The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, gave the strongest indication of interest in next year’s presidential race as he announced, Monday, that he had informed President Muhammadu Buhari of his intention to run.
The former Lagos State Governor broke the news to State House Correspondents in an interactive session he had with them after meeting the President at Aso Rock.
“I’ve informed the president of my intention but I have not informed Nigerians yet,” he told journalists. “I’m still consulting.”
Though he is yet to make a formal declaration, Nigeria’s political circuit had been abuzz with strong indications about his joining the race to succeed the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari. But he had, until Monday, avoided direct comments on the matter.
Mum was the word even during his knee-replacement surgery and recuperation in London when political heavyweights turned his home to a Mecca of a sort, inundating him with visits.
However, on the eve of his departure to Nigeria, last October, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and some APC stalwarts broke the ice at Onikan Stadium in Lagos when they launched a campaign group championing Tinubu’s candidature for the 2023 Presidential vote, tagged the South-west Agenda 2023 (SWAGA ‘23).
That event opened a floodgate of political activities as many Tinubu support groups sprang up across the country, flooding the media, both traditional and digital, as well as social media, with a surfeit of campaign materials.
Still, the APC National Leader never uttered a word.
However, in November 2021, one month after the launch of SWAGA ’23, elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai told the media that Tinubu had ought his support for the nation’s number one job.
“I don’t want to join any (political) party but I can support a candidate of my choice,” Yakasai had said in an interview. “I have said it way back in 1951 that I will not be a party member but I will support a candidate of my choice.”
“He (Tinubu) just came to visit me but actually I have two of them (presidential aspirants) that I have earmarked right from the beginning and I made a vow that any one of them who came to ask for my support first is the person I would support. Tinubu is the first person. He (Tinubu) did; and he asked for my support.”
Also, after a closed-door meeting with members of the Northern Alliance Committee, NAC, last December, Tinubu also told the world that he was still consulting. And that he would not turn down individuals and groups urging him to run for President.
“I’m not going to turn them down,” he had declared. “But, I will still effectively and widely consult, particularly brainstorm with my friends and find a date to come out openly and tell Nigerians.”
But Monday’s declaration at Aso Rock has no doubt ended any speculation about Tinubu’s Presidential ambition in 2023. The political terrain has just got a catalyst to stir a flurry of activities.