A National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has alleged that Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, worked against the plan to make him President Muhammadu Buhari’s running mate in the 2015 presidential election.
Tinubu stated that Saraki, El-Rufai and other stalwarts of the Peoples Democratic Party, who defected to the APC in the build-up to the 2015 elections, instigated Buhari and some APC chieftains not to pick him as the would-be Vice-President.
The APC leader’s comments were contained in a book titled ‘Against the Run of Play,’ written by the Chairman, Editorial Board of ThisDay, Olusegun Adeniyi.
Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos State, said his opponents persuaded Buhari to look for another running mate on the grounds that Christians in the North would not embrace a Muslim-Muslim ticket, and as such, could jeopardise the party’s victory.
The former governor said the arguments put forward by the party members were not genuine, adding that El-Rufai had the intention to ensure the emergence of the Serving Overseer of The Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Buhari’s running mate.
Tinubu added, “What they (Saraki and others from the PDP) did behind my back was wrong. We always do things as a group. By the time they joined, we were already too far ahead in our processes but we accommodated them.
“We agreed to take their state structures and subsume them into the part and they all had their opportunity to nominate the candidates of their choices for different political offices.
“But they went behind to instigate Buhari and some other people in the party against me on the pretext of religion. That was not right. They were canvassing arguments that the Christians in the North would not vote for a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“Nasir el-Rufai was also selling the same argument within the CPC (the defunct Congress for Progressive Change) because at that point, he still wanted to have Pastor Bakare brought in as Buhari’s running mate.”
Tinubu stated that some senators and governors then, who defected from the PDP to the APC, met with him on the eve of the primaries to know if there was an agreement between him and Buhari to run together.
He said he evaded the inquiry, which compelled the allies to join him in canvassing for Buhari as the right presidential candidate of the party.
“I told them that it was better to resolve such issue after the primaries, but they wanted to make it a condition for supporting Buhari, which, for me, was very wrong. I told them I could not insist on this as a condition for my support for Buhari. I felt that was not right to hold Buhari hostage in this manner.
“I believe the support that we gave was fundamental to Buhari clinching the party nomination. Without that support, a different outcome would have been most likely,” Tinubu added.
He noted that Buhari later requested him to nominate three persons for the job, but he (Tinubu) presented only Yemi Osinbajo as his ultimate choice.
“I backed down because I did not want to be depicted as causing a problem. I backed away from the position in order to offer Buhari a name I once raised with him in 2011: that of Professor Yemi Osibanjo,” he added.