Former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu has changed the mode of his ongoing campaign, amidst plans by President Muhammadu Buhari to work with governors to pick his successor.
Mr Tinubu, who is one of the leading aspirants for the presidential ticket of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, spoke in Ogun State on Thursday.
Speaking in Yoruba, Tinubu said for over 25 years, he provided a political refuge for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar when he was chased out of the PDP by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He narrated how he offered his ACN platform to Nuhu Ribadu in 2011.
While speaking, Mr Tinubu also directed his jab at his host, Governor Dapo Abiodun, saying “this one (Mr Abiodun), would he have become governor if I had not backed him?”
Even President Buhari was not spared in the jab.
“If not me that led the war from the front, Buhari would not have emerged as the president. He contested first, second and third times, but lost. He even said on television that he won’t contest again,” he said.
Mr Atiku, who is the presidential candidate of the PDP, contested for President in 2007 on the platform of Action Congress, the party of the former Lagos State governor.
In 2011, Mr Ribadu, former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission also contested on the platform of the ACN in 2011.
Across the country, Tinubu has sponsored several political associates for political offices, some of who are in the contest for the same presidential ticket.
Tinubu is believed to have nominated the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo as Vice President in 2015. The two politicians are in the race for the presidential ticket of the party.
This outburst may not be unconnected with the recent pronouncement by President Muhammadu Buhari that State governors on the platform of the APC should back him to select a successor.
The president left the country immediately after dropping the bombshell on the party.
Frank Talk Now findings revealed that the statement by the president has created sharp division among the governors
In several of the meetings held, some governors from the North have called for a candidate from the North to battle the former Vice President Atiku. While some governors, who feel they are closer to the President, are seeing themselves as likely candidates.
Governors have been meeting behind closed doors to suggest candidates to the President, however, they have become more divided.
A source in Tinubu’s camp, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Tinubu has switched the campaign to payback and demanding from loyalists to return the favour.
“We are barely 4 days away from the convention. The proposed consensus candidacy from southwest is not feasible and many of the aspirants from the region are not willing to step down.
“So, as you have seen in Abeokuta, the mode of the campaign has changed. While Sen Kashim Shettima may beg delegates in Calabar, at home, we have to remind them they owe us. The governor of Ogun State is not invincible. He is running for the second time, so it is crucial he is reminded of that fact,” he said.
Another source said the statement by the president has emboldened candidates from the north, citing the case of Ahmad Lawan, who has intensified his campaign since Atiku won the primaries.
It would be recalled that Mr Lawan appointed Orji Uzor Kalu as his campaign DG, while about 25 politicians from the southeast also gave open endorsement to the Senate President.
“We cannot take chances any longer. With reports that governors are debating power remaining in the North, there is a need for a change of approach,” the source said.
“At this point, taking the battle to Ogun State, the State of Osinbajo, is like sending a clear message to Abuja that even in Ogun State, Tinubu is strong.
“If you have been monitoring the primary in Ogun State. Two close allies of Tinubu defeated two incumbents. Olamilekan Yayi defeated Tolu Odebiyi and Gbenga Daniel defeated Lekan Mustapha.”
While campaigns are ongoing, everyone involved is still waiting for President Buhari, who is in Spain for a state visit. However, all aspirants are in last push for the finishing line