By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
Senator Abu Ibrahim has said no aspirant from the South can stand against the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in the contest for the 2023 presidency.
Ibrahim, who represented Katsina South Senatorial District in the National Assembly between 2011 and 2019, is a close confidant of both President Muhammadu Buhari and the Tinubu.
In an interview with Daily Trust on Sunday, Ibrahim said that all those being touted for the presidency in the South West were protégés of Tinubu and would not compete against him.
Narrating how he linked Buhari with Tinubu in 2010, the Katsina-born politician, who was involved in merger negotiations between CPC and Action Congress (AC) and was an intermediary between Tinubu and Buhari, said the alleged plan by some Northern governors to retain power in the North would not scale through.
Asked if the reported presidential ambitions of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State would not affect the chances of Tinubu, Ibrahim said: “It is normal, but the issue is: Can they stand Tinubu in the South qqWest? They can see what is coming up. I don’t want to start discussing this issue; it is a different topic.
“Fayemi, for example, knows very well that he is Tinubu’s boy. He was living in Ghana when Tinubu brought him. I once slept in his house in Accra.
“Tinubu brought Fayemi back to Nigeria. Above other leading contenders, he picked him to be the governor of Ekiti State. When we met at Bourdillon (Tinubu’s residence), he told me to thank my friend for him. He said Asiwaju even mobilised fund for him after nominating him to be governor.
“He won the election, but in the second tenure, he failed to even win his ward, and he was made a minister. When he wanted to go for this present tenure, I went to the president and I said Fayemi may not be able to win without Tinubu, so he called Asiwaju and gave him the responsibility to deliver Ekiti for him.”
On Osinbajo’s ambition, he said: “The vice president was his commissioner for justice. He never lobbied for the office; he just picked and gave him that position. I have discussed with the vice president many times. I went to his house and office and we discussed the party and everything, including his relationship with Asiwaju. I know how he felt or how he feels about their relationship. He respects Tinubu so much that I feel he may not be able to contest against him.”
Ibrahim also said the leadership of the APC was not using internal mechanisms to make the party stronger, hence the ravaging crises threatening its existence.
Asked whether the president would support Tinubu to actualise his dream of becoming president, Ibrahim, who said President Muhammadu Buhari was his house captain at secondary school, said he had no doubt on that because the former Lagos State Governor was instrumental to the emergence of Buhari in 2015 when he brought South West votes to add to Buhari’s 12million in the North that culminated in victory for the president after many attempts.
“If we don’t support Tinubu, North West politicians will suffer in the future as nobody will trust us again. So we have to make sure that this understanding is for our future politics,” he added.