Speaker of the House of Representatives Aminu Tambuwal may not have heard the last of his defection backlash, but he has yet another pressure to deal with following his declaration of interest in running for the 2015 presidential election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), just weeks into being a member of the party.
According to reports, supporters of Former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, who was once in pole position to win the party’s ticket, are mounting pressure on Tambuwal to shelve his presidential ambition, as he is now seen as a possible threat to Buhari’s chances.
The speaker, who joined APC from Peoples Democratic Party on October 28, had been accused by some to have feigned ignorance of the process that led into the purchase of the nomination form for him. Some APC members of the lower chamber had bought the presidential nomination forms for Tambuwal last week. He however told the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation monitored in Kano on Saturday morning that he had no part whatsoever in the decision to buy the form for him.
“I am under pressure to contest for presidency from my friends and well-wishers who bought the form for me and I will consult my people for their advice. I have received the presidential nomination form of APC and I will go and consult people, stakeholders in my home state, Sokoto for their advice,” said Tambuwal.
Other aspirants are now on the edge as his emergence is shaking up a lot of things in the party, especially with party leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu now said to be supporting him. Tinubu, as a party leader is expected to seek a candidate that will give the party the brightest chance of winning in 2015, and sources claim Tinubu believes he has found that man in Tambuwal.
Thisday reports that a top member of the Buhari campaign organisation, Mr. Osita Okechukwu welcomed the entry of Tambuwal into the race, but noted that he stands no chance against Buhari.
“Tambuwal is highly welcome into the presidential race. This is why the constitution of our party was amended penultimate week, to accommodate in less than one hour, any person who joins APC. All one knows is that his entry will neither diminished nor cut-off the celestial bond between General Mohammadu Buhari and the masses and the middle class of our dear country. The masses and middle class had renewed at every election GMB’s 12 million vote bank. Therefore, the contest at the end of the day is between President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and Buhari,” Okechukwu said.
Joining Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to welcome Tambuwal into the race was his campaign team.
According to the managing director of the Atiku Media Office, Mallam Garba Shehu, “To us, the more the merrier. We see it as widening the choices that the people have and it is left for them to make up their minds on who to elect. As a true democrat, Atiku will welcome the entry of more aspirants so that Nigerians can choose whom they want.
“Turaki has a national profile and will not be affected by the votes from just a particular zone. Right now, Atiku is in the campaign and reaching out to all parts of the country to mobilise support,” he told Thisday.
Other aspirants; Kano State Governor Rabiu Kwankwanso and publisher of Leadership Newspapers, Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah are also said to have started rethinking their strategies ahead of APC’s presidential primaries.
Tambuwal, while on BBC Hausa, also dismissed speculation that he was in the presidential race to spoil the chances of other aspirants, especially Buhari and Atiku, saying he had always been encouraged by many over the past two years to run for presidency.
To show that he is in no way desperate, Tambuwal expressed readiness to step down for anyone who is more competent than he is. He however said: “Nigerians believe that they will get better if I become President because of their trust in me. I will not disappoint the trust reposed in me.”