Senate President Bukola Saraki on Monday said his relationship with Bola Tinubu became estranged because he opposed his aspiration for the All Progressives Congress (APC) to field a Muslim-Muslim ticket in the 2015 presidential election.
It was believed that Tinubu was scheming to be running mate to President Muhammadu Buhari but that would have presented an all-Muslim ticket thought to be politically and socially unwise and insensitive.
Saraki said this in reaction to damaging remarks made against him by Tinubu at the APC rally in Kwara state on Monday.
The former governor of Kwara state said Nigerians will punish the ruling party on Saturday.
“They came to Kwara State to hurl insults at me and my people, instead of explaining to the people what they want to do differently and what contributions their flagbearers and other leaders in the State have made to our various communities to justify the people shifting their loyalty to their dying party,” he said in a statement issued on his behalf by Yusuph Olaniyonu.
“They promised nothing concrete that will improve the standard of living of the people and provide infrastructure. They have only come to Kwara to vindicate my position that they have no good plans for Kwara State and its people. It is obvious that the APC have nothing to offer Kwarans.
“They represent nothing good for our people. My problem with them has always been that after we worked with our people to support them to win in 2015, they refused to work on infrastructure and other policy issues that can bring direct benefit to our people.
“As for Tinubu, we have never expected any good words from him. All his life, he will continue to belly ache and nurse grudges over my opposition to the Muslim-Muslim ticket idea in 2015.
“As far as he is concerned, I stopped him from realizing his ambition then. However, I believe my action then and now is in pursuit of national interest. Again, I supported President Buhari in 2015 because I believe he could make a positive change. I left the party when I realized he lacked the capacity and the desire to make any change.
“Tinubu on his own part said though he agreed with me about my assessment of the man, he would continue to support Buhari even if the man had to govern from the hospital stretcher because that is the way he (Tinubu) could become the President in 2023. So, while my position is premised on national interest, Tinubu’s is based on his personal interest and ambition.
“Now that Tinubu’s new speciality is to hurl insults at people like former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, focusing on me today is okay if it will help him feel good. It is surprising that a man like Tinubu will be talking about morality and corruption.
“This is a man whose disrepute is known both within and outside Nigeria. This is somebody who personifies everything that is wrong with the Nigerian system. Well, I am not ready to roll in the gutter with him. Unlike them, I will stay on the issues that are germaine to national development and the welfare of our people.”
Saraki added that at the presidential poll on Saturday “will be punished for their bad behaviour.”