- Category: April 2011 Polls
- Published on Sunday, 17 April 2011 01:39
- Written by Admin
- Hits: 3019
Former Lagos State Governor and chieftain of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on Saturday said the proposed alliance between the ACN and the Congress for Progressive Change failed because the latter wanted to keep its platform though “the ACN is the leading party.”
The ACN leader also disclosed that President Goodluck Jonathan sought the support of the party for his presidential ambition when he visited Lagos recently.
Tinubu, who spoke at Unit 047, Ward 3, Alausa where he voted, noted that the ACN would have been in danger if it had gone into the alliance on the CPC’s terms.
He said, “For an alliance to work, you must give and take; you must make sacrifices; it is unfortunate that some Nigerians are so self centered and have no patriotic desire to sacrifice anything for the nation. With the results of last Saturday’s National Assembly election, it has become obvious that the ACN is better spread, and we should be the leader in an alliance.
Full report by www.thewillnigeria.com
Former Lagos State Governor and leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has cautioned the presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), General Muhammadu Buhari on making derogatory comments over the failure of the ACN and the CPC to reach a working alliance ahead of the Presidential election which held today nationwide.
Bola Tinubu spoke during a question and answer session with journalists after his accreditation to vote in the election in Alausa, Lagos.
On why the alliance failed?
So what transpired?
At that time, there was no Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). What we had was The Buhari Organisation (TBO). Suddenly, CPC was registered. To me, at that stage, instead of a merger to form a unified platform, they started talking about alliance. Alliance in a presidential system has never worked. You need to form a common platform with a common manifesto to be able to work together and be able to educate the people on the difference between the common platform and the constituting parties.
When the merger plan did not work, they dragged us back. I will not blame any person. But Buhari, as a leader who is highly experienced, and has been a statesman and contested election twice and has complained of rigging and irregularities in court for a long time challenging the process, he should have seen that it is not wise to bring CPC in at the time we were rooting for a merger. But we still respected him and wanted to continue with the merger plan, but he said he wanted an alliance. So, the merger was suspended.
However, if you want alliance, instead of a merger, you must be ready to negotiate, give, take and make sacrifices. But it is unfortunate that we are so self-centred and selfish to the extent that it beclouds our patriotic sense. They do not want to give, but want take. We suspended the alliance talk till after the National Assembly election, the result of which showed that Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has better strength and better spread than CPC. So, we should be the leader in the alliance.
But they want to keep the presidential candidate as well as the running mate, in an alliance where we should be the leading pack. Now, the alliance is not strong enough to produce the senate president, neither can it produce the House of Representative Speaker, so what are we going to get in return? I am ready to sacrifice my two legs to be amputated, but you are not even ready to sacrifice your index finger. They were offering us cabinet positions which you can change your mind tomorrow and sack at will.
When did the ACN back up then, was it after the offer of cabinet positions?
We were still ready to go along with the plan in the interest of the country. But we later discovered that while we were negotiating the alliance, they are also speaking with the Save Nigeria Group (SNG), to which they have conceded the slot of Vice Presidency. We accepted him, but asked him to surrender the vice presidential slot. If we do not have that, our platform, which we have laboured so hard to build, will be in danger.
So we proposed a merger which will be implemented after the election. We could not afford to jettison our symbol because it is the symbol of economy, especially for the poor. But we were ready for a joint logo that will show the broom on one side and Buhari’s pen on another side as a new logo for the future. The negotiation went to that extent. Yet, they refused to commit to that plan. At that point, it became clear that they are only after using us to win election, without having any regard for our platform. We decided at that point to cancel all suggestions and look at things holistically.
Why did the ACN not push for a candidate from the younger generation?
We actually did because globally, younger people are taking over governance. They are producing better results, even the very conservative Russia is shifting ground for the younger generation. Our candidate is younger than others. Ribadu is a lawyer and an institutional man. He built Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which became a deterrent to widespread irregularity, from the scratch. When Ribadu was at EFCC, Buhari was one of the principal advisers of EFCC. Both of them have a long family history when Ribadu’s father was a parliamentarian. So, he could have become our national hero and our own Mandela, by supporting Ribadu.
So, may be, the election will throw up a run off. Then we can resume the alliance talk. But I got a text from Chief Bisi Akande this morning that “General Buhari on Voice of America radio today said that ACN has already sealed a deal with the PDP for some cabinet post and Speaker of House of Representatives.” That is false, if it is true that Buhari said so. It is blackmail. I do not expect somebody of his calibre to make such statement. We are going to remain committed to our manifesto.
On the meeting between the ACN and President Goodluck Jonathan?
If President Jonathan will invite the leadership of the ACN to even have a discussion on collaboration, he has done well. It means he has shown the desire to win the election. But what has Buhari done? Has he ever willingly contacted the leadership of ACN privately? Until we were rallied by some leaders who wanted us to form the alliance, Buhari never took a single proactive step. I do not believe a man running to be the President of Nigeria and not Emir of Katsina should have the needed flexibility. To be a good leader, you have to be flexible and accommodating.
On Nuhu Ribadu's readiness to drop out for Buhari
In fact, in all honesty, Ribadu was even willing to step down when we consulted him. He was ready to make the huge sacrifice. But the other party remained unbendable. I have never being a part of federal government even though, the democracy we enjoy today is a product of our struggle in National Democratic Coalition (NADECO). I did not take advantage of it when former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is my kinsman, was in power. Or are you going to say he did not invite me? He invited me several times. He even set a booby trap in 2003. I bypassed it and defuse that trap.
Was CPC formed to frustrate the merger of progressives by fifth columnists?
Let us finish the bleeding before the careful analysis and post-mortem of the failure of the alliance will be done. But a leader must be able to identify great opportunities and sit on it, hold on tight. No one can mislead me easily because I examine facts, figure, and factors before taking decision. So, irrespective of how many columnists, why will a leader see that opportunity and not seize it? I think is a question of the quality of leadership ability.
Tell us details of your meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan?
He sought for my audience in Lagos not in Abuja. As somebody, I knew when he was a Deputy Governor, I have to respect him. The meeting was in Lagos. I told him that I have been in this position for years. During the military era, General Ibrahim Babangida took me as a younger brother and was very close to my family. Despite that, I did not change my position. When our democracy was aborted, I had a choice to go back to my profession. I chose to stay with the people, and struggle for democracy. I went into exile. I do not have to do that if not that my commitment to democracy is very firm. I told him that PDP has failed us for 12 years and I have 101 reasons not to join them. I said, “Mr. President, I respect you but I am not going to work with you. I have a party that I am leading and I am not looking for anything.” I do not need a presidential jet. I have been in presidential jet three times since the return of democracy. I boarded presidential jet twice with Alhaji Abubakar Atiku en route Umrah. The third time was with President Umaru Yar’Adua. We met at Kaduna. We flew together to Abuja. If they are sure I flew in presidential jet to see Jonathan, let them produce the manifest of that flight. It is amazing that blackmail thrives more than the truth in this country. There are so many misleading stories that could easily be verified but surprisingly ended up being believed.
On the election proper
This election has its own form and next week’s governorship will have its own form too. That is when this low turnout will turn to massive turnout. All politics is local. We are all going to massively vote for Governor Raji Fashola.