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I’ll support Tinubu presidential ambition only if he publicly declares interest – Fashola

*Buhari govt on top of situation, will end criminality soon, says minister

MINISTER of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has said he will only throw his weight behind the purported presidential ambition of a national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, if he (Tinubu) publicly declares interest in the highest political office in the land.

The former Lagos State Governor said doing otherwise would amount to preempting his predecessor in office.

In an exclusive chat with Leadership newspaper yesterday, Fashola said, “I think from the last conversation we had, the official statement he issued was that he was busy supporting President Muhammadu Buhari’s mandate and had not made up his mind to go for the presidency yet; that is all he said, unless he had said otherwise since then but not to my knowledge.

“And his last public statement that I have read was about the issue of today-our challenges in managing our diversity and our economy.

“These are the public statements he had made so far, and those are the right things any leader worth the name should be concerned about, so I am not surprised that he is doing that.

“Of course, once it is the presidency everybody falls in line, but let him come out first and say ‘I am throwing my hat in ring’, then you will see what I will do.”

There have been speculations that the former Lagos State Governor and former lawmaker in the aborted third republic, Tinubu, is nursing a presidential ambition and may throw his hat in the ring in the 2023 general election.

Though Tinubu has been deliberately sidestepping questions bordering on his 2023 political ambition by saying he is committed to helping the current administration succeed, his political allies have been canvassing for him.

Notable among Tinubu’s allies who have been rallying support for him is the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa, who has been trying to make his counterparts in the Southwest to support his political benefactor’s dream.

But reacting to the purported ambition, Fashola, who served as Chief of Staff to Tinubu during his reign as Lagos State Governor, said his erstwhile boss had not made any public statement indicating his interest to take a shot at the presidency come 2023.

On whether the Buhari government was losing grip of its responsibility in keeping the nation’s unity as kidnapping, armed banditry, farmers-herders feud, secession threat among others continue to rear their ugly heads in parts of the country, the minister said the government was fully on top of the game and remains resolute to bring all criminal activities to their end as soon as possible.

“Diversity is a very strong component of our nationhood, and when challenges like these come up, it is also the weapon for partisanship but that should not be a reason for extreme ideas or views”. 

He said, “Yes, we can disagree to agree. We have a lot in common. We have done a lot with ourselves and there is a lot more that we can do. We are joined in many more places now than we are able to acknowledge.”

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