Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC) has denied manipulating the process that produced nominated members of the party for leadership positions in the incoming 9th National Assembly.
Mr Tinubu stated this in response to a media report suggesting the APC Chieftain played a vital roles in the emergence of candidates the party adopted to lead the next assembly expected to be inaugurated in June.
The report said the role played by the former Lagos State governor is aimed at positioning him for the presidential contest in 2023.
While the party choosed Ahmed Lawan to succeed the current Senate President, Bukola Saraki, it adopted Femi Gbajabiamila, to succeed Yakubu Dogara, incumbent speaker of the 8th House of Representatives.
Messrs Lawan and Gbajabiamila are allies of Tinubu. Their emergence as the preferred candidates of the APC for the top jobs is currently been threatened by their colleagues in the party who have vowed not to adhere to the party’s decision pertaining to the leadership of the 9th assembly.
Denying he played any role for the adoption of the two men, Tinubu also dispelled rumors of nursing a presidential ambition at the moment.
“We have monitored, with rising incredulity, the rash of news stories claiming Asiwaju Tinubu is manipulating the APC nomination process for the National Assembly leadership” a statement released by his office read on Sunday.
“The stories claim this supposed manipulation is the first salvo in Asiwaju’s effort to position himself for a presidential run during the 2023 election cycle.
“Not only are these reports utterly false, based as they are in the febrile imaginations of those persons by whom they are being peddled, they are injurious to President Buhari’s historic quest to reform Nigeria,” the politician said.
He said it was too early to start talking about 2023 presidential race when the party is yet to begin the fresh mandate given to it by the Nigerian people.
“Nigeria has barely emerged from President Buhari and the APC’s resounding victory in the last election. The President, with the support of an APC majority in both chambers of our National Assembly, is now preparing to lead the nation forward for the next four years. Instead of covering the President’s exciting Next Level agenda and what it promises in terms of economic and social growth & development, these people want to skip ahead to the next election as if they can cast aside the next four years.
“The peddlers of these rumors have arrogated to themselves the preternatural ability to read Asiwaju’s mind more than he himself can know it.
“They also seem to have acquired the unique gift of bending time so that 2023 appears before we even reach the midway point of 2019. If these people would only enlist their uncanny talents in the service of the nation instead of in the service of political intrigue and gossip mongering our country would be much the better,” he added.