A leader of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, said on Monday that there was no cabal in the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Mr. Tinubu said this while addressing journalists after a closed door meeting with the president at the Aso Villa.
“What is the myth in this leadership thing? What is cabal? It is a myth,” the former Lagos governor said.
Mr. Tinubu described as “fake news” the belief among many Nigerians that a cabal in the presidency was in control of the government and had even side-lined him.
“You know me. I am not known to shy away from talking my mind and rebelling if it is necessary and taking charge of things that I believe are necessary,” he said.
The belief by many Nigerians of the existence of a cabal worsened recently after the secret recall and promotion of a dismissed fugitive, Abdulrasheed Maina, into the civil service.
PREMIUM TIMES exposed Mr. Maina’s recall despite being wanted for alleged fraud by the anti-graft agency, EFCC. He has since gone back into hiding after Mr. Buhari ordered his dismissal and investigation into his recall.
Investigations by this paper had shown Mr. Maina’s recall was engineered by the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahaman Dambazau, as well as the State Security Service, SSS.
The handling of the Maina situation by the government generated a lot of criticisms and worsened after the presidency virtually blamed the opposition Peoples Democratic Party for the recall.
On Monday, however, Mr. Tinubu said he still has confidence in Mr. Buhari,
“We worked hard to bring about the government, there are certain things that are unpredictable and those are things that can lean itself to gossips, insinuations and all of that,” he said.
The former governor also explained why he was not in regular public consultation with the president.
“Once you create leadership and it’s functioning you don’t have to babysit that leadership unless there is a loss of confidence; and I don’t have that,” he said.
Mr. Tinubu said the APC is a party of the people, adding “each of us have our roles to play and that is why we are playing it. I don’t believe in the myth, I believe in confidence building, the trust that we have in the president.”
The APC leader said he had a fruitful discussion with Mr. Buhari.
He said in a democracy such as Nigeria’s there is bound to be “twists and turns” as well as conflicts. He, however, said there are mechanisms to handle such conflicts within the APC.
Mr. Tinubu, one of the most influential leaders of the ruling APC, also said Tuesday’s meeting of the National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party will be rancour free.
The APC, despite being the ruling party, has faced several internal strife and has not been able to hold a NEC meeting since July 2015.
Mr. Tinubu had also called for the removal of the party’s National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, in a public spat between the two leaders.
He, however, said on Monday that despite the crisis in the governing party, it is on the right course.
“Can you go back to the history of 16 years of the PDP?
“APC government is on course and will remain on course and we will remain focused to those necessary things about development, welfare and progress of our people,” he said.
“It is not easy to face the challenges and the well that was dug, sinkhole that we inherited. But we are sorting that one out gradually; so in few steps, we will find happiness and development in the future of our country.
When asked for his opinion on the call by some Nigerians for Mr. Buhari to run again in 2019, Mr. Tinubu simply said, “Don’t discuss that one with me.”
Mr. Buhari has not stated that he will seek re-election, but some of his close allies have already asked him to run in 2019 despite his health situation. The president recently spent over 100 days in London for treatment of an undisclosed ailment.