Former governor of Lagos State and the leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu said he was misquoted by the governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha on his views about the 2019 automatic ticket to President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said he never underrated the importance of governors in the partyâ€™s nomination process.
He, however, explained that what he said in that encounter with journalists in Akure â€œand still canvasses is that the APC should not mimic the PDPâ€™s penchant for short-circuiting internal democracy by promoting the idea of an automatic ticket.â€
Governor Okorocha had said all the APC Governors had endorsed President Buhari for re-election, thus implying the governors had given the president an automatic ticket for 2019.
Asked to respond to the issue after a meeting with Afenifere Leader, Pa Fasoranti in Akure, Asiwaju Tinubu said such was strange to the party and that President Buhari was a man who believed in due process.
The Imo State Governor, however, interpreted that to mean a slight on the partyâ€™s governors.
Speaking with journalists in the same Akure after he received an honourary doctorate degree at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State on Saturday, he said his own statement referred to the partyâ€™s governors and that Asiwaju was crying more than the bereaved.
Clarifying Asiwajuâ€™s statement in a press statement Monday night in Lagos, his Media Adviser, Mr. Tunde Rahman, said: â€œWe note Imo State Governor Rochas Okorochaâ€™s statement. It is important that the record of what Asiwaju Tinubu said when approached by journalists during his last visit to Akure is accurate. Thus, I make this statement in the hope of clarifying a misinterpretation that seems to have taken hold in some quarters.
â€œI was at the interview session. Asiwaju never saidanything that could be interpreted as meaning or even implying the governors are irrelevant or insignificant to the partyâ€™s nomination process.As a former governor and a leading statesman within the party, such words would never come from him.
â€œMoreover, Asiwaju is a democrat who believes that the open and democratic processes of the APC, which led to the nomination of President Buhari in the first instance, have served the party well and has helped distinguish APC from PDP and other parties where fairness and internal democracy are rare commodities.
â€œEvery individual has a right to endorse or support a candidate of his choosing. What Asiwaju said at that encounter and still canvasses is that the APCshould not mimic the PDPâ€™s penchant for short-circuiting internal democracy by promoting the idea of an automatic ticket. The exercise of internal democracy and honoring the letter and spirit of party rules can only strengthen the party and enthuse its members.
â€œAPCâ€™s all-inclusive philosophy was not devised today. It had been with the party since its creation.
â€œIt was this spirit, which we believe, attracted fellow progressives and those who genuinely believe in democracy in all of its aspects to the party. Asiwaju includes Governor Okorocha in this group.
â€œThe APC Governors are essential and important voices in the party. Asiwaju values and respects each one of them and gives their individual and collective opinions much weight. Yet, in the exercise of our opinions and support for candidates, we all must be guided and never lose clear sight to the democratic ideals that separate the APC from the other parties.
â€œWe must maintain the integrity of the processes no matter how clear-cut a decision or an outcome may seem to be. With regard to democracy, the process is of equal import as the outcome itself.
â€œThis is the essence of what Asiwaju said that day in Akure. He merely asked APC members to adhere to the democratic path that thus far has served the party so well. There can be no true dispute with such a sentimentâ€.
www.sojworld.com (c) December 12, 2017