By Lateef Adegbite
Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, who may have been the nursing the ambition to rule Nigerian, after President Muhammadu Buhari, in 2023, on the ticket of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, may have read the handwriting on the wall that his dreams may not be achieved.
He may have started the nursing the ambition to rule Nigeria going by his contribution to the election of President Muhammadu Buhari into office in 2015. In an emotional outburst in Abeokuta, Capital of Ogun, former President Olusegu Obasanjo’s home state to express his anger that things are no longer going the way it ought to be in the party when he met with the party delegates ahead of the Presidential primary scheduled between Monday, June 6, 2022 and Wednesday, June 8, 2022, he had said that ‘’without him ‘’Buhari wouldn’t have won the Presidential election in 20215, let alone going ahead to win the 2019 general elections.
He may not have volunteered any new information when he disclosed that he was at ‘’the battlefront in the 2015 and 2019 general elections for the Katsina born Nigerian President to win the elections because it was a public knowldge. It was therefore, not very surprising why he had made it categorically clear that ‘’it is his turn to rule Nigeria on the ticket of the APC’’. He may have taken into consideration that there are 18 registered political parties in the country by the Independent National Electoral omission, INEC, which includes the ruling APC, jostling for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The anger in face of the former Lagos state governor is so pronounced when he began to reel out the names of other beneficiaries of his political benevolence between 1999 and now. Among them were Olusegun Mimiko, a former governor of Ondo state, Rauf Aregbesola, a one –time governor of Osun state and now minister of Interior, under the Buhari Administration, Babatunde Fashola, former governor of Lagos state and current minister of Works and Housing, Kayode Fayemi, governor of Ekiti and Chairman, Nigerian Governor’s Forun, NGF.
He was said to have also mentioned Akinwumi Ambode, a former governor of Lagos state, who is no longer in the same political Camp with him leading to his loss of the 2019, re-election bid to Babajide Sanwo- Olu, his anointed political son and the current governor of the stateThe last but not the not the least of those who may have benefited from his his political benevolence was Dapo Abiodun, governor of Ogun state, who he claimed was rejected by the state delegates but he had to intervene to clear the road for him.
The question on the lips of most people was that with such enormous political influence in the south west geopolitical region, he should have extended to the south east, south –south, north west, north central, or the north east, to show that he is truly a national figure. This clearly shows that his powers begins and ends in the south west states of Ogun, Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti. It is not surprising why his political opponents describe him as a ‘’political Champion’’.
Senator Tinubu emotional outburst Abeokutahitting at Buhari and other APC Political heavy weights who had benefited from his political benevolence, appears to have drawn the anger of Senator Abdullahi Adamu , a former governor of Nasarawa state, led APC, National Working Committee, NWC who had said that the frontline Presidential aspirant might be ‘’sanctioned by the party’’.
In spite of the fact that the former Lagos sate governor has turned himself as a Tin god in APC that he make derogatory Statements against any party member and damn the consequences, he had honoured the Presidential invitation sent to him and the other 22 Presidential aspirants who had paid the N100 million fees to purchase the party Presidential nomination forms on Saturday, June 4, 2022, for dinner hosted by the Nigerian President ahead of the June 6 and 8 primaries of the party.
The Katsina state born Nigerian President may have invited the 23 Presidential aspirants for dinner to confirm what Senator Adamu, the Party National Chairman, had said that the party has not disqualifies any aspirants , despite what John Oyegun, a former governor of Edo state and a one-time National Chairman of the party had reported that 10 of the Presidential aspirants could not pass through the party screening exercise. Adamu may have spoken the mind of the Nigerian President when he disclosed that all the 23 Presidential aspirants were still in contention for the party’s Presidential ticket regardless of ‘’the screening Committee’s verdict’’. He was emphatic: no Presidential aspirant has been disqualified.
Many had expected President Buhari to take advantage of the Presidential dinner to lambast Tibnubu but he remained calm. Senator Adamu, the APC National Chairman , may have spoken the mind of Buhari on Saturday, June 4, 2022, when he disclosed that the party , might sanction him but that was how far he could go.
The former Lagos state governor emotional outburst might have attracted more hatred for him both within and outside the party. The hatred has become so pronounced that some members of the Party masquerading as the Gaskiya Youth Movement had dragged him to a Federal High Court in Abuja, asking the Court’’ to disqualify him from participating in the ruling APC Presidential primary , scheduled between Monday, June 6, 2022 and Wednesday, June 8, 2022’’.
The Gaskiya Youth Movement are asking the Court to disqualify him since the party screening Committee which claimed to have disqualified 10 aspirants out of the 23, aspirants had cleared him and twlve others to participate in the presidential primaries. They have their reason for heading to Court over his alleged questionable educational background and date of birth.
Onyegun, a former National Chairman of APC, who had headed the partyPresidential Screening Committee had said that 99 % of the aspirants had dumped the direct primary model initially adopted by the party in line with the 2022, Electoral Act, for the consensus option.
All the aspirants were said to have agreed that the party is Supreme and that whatever the Leadership decides with proper consultations, they would abide by it. In submitting the report to the screening Committee to Adamu, the party National Chairman, Oyegun had said that one of the Presidential aspirants had said without mincing words that if the party is going for a Consensus model option to select a Presidential Candidate for the party in the 2023, general elections, it must be him or nobody else. He may have alluded to Tinubu who is ready to crush any person standing between him and the Presidency in 2023.
Recall that Buhari had told the 23 aspirants on the platform of the APC, at the Presidential dinner ‘’to consult among themselves, build consensus and produce a formidable Candidate for the party for the 2023 general elections’’.
Appealing to all the Presidential aspirants, including Tinubu, that their choice of the party flag bearer must be ‘’formidable , appealing to the electorate across the board and should command such ability to unify the country and capacity to address the country’s critical security and economic challenges’’.
Buhari , who could not hide his feelings at the Presidential dinner had told the 23 aspirants, both the 10 allegedly disqualified and 13 cleared by the Onyegun led Screening Committee, that ‘’the meeting was part of the ongoing ‘’continuation process aimed at ensuring a smooth and strategic emergence of a standard bearer , who will lead the APC to a resounding victory in the upcoming Presidential polls’’.
Osinbajo, Ogbonnaya One, a former governor of Abia state and former minister of Science, Technology and Innovation and Abubakar Badru, governor of Jigawa state, were said to have assured the Daura born politician that they would hold the consultations as advised for ‘’the unity and strength of the ruling APC’’.
The 17 APC, governors from the north appears to have piled up pressure on the party Leadership to respect the zoning policy and ensure that the party Presidential Candidate comes from the southern part of Nigeria. They may not have specified whether the Party Presidential flag bearer should come from the south east, which has not tested the office of the President of Nigeria since the return of Democracy in 199 and now, south west or south-south, which had ruled the country at different times. A Statement signed by 11 governors from the region had asked all the northern Presidential aspirants in the 2023 Presidential race on the ticket of the party to withdraw in the national interest’’ which may have affected Badru, the Jigawa state governor.
This is an indication that Tinubu, who claimed to be a king maker in the APC, still have opportunity to test his popularity in among his fellow contestants from the southern region to see if he could be selected as the consensus Candidate to be presented to the party Leadership for endorsement for the 2023 , general elections.
There is no gain saying the fact that even if Osinbajo, the Nigeria Vice President and the five south west governors throw their weight behind Tinubu, who had repeatedly said that since 2015, and now, he has not been given any ministerial appointment or contract by the Buhari Administration, and ought to be the party Consensus Candidate from the n south, Onu, from the south east , Amaechi , Dan Amana, meaning trusted son of Daura Emirate Council, a Chieftaincy title conferred on him by Farouq Umar, the Emir of Daura, Buhari home state, and Godswell Akpabio, a former governor nor of Akwa Ibom state and Immediate Past minister of the ministry of Niger Delta, would not take it as they would want to fight it out with him at the polls. This is where Buhari has to intervene to bring the situation in the party under control before the conduct of the primaries or the aggrieved aspirants may head to Court to challenge the outcome of the primaries.
The PDP had conducted its Presidential primaries producing winner and losers. Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President during Obasanjo Administration, has won the Presidential ticket. Perhaps to carry everybody along, he had visited Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers state and his closest rival in the Party primaries, favoured by many to win given the agreement that the party Presidential should be zone to the south., barely 24 hours after the election. In return , Wike had visisted Atiku, in his Abuja residence to show that there is no crack in the PDP, ostensibly to beat the APC, in the 2023, polls.