Following his controversial comment made in Ogun State at a APC stakeholders , the National Leader of the party and former Lagos Governor, Bola Tinubu, who is seeking the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has backtracked on his comments saying it would be out of line for him to disrespect President Muhammadu Buhari.
Senator Tinubu in a statement issued on Friday, regarding his comments at a recent meeting with APC delegates in Ogun state backtracking on his earlier comments.
At the meeting with party delegates on Thursday, the presidential hopeful had said without him, Buhari would have lost the 2015 presidential election.
However, in the statement clarifying his remarks, Tinubu said he didn’t mean any disrespect.
“In Abeokuta, I spoke to the unwarranted attacks against my person that have been part of the campaign of others. I also recounted the history of the party for those whose memories need repair,” he said.
“There are many who had no role in the birth of the APC and in its many victories. Now that the party has climbed the political summit, they want to claim credit for something they had no part in.
“However, this cannot be said of President Buhari. I am proud of my role in the advent of the APC and its electoral successes. But President Buhari, of course, stands as the main driver of this success.
“He was elected president twice. He has borne the weight of national governance for seven years. Nothing can rival that. I would not dare belittle what he has done and what he has meant to the party and nation.”
Speaking further, the presidential hopeful said his comments in Ogun state were misinterpreted.
“There have been gross misinterpretations in some sections of the media regarding comments I made on Thursday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. To a degree, the erroneous interpretations may be somewhat innocent given that I spoke in Yoruba. Those who do not understand the nuances of this richly layered and subtly language may have inadvertently yet erroneously missed the true meaning of what I said while attempting to translate my statement,” he said.
“Instead of weighing what I said carefully, they translated so quickly and thus inaccurately in an attempt to meet media deadlines. Of course, there are also those who knew better but they conveyed these inaccuracies because the sensationalism suits their political purposes.
“Again, such propaganda and misinformation becomes daily fare in the heat of the political season. Let’s just state what needs to be stated. My opponents want to present a narrative that I made comments disrespectful of President Muhammadu Buhari in hopes that such a narrative would convince President Buhari to oppose my aspirations regarding the approaching primary. President Buhari is an experienced and accomplished leader. I do not believe he will be taken by the tricks of such people.
“Let me also erase any doubt. My respect and regard for President Buhari as Commander-in-Chief of this nation and as a person are high and unfailing. I shall never denigrate him. I certainly did not do so in Abeokuta. We have been political partners for a long time and I hope that partnership continues well into the future. I would do nothing to jeopardise it.
“I believe our party is the best hope for the nation to right itself. I believe I have a future role larger than the one I now have. I also believe President Buhari has a continuing and important role to play even after his tenure as president is over.”
Tinubu also said he has been a constant source of support for the present administration, adding that he has stood firm even in the face of criticism of the party.
“Indeed, I consistently supported the president and his administration. Even when the administration has come under intense criticism, my feet have always been planted solidly in defence of the president,” he said.
“The president personally nominated me to coordinate his re-election campaign in 2019. He did this not because I opposed him or because I was indifferent. He did so, because I was firmly with him in 2015 and has stood firmly beside him ever since.
“When I publicly announced my aspiration to seek the party nomination for the upcoming presidential election, I stressed that my strategic objective was to build on the foundation laid by the Buhari administration. In fact, I believe I was the first aspirant to inform President Buhari of his presidential intention. It was a sign of the respect I have for him and his office. It is unthinkable that I would asperse the leader of the party for which I hope to be the next flagbearer. It makes no sense at all to do such an indelicate, unseemly thing.”
He described Buhari as a “patriot, a man of integrity”, adding that “these qualities won him tremendous mass support leading to electoral victory in 2015 and 2019”.
“I am proud to have been his partner in the political merger that became the APC and in making history by ousting an incumbent president for the first time in Nigeria,” he added.
“I make no apologies for seeking the party’s nomination. I believe I have something important to offer Nigeria that the other aspirants do not have, although I see them as good and committed Nigerians in their own right.
“While I want this office, there are certain things I will not do and certain lines I shall not cross. I shall never belittle myself by denigrating the president or his office. I dare not seek an office and disrespect it at the same time.”