Nigeria: ‘I Didn’t Expect to Win. I Hold No Grudges’, Tinubu Says After Winning APC Primary

Mr Tinubu also said he holds ‘no grudges’ against members of his party who worked against his candidature.

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, said on Wednesday that he did not ‘expect to win’ the party’s presidential primary.

“I did not expect to win, I won. I must be intoxicated with victory,” he said.

Mr Tinubu also said he holds ‘no grudges’ against members of his party who worked against his candidature.

“The competition is now over. Those who did not support me, you have nothing to fear. I hold no grudges and grievances. Let us each agree to join hands in defeating PDP and beat back their retrogressive understanding of Nigeria,” he said.

The PDP is Nigeria’s main opposition party. The party had ruled Nigeria for 16 years before it lost in 2015 to the APC.

“They had 16 years, they depleted our resources and left us with hunger. Let us dig their graves by defeating them in the next election because they are the agents of poverty, terror, violence and lying”, he added.

Mr Tinubu, in his victory speech after the APC presidential primary in Abuja, also thanked all the seven aspirants who stepped down for him during the primary.

“You chose to step down through personal ambition and conviction that I will do a better job not because you denigrate yourself but because you trust in my brain that I am a thinker and I am a doer.”

PREMIUM TIMES reported how Mr Tinubu defeated 13 other aspirants to win the primary. He secured 1,271 votes of APC delegates to emerge as the party’s flag bearer. His closest challenger, ex-minister Rotimi Amaechi, scored 316 votes. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo came third in the primary with 235 votes.

In his speech, Mr Tinubu commended other candidates for putting up a good fight.

“It is a difficult thing to run for president, the stiff and bold competition you offered made our party stronger, made me better. I am a better man, I am humbled and grateful to all of you.”

Osinbajo, a ‘good, supportive pillar’

The former Lagos governor described Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who also contested in the primaries, as a good and supportive pillar to President Muhammadu Buhari.

“We thank you for being steady and a good support to our president,” he said.

Mr Osinbajo served as justice commissioner for the eight years that Mr Tinubu was the Lagos governor. Both men were allies and Mr Tinubu influenced the emergence of Mr Osinbajo as vice president.

Thanks Ahmad Lawan

Taking a mild jab at Ahmad Lawan, Nigeria’s senate president, Mr Tinubu said: “I would have been a little upset because you compete with me but that is over now since you can easily leak your wounds.”

However, Mr Tinubu said it does not stop him from thanking the lawmaker for his contribution to Nigeria.

“You have helped in steering the ship of this nation in the right direction and with your team in the Senate, history is written and will be kind to you.”

He thanked the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hakeem Gbajabiamila, describing him as a ‘sparkling speaker.’

Mr Tinubu also thanked the APC national chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, who many believe was against Mr Tinubu’s emergence.

“To the chairman of our party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, it appeared some weeks back that some newspapers and many people were ready to write the obituary of this party. We put together and pulled ourselves as a cat of nine lives. We poached you to come over, patched the roof, steady the pillars and be a master builder. You came on and you worked hard with the collaboration of others, we worked with you, a new national executive emerged. Here we are; shame on those who were already building the coffin of APC.

“Shame on them, our party is alive. They won’t be able to do the convention but here we are, the first convention to choose a new executive, the governors pulled themselves together and many other leaders, we did break our backs, we are here, very happy and confident and courageous to tell you that the cat that lies down quietly is not a pretension of death but breeding of the energy to devour its enemy. Now we are here, we will roar. We will do it.

“We will tell the Poverty Development Party. They call themselves PDP, 16 years of misery, wastefulness, failures, of forgetting about our children of today and tomorrow. We said step aside, be buried, cry and leave the way for us, we will repair our country and will bring it back as strong, the best nation for our children.”

Mr Tinubu invited party leaders to join him in the journey, adding that he did not know what he had done to be nominated.

In what is synonymous with a campaign promise, Mr Tinubu assured security personnel of better days and rewards in real-time.

“I must thank our men and women in uniform, those who make sacrifices of their lives, left family behind and continue to fight for the survival of this country. Be assured that it is the beginning of that time now you will enjoy reward and enjoy a part of your life, you will not sacrifice for nothing.”

Encouraging religious tolerance in Nigeria, Mr Tinubu said: “We are not the barbaric, blind human beings they think we are. They are setting us against each other. When you were born, you did not hear from the womb whether you will be a male or a female, Christian or Muslim. You were born to your parents and adopted their religions and continued, the faith is in the mind.

“We will just need to love one another, build a new society, learn to teach… a new way of life not digging death channels. We are all human beings that must live together. No one religion can eliminate the other.

He also said the Calabar port will be dredged to receive goods and fabrication.

“We will fabricate brakes and any other parts in our area of expertise. We can revive our economy, we can beat other nations like Morocco, yes we can.”

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