The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, has confirmed his withdrawal from the presidential race.
Mr. Tambuwal said in a statement that he was standing down for the “unity” of his party, All Progressives Congress, APC, and that he will support other aspirants seeking the party’s ticket.
The speaker’s associates had told PREMIUM TIMES that he was withdrawing from the race despite pressure on him to go ahead and contest the 2015 presidential election.
“Despite the pressure from us and from others on him to contest the presidential election, the speaker, I believe, is trying to withdraw,” a senior lawmaker said.
The speaker will now contest for governor in his home state of Sokoto, the source said. The speaker joined the presidential race last week after defecting from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to opposition APC in October.
Read the Speaker’s full statement below:
A few days ago, precisely on Friday the 14th of November,2014 a group of friends, associates, colleagues and admirers cutting across all ages, ethnic, social, religious, political and geographical divides presented to me the Expression of Interest and Nomination forms for me to participate in the presidential primaries of the All Progressive Congress (APC) for the 2015 Presidential Election.
2. On that auspicious occasion, being profoundly humbled, I requested for a little more time to conclude my last round of the series of nationwide consultations which indeed I was just about to conclude.
3. Let me state that the 14th November event was neither an accidental nor sudden happenstance, rather it was another high point of similar goodwill surprises I had experienced in the last two years when I started receiving in audience, colleagues, individuals, groups and delegations of prominent Nigerians on this subject matter
4. I wish to seize this occasion to commend, most highly, these patriotic and selfless colleagues, admirers, individuals and groups for their sacrifice, diligence and single-mindedness in the pursuit of what they honestly believe is in the best interest of our fatherland. I am fully aware of the physical, financial and intellectual resources all of you have expended in this regard besides the sheer volume of valuable time and the travel risk of crisscrossing to compare notes and confirm projections. Indeed I can not thank you enough.
5. When upon genuine conviction I decided to commence extensive consultations towards taking a decision as to whether or not to participate in the contest for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it was not to actualize a personal ambition,but rather to actualize our dream for a new Nigeria.
6. Ever since news of the possibility of my participation in the presidential contest got into the public domain, it has generated monumental interest, analyses and commentary. I have also, both personally and through prominent leaders across party lines and beyond, consulted extensively and I must say that I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and interest. On my part and with the greatest sense of modesty and responsibility I wish to assure Nigerians that I am fully prepared, ready, willing,determined, available and armed with the requisite plans, programmes and ability, to undertake the great mission of rescuing our dear country from the clutches of institutionalized corruption,gross incompetence, greed and divisiveness. I am prepared for the great task of rescuing Nigeria from the security problems, the scandalous youth unemployment, and the economic and social malaise that plague her.
7. Given the opportunity, ours would be a clean, corrupt-free, competent and purposeful government: to deal with the inexplicable paradoxes that have held us hostage for over a hundred years: the paradox of ever growing abject poverty in the midst of plenty; the paradox of ever growing menace of corruption in the face of the collective capacity of Nigerians to eradicate same, the paradox of decaying infrastructure especially epileptic power supply in the face of abundant natural resources; the paradox of glaring internal insecurity in the face of a gallant military,police and other security agencies that have excelled in peace keeping and enforcement abroad. Indeed a government that would deploy extraordinary ways and means where such becomes inevitable within the ambit of the law.
8. The problems I speak about are real and glaring. Over the past three and a half years of presiding over 359 equals, I often had occasion to discuss peculiar constituency problems with my colleagues but most importantly I have visited over 300 hundred Federal constituencies across the country and seen for myself abject poverty of our people particularly the majority of the population that reside in the rural areas, I have experienced, first hand, total absence of essential social facilities and decaying infrastructure, where they exist at all, and observed hopelessness in the eyes of millions of citizens. I deeply feel the pulse of dejection of our people.
9. I am convinced that with the progressive spirit and teamwork these objectives are attainable under an All Progressives Congress (APC) administration.
10. I have carefully considered the concerns expressed by some of our leaders, whom I deeply respect and whose support and counsel I enjoy, to the effect that my entry into the presidential race at this point may necessitate having to rework some equations on the political chessboard of the party.
11. Having consulted widely, taking into consideration the concerns of some elders of the party, I have decided to suspend my participation in the presidential contest for now. I have done so as a sacrifice for the cohesion and unity of the APC. I am suspending my participation in the presidential race for now because I do not have any inordinate ambition to occupy any office. Nigeria is a country too great to sacrifice on the altar of partisan politics and personal ambition. What any one becomes in life is exclusively in the hands of God. Only God gives power to whoever he pleases.
12. I came into the APC to enhance and build. Therefore in the interest of our great party, the APC, and indeed in the overriding national interest I wish to appeal to all my associates, colleagues, supporters, admirers and friends nationwide to show some understanding. It has not been easy coming to this decision and I very well understand the frustration, disappointment and disbelief of many who have committed so much to the project including sacrificing not only their physical, financial and intellectual resources but indeed their personal ambitions in the 2015 electoral contest.
13. I pledge my loyalty to our party the APC and cooperation with my uncles and senior brothers and colleagues who are already in the race for the APC Presidential ticket: I refer to General Muhammadu Buhari, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, Governor Rochas Okorocha and Mr Sam Ndah- Isaiah. There is no doubt that they are all eminently qualified.
14. To all my associates, colleagues, friends, admirers across Nigeria, who have faith that I am that instrument for the change we all desire, I assure you that your faith is not in vain. It is noble and will endure until this great nation of ours is rescued from the clutches of institutionalized corruption, gross incompetence, greed and divisiveness.
I charge you to be comforted that your strength lies not in the limited capacity of a single leader, but rather in the collective capacity of the millions of great citizens of this nation. One day, and I believe not too long away, this formidable collective capacity will be ignited and the good Lord will lift Nigeria high up where she belongs.
15. God bless you all and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Rt. Hon. AMINU WAZIRI TAMBUWAL
SPEAKER, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA.