammadu Buhari as the sole candidate of the APC for the 2019 election by the APC governors.
Tinubu held a closed meeting with the leaders of the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, the Afenifere, at the residence of the leader of the organisation, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
Tinubu, who was at the meeting with the Governor of Ondo State, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, the Deputy Governor, Mr. Agboola Ajayi and the Acting Chairman of the APC in the state, Mr. Ade Ademehin, said Buhari was a man who believed in democratic process and the rule of law.
Tinubu in response to a question on an alleged automatic ticket for President Buhari, said, “I have not heard about that and the APC spokesman has not said that. No governor can appropriate the power of endorsement to himself. President Buhari is a believer in process; the Buhari I know believes in the rule of law and due process.
“We wanted him even before the last convention and primaries of the party and Akeredolu is here standing with me, he was not the governor then. He was one of the leading delegates that voted properly and Buhari was a clear winner.
“We follow all the constitutional provisions and an individual opinion does not matter at this stage. Buhari will want a normal process – Buhari that I know. Who says he will lose at any convention?
“But if the national body, the NEC and all of us as members, endorse him as our single candidate, we will not be violating INEC regulations, we will not be violating our party’s constitution. What you are hearing is just a campaign. Buhari has not excluded anybody, and he has not stopped anybody from aspiring or contesting.”
On his meeting with the Afenifere leader, the former governor of Lagos State said he came to see Fasoranti to seek his advice and prayers as one of the leaders in Yorubaland.
He said, “I am in Akure to acknowledge the leadership of Pa Fasoranti in our own race; he is a great leader of the Omoluwabi and in his twilight, we want him to be happy. He has been a great leader to all of us. His intellect is still very intact. We are here to seek his advice, seek his understanding and prayers. That is why I am here.”
Fasoranti, in his remark, noted that Tinubu’s visit was an indication of great things to come, particularly to the unity of the Yoruba race.
He said, “With the coming together of Yoruba leaders, there will be an understanding on major issues affecting the Yoruba race. We will consult and move ahead. As it is now, there will be a great understanding among the leaders as Tinubu is a leader in his own right.
“I think it (the visit) should lead to reconciliation, ARG and the mainstream, as Tinubu has a leg there. They are his supporters. This signal shows we will come together.”.