The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has denied having an affiliation with any support group projecting him for the 2023 presidential race.
The minister, in a statement by his aide, Hakeem Bello, on Sunday, said he has nothing to do with online posters from the group identified as the Nigeria Project 2023 pairing him as well as the governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, as the presidential and vice pesidential candidates in the 2023 election under an unnamed political party.
“The social media was awash at the weekend with a poster from the Group allegedly presenting the Honorable Minister and the Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Zulum as Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates respectively of an unnamed political party,” the statement said.
“Ordinarily, the poster and the various social media reports almost instantly orchestrated on its account would have been ignored as the handwork of mischief makers. However, it became necessary to issue this disclaimer for two key reasons.
“The first of such was to answer with a strong negative to the numerous inquiries from right thinking and well-meaning Nigerians on whether the Honorable Minister had been contacted or if the Groups had his consent in issuing the invitation.
“Without equivocation, no individual or Group has contacted the Honorable Minister for or on behalf of The Nigeria Project 2023. As Honorable Minister, Mr Fashola is currently focused on leading his dedicated Team in the Ministry of Works and Housing to deliver on the mandate of President Muhammadu Buhari for an expanded and upgraded road transport infrastructure; and affordable Housing nationwide in order to achieve economic growth and prosperity for the citizenry.
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“Secondly, is the fact that entities unknown to a political party cannot present candidates on behalf of such a political party. As a ranking and loyal member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the individual and groups cited as promoters of The Nigeria Project 2023 are unknown to the APC and the Honorable Minister.”
While the minister claimed the move by the group was all over the social media at the weekend, PREMIUM TIMES’ check with keyword searches on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram gave little or no recent result in respect to the development, a possibility that the alleged campaign has been removed.
The closest to posts to such a campaign by any individual or group account on the giant social platforms were done in August.
Mr Fashola also dismissed the legitimacy of the group to make such a decision meant for a political party.
“Against the backdrop of the foregoing, the Honorable Minister of Works and Housing , Mr Babatunde Fashola SAN urges members of the public to be wary of the antics of unsolicited individuals and Support Groups whose real intentions remain questionable. Every support possible should be given to the efforts of the current administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari to deliver a better nation for all,” he said.
Aside the Nigeria Project 2023 ascribed to the two-term Lagos State governor and power minister, there have been other groups drumming support for other potential presidential candidates as the issue of zoning of the seat remains one of the burning concerns in both the ruling APC and the main opposition, PDP.
A group which goes by ‘South West Agenda for 2023’ (SWAGA) led by Dayo Adeyeye, a former minister, has launched its support for Mr Fashola’s political mentor and national leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu, to clinch the presidential ticket if the position is zoned to the geopolitical zone.
While Mr Tinubu has not made his ambition public, he has,howeve, not disowned the group either.