- Yahaya Bello, the Kogis state governor, has reacted over an alleged pact between President Buhari and Tinubu ahead of the 2023 election
- Bello noted that members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) would decide the party's presidential candidate at an appropriate time
- The governor, however, advised Tinubu to take a back seat and support a young candidate to emerge in 2023
Lokoja, Kogi - Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state has declared that he may run for president on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2023.
In this exclusive interview with Daily Trust, Governor Bello said his decision was based on the calls by many Nigerians across the political divide to run for the position.
Legit.ng gathered that he said many people both at home and even those abroad are calling on him to run for president in 2023.
Speaking on the speculations that President Muhammadu Buhari has a pact with the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to succeed him in 2023, Bello said that the alleged pact is not binding on the members of the party.
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He said the APC is guided by a constitution, which according to him, every member and even intending members ought to read and understand.
"Governing this country is not a one or two-man show. We also have the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which is guiding us. Every action and activity of powers is clearly spelt out in the constitution.
"I was not there when the purported or implied understanding took place. But today, we have over 40 million members of this great party and you are telling me that, assuming without conceding, that such understanding took place, we are bound by it? I think President Buhari and Senator Tinubu have the interest of this country and the APC at heart. They want a popular, credible and qualified Nigerian to lead this country."
The governor added that President Buhari is leading an all-inclusive government and party, not for the two of them or few individuals, adding that the idea of 'me and my friends or associates' is archaic and aristocratic.
He described Tinubu as a respected leader of the party, saying that he has played a very significant role in Nigeria’s democracy and has built a lot of people.
Bello, however, advised Tinubu as his son to allow his children to take over the mantle of leadership and do it to the glory of God and his admiration.
The governor stated:
He should see that those children he raised are now doing well. Let him see how we manage this country in his lifetime. However, he has a right to run, nobody is questioning that. I always urge everybody to respect him for the roles he has played in this country’s democracy. He is a man of integrity, to be candid."
Speaking on the rumour that Tinubu may pull out of APC if he is denied the party's presidential ticket, Governor Bello noted that the former Lagos governor has grown past the stage.
"You don’t build a house and destroy it. I don’t think he will do that. He has grown past that. As an elder statesman, he will not say the country should be destroyed in his lifetime, not even after his demise, so I don’t see him doing that.
"I can speak for him, that at an appropriate time he will throw his weight behind a Nigerian youth to take over the leadership of this country while he would be behind the scene giving support as an elder statesman. I think that is what he is going to do. He is a smart politician."
Former military president IBB reveals 8 qualities Buhari’s successor must possess
It was reported that he advocated for the young and energetic politician who is not above 60 years of age to become the country's next president.
He said the ideal candidate must be a good Nigerian leader; must be a person who is well travelled across Nigeria and must be someone who has friends everywhere.