The rift between the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has polarized the ruling party, with notable stakeholders taking sides behind the two leaders.
The Oyegun political forte appeared reinforced at the week end when 20 APC governors gave vote of confidence on the national chairman, against Tinubu’s protest that the chairman steps down. The governors are convinced that Oyegun has provided leadership for the party since he became national chairman after the tenure of the interim national chairman, Chief Bisi Akande.
APC governors who gave vote of confidence to Oyegun were identified to include Senator Jibrilla Bindow (Adamawa), Abubakar Mohammed (Bauchi), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Kashim Shettima (Borno), Abdulaziz Yari (Zamfara); Muhammad Badaru (Jigawa), Nasir El-rufai (Kaduna), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Umar Ganduje (Kano), Aminu Masari (Katsina), Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi); Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Tanko Almakura (Nasarawa), Sani Bello (Niger), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo) and Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe).
The Tinubu/Oyegun rift became public in the skirmishes over the APC primary election for the party’s ticket in the 2017 Ondo State Governorship Election won by Rotimi Akeredolu. Tinubu had a different candidate for the party but Oyegun and other APC leaders from the South West, especially, those on federal appointments in Abuja, settled for Akeredolu, who subsequently, won the election. Attempt to reverse the decision before the election made Tinubu launched salvo on Oyegun, demanding his resignation. The national chairman appeared to have the support of President Muhammadu Buhari in that crisis, making him consulting the president first before responding to Tinubu’s public statement.
Meanwhile, Tinubu, being appointed by the president to lead the reconciliation and consultation initiative of the APC, renewed the impasse with Oyegun.
Tinubu, in a seven-page statement to the president, senate president and Speaker of the House of Representatives, accused Odigie-Oyegun of undermining the ongoing reconciliation process in the APC. Tinubu in the seven -page letter stated that the national chairman was sabotaging his efforts.
Odigie-Oyegun denied the allegation of sabotage and promised to give Tinubu all necessary support in ensuring the success of the reconciliation.
It was gathered, that APC governors “resolved to stand firm behind Oyegun” to prevent the chairman from being overpowered by Tinubu, recalling the Ondo governorship saga. There were indications that the decision of the governors will make it difficult for Tinubu to upstage the national chairman.