Tinubu Under Pressure To Float New Party-National Daily
•Fear grips Buhari, loyalists By FUNSO OMODELE
THE future looks bleak for the All Progressives Congress (APC) as indications emerged that the ruling party is beginning to develop cracks among its leaders.
The National Daily gathered that certain APC leaders
are under pressure to float a new political party over
lingering disaffections on emerging decisions and
actions in the control of the Federal Government
under the party’s hegemony.
A gale of wranglings over many issues may
eventually be responsible for the breakup. For
starters, the way and manner President Muhammadu
Buhari went about appointing people into his cabinet
does not seem to have gone down with the party
stalwarts. Currently, the north has taken over 80% of
the appointments Buhari has made so far. And his
ministerial nominees, are also perceived essentially
as by-product of his oneupmanship.
“To a large extent, the governors were not consulted on those picked from our states,” quipped an Aso
Rock source last week. “But the leaders have to bear with the president because it is his constitutional prerogative.”
That Buhari “jobbed” certain southern politicians
who were in the trenches when the APC was in the
thick of the opposition war is another sore point. Of
course, names which were neither members nor
sympathisers of the APC suddenly cropped on the list
of 37 ministerial nominees sent to the Senate among
who 18 have been confirmed. And Bola Tinubu,
APC’s national leader, is said to be somewhat upset
about that as his nominees were flagrantly disregarded by President Buhari.
Again, the flank of the Action Congress of Nigeria
(ACN) which comprised to form the APC feels
sidelined in nominating members of the Federal
cabinet, leading to discontent between the likes of
Tinubu, and the party’s guardian angel, ex-President
Olusegun Obasanjo. Obasanjo had ostensibly been
openly hobnobbing with Buhari to entrench his
personal influence and thereafter run down Tinubu in
the new government structure. National Daily learnt
that Tinubu, as an example of trying to peddle
influence reportedly tapped Wale Edun, his former
finance commissioner in Lagos, for the Federal
Ministry of finance but was blocked by Obasanjo.
Though Edun hails from Ogun, but has lived main
Lagos, he was considered not fit to be a nominee of
the state, hence his nomination was blocked by
Obasanjo who was said to have additionally insisted
that the former Lagos governor wouldn’t fill the
Ogun federal slot for them. And Tinubu’s candidate
was dropped for Kemi Adeosun.
Clearly, the APC financier’s hold on Buhari’s
appointment is no longer as vice-like as expected—in
and outside Lagos, especially, in filling the
southwestern slots in the federal cabinet. In Lagos,
Tinubu’s estranged godson ex-Gov. Babatunde
Fashola also slipped off his godfather’s grip.
There were speculations that the APC national leader was
against Fashola, and therefore doing everything to
throw dirt on him in the run-up to the cabinet
selection. The idea was to rubbish his credentials
before Buhari obsessed with corruption rating as a
ground rule in selecting his ministers. But in spite of
all the mudslinging, Fashola still made the cut;
likewise the former Governor of Ekiti State, Dr.
Kayode Fayemi. He too was said to have struck out
of the Lagos crowd kowtowing to Tinubu, and was almost kissing his political career a goodbye with that decision.
Tinubu might have lost the reins in Osun, too.
Olagunsoye Oyinlola, a former governor and protégé
of Obasanjo, has been nominated. The former president has expanded his reach that far. Obasanjo now seems tobe having the upper hand over Tinubu. And that is already generating a lot of furore in the party.
The plot for the APC split into smaller pieces has
reported been further exacerbated because of how
President Buhari is carrying on the current war
against corruption. There might be no sacred cows.
Senate President Bukola Saraki was dragged before
the Code of Conduct Tribunal over a 13-count charge
of false declaration of assets in 2003.
“We are not unmindful of the fact that the Tribunal
is acting under political influence and external
pressure. This is dangerous to our democracy,” said
Yusuph Olaniyonu, his media publicist.
Furthermore, the president at different times
indicated he would not close his eyes on any APC
member linked to corruption. This has been sending
deep fear into many APC leaders, particularly, when
the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory
Committee, Professor Itse Sagay, declared that the
committee will revisit previous lost cases.
The southern elements in the party, especially, of the
south-west stock, are said to have been frustrated.
Having worked for the party during the
electioneering campaign, many of them believe they
have nothing to show for it now that it is pay time.
Moreover, they were said to been provoked over
perceived sidelining of their leader, Asiwaju Tinubu,
from the major scheme of activities in the party since
the inauguration of the current administration on May 29, 2015.
“It is not like this in other climes. Even in the U.S.
and the U.K., people are always rewarded with
positions in government, having worked for their
respective parties. But with this administration, the
president is working alone appointing his old
associates and people of the northern stock who he
claims are upright and he can comfortably work with,”some of the politicians said.
They protest that the ministerial list contain persons
not recommended by Tinubu, while the president opted for those the national leader was purportedly not supporting initially.
Apart from being frustrated, many APC members,
especially, governors who are suspected to have
dipped their hands into public coffers to sponsor
either their elections or other candidates, including the president himself, are now jittery. They fear
coming under probe for their inability to pay workers’salaries.
A source close to Tinubu also hinted that the APC
leader, reputed for building bridges across tribes and
political leanings that led to the emergence of
Buhari, is under intense pressure and likely
contemplating floating another political party.
He was said to have discovered that his alliance with the
northern politicians to kick out former President
Goodluck Jonathan was a marriage of convenience after all.
According to our source, he had, two months ago,
started reaching out to former associates, especially
those in the Alliance for Democracy (AD), and
leaders of other political interests in the south-west,
with a view to presenting a united Yoruba front in
future political arrangements in the country.
He was said to have read the handwriting on the wall
early enough when the northern elements close to
Buhari convinced him to shed the south-west agenda for a loose federal republic based on six autonomous geopolitical zones. This structure, many believe, has never been popular with the north.
It is believed that the AD will consider its future in
its national convention slated for later in the year.
A top AD source told The National Daily that the
party has not met formally since the general
elections were concluded.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is also said to
have gone back to the drawing board to nurture his
Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), a political
platform he inherited from the late General Shehu
Musa Yar’Adua. The general died in prison on the
allegation of planning a phantom coup against the
administration of late General Sani Abacha.
According to sources close to the Turaki Adamawa,
his calculation is to align with like minds among the
breakaway faction of the PDP, the likes of the Senate
President Bukola Saraki and Sokoto Governor,
Meanwhile, the PDP has zoned its presidential
candidate to the north for the 2019 general elections.
This may be appealing to some APC leaders
interested in the presidential race.
But some aides to Tinubu denied any plan by their
principal to float a new political party. “It’s a lie
from the pit of hell. There’s no way our leader can
throw away his efforts to build the APC from
formation to victory in the elections and abandon it
for a new party. What else does he want to achieve,”
they told The National Daily. (470
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