Speaking with journalists on Wednesday, Nov. 22, after a meeting with the leadership of Afenifere at the Akure home of its leader, Reuben Fasoranti, Tinubu stressed that the party would follow the normal democratic process in choosing its standard bearer for the 2019 presidential election.
His declaration was against the recent endorsement of President Muhammadu as the sole candidate of the APC for the 2019 election by the APC governors.
While stressing that Buhari will stand for normal democratic process and the rule of law, Tinubu said:
“No governors can appropriate the power of endorsement to themselves. Buhari is a believer in due process.
“The Buhari I know believes in the rule of law. We wanted him even before the last convention and primary of the party and Akeredolu is here standing with me, he was not the governor then. He was one of the leading delegates that voted properly and Buhari was a clear winner.
“We followed all the constitutional provision and an individual or group’s opinion does not really matter at this stage, Buhari will want a normal process. Buhari that I know, who says he will lose at any convention? But if the national body, the NEC (National Executive Committee) and all of us as members endorsed him as our single candidate, we will not be violating INEC regulations, we will not be violating our party constitution.
“What you are hearing is just a campaign by other people who might like to do so. Buhari has not excluded anybody, and he has not infringed on anybody’s ambition if there is. We cannot be sycophantic about it.”
Tinubu arrived at the Akure Airport at about noon and was received by Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, his deputy Agboola Ajayi, State Executive Council (SEC) members and party leaders.
Explaining the reason for his visit, the APC stalwart said he came to pay homage and to acknowledge the leadership of Fasoranti as one of the leaders of the Yoruba nation and the leader of the Afenifere group.
“I am in Akure to acknowledge the leadership of Pa Fasoranti in our own race, as a great leader of the Omoluabi. In his evening, we want him to be happy, he has been a great leader in his youth.
“His intellectual (capacity) is still very intact. We are here to seek his advice, seek his understandings and prayers; that is why I am here,” Tinubu said.
The meeting with Afenifere was held behind closed doors with the Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu; his deputy, Agboola Ajayi; the National Vice Chairman (South-west), Pius Akinyelure; and Olu Falae in attendance.
Others present at the meeting were the APC chieftain, Bisi Akande; and the secretary of Afenifere, Seinde Arogbofa.
The meeting might be a sign of a major realignment of forces in the Southwest. It will be recalled that Tinubu parted ways with the leadership of the Afenifere shortly before the 2003 elections over his opposition to an alliance with the former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Speaking after the meeting, Pa Fasoranti said the visit is an indication of great things to come. His words:
“With the coming together of Yoruba leaders, there will be an understanding on major issues affecting the Yoruba race.
“We will consult and move ahead. As it is now, there will be a great understanding among the leaders as Tinubu is a leader in his own right.
“I think it (the visit) should lead to reconciliation, ARG and the mainstream, as Tinubu has a leg there. They are his supporters. This signal shows we will come together.”