Presidency Got It Wrong, Saraki Never Said He Stepped Down For Buhari – Aide
The Special Adviser to the Senate President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, on Sunday clarified that his boss, Senator Bukola Saraki, never claimed that he stepped down for President Muhammadu Buhari, as being interpreted by the Presidency.
Olaniyonu, in a telephone conversation with Punch correspondent on Sunday, explained that what the Senate President said during an interactive session with journalists in Abuja on Saturday was that he dropped his presidential ambition, once President Buhari announced his intention to contest the 2015 presidential election.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, had on Saturday said there was no truth in the claim by Saraki that he stepped down for President Buhari in the APC presidential race.
Adesina, said the issue of stepping down did not arise, because the party conducted a free and fair presidential primary which Buhari won.
But Olaniyonu explained that Saraki only stated during the interview that he stepped down from running for the President so as to be part of the solution to the nation’s social and economic problems which Buhari had prepared himself very well to tackle.
Saraki had, during the interview, assured members of the public of his unalloyed support and commitment to the success of the Buhari administration, having worked tirelessly to ensure his emergence.
He had also alleged that those who were blackmailing him before the President were actually his friends and associates, who were annoyed that he chose to support the Presidential ambition of Buhari, instead of supporting them.
Saraki had said, “Talking about relationship with Mr. President, I want to reassure the public that some of us….. If you look at the time of the APC and the period of the campaign, I was the first person that stepped down his presidential ambition once President Buhari announced that he was going to contest for the election.
“Since then, and throughout the period of the primary election, I had worked tirelessly…even some of my own friends or those that are associates who did not support me in the Senate. My offence was because I did not support them for their Presidential ambition and I supported President Buhari.
“That is why I find this world very funny. I now find out that they are the ones now that claim that they love President Buhari more than me. It is a very, very funny world. These are people that we were begging.
“My offence was to tell them that, ‘Look, we are young; let us allow President Buhari. This is the man for today; let us allow him to contest. That is my offence. They are now the people that are now saying that Saraki does not like the President; they are the ones that like him.
“But time will tell, the truth will always prevail and that will be soon.”