By DANALDI USMAN, Abuja
The national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is gradually getting to the point of quitting the ruling party to negotiate a new coalition with other stakeholders in the polity. The reason is not unconnected with the unrestrained attack on his political dynasty in the south west by the Presidency, and the seeming decoy by President Muhammadu Buhari to subtly play him into irrelevance in the ruling party and government.
The former Lagos State Governor has tacitly been sidelined from the party government and APC structures since the victory in the 2015 general elections. President Buhari merely resorted to the pretense of attempting to bring him to reckoning and relevance after some political calculations to retain the south west for the 2019 presidential election. The President playing on the south west APC leader, appointed him to lead the reconciliation initiative of the APC without constituting a formal committee to undertake that party assignment. Since that appointment, the ruling party has not been open to Tinubu’s mediation or arbitration in the conflicts ravaging the party; rather, the party is being strengthened to ridicule and uproot Tinubu’s political structure in APC.
Furthermore, the struggle to build internal democracy in the party gets frustrated by the desperation to build new generation leaders out of the south west and dismantle Tinubu’s political dynasty in the zone.
The 2017 Ondo Governorship election exposed the grand plot from Abuja to emasculate Tinubu’s political influence and hegemony in the south west. The episode further exposed the hidden plot of the President to groom new generation leaders in the South West from the appointments made to the federal executive. The grand plot was also extended to micro alliance within the APC with the old allies in the ANPP, one of the legacy parties that formed the APC and a close linage to the CPC.
The APC governorship primary election in Eikiti State on Saturday deepened the grand plot against Tinubu. After the Saturday, May 5 pandemonium that obstructed the primary election, Tinubu’s intervention and suggestions on how to achieve transparent primary election in Ekiti were ignored by the party structure put in place to reduce the national leader to nothing. The result of the Ekiti governorship primary election eventually validated the fears that caused the pandemonium which rendered the first primary inconclusive. The Abuja force won the battle, and is being reinforced from the federal might to be the dominant force in the South West.
APC ward and local government congresses conducted in the past two weeks seemingly closed the political space in the South West against Tinubu and his loyalists. The allies of the president took all the advantages and ensured their loyalists take over the executive positions with the exception of Lagos State and by extension, Osun State in the zone.
In Oyo State, Governor Abiola Ajimobi, who had his traditional political root in the ANPP with Buhari but became governor on the ticket of the ACN before the APC alliance, technically pulled the state party structure out of the ACN to the CPC/ANPP legacy platform ion the broader APC.
Accordingly, going into the 2019 general elections APC stakeholders loyal to the president have been empowered to firmly control Ogun, Ondo, Oyo and Ekiti states, leaving Tinubu with Lagos and Osun.
Even in the control of Lagos and Osun states, the president ignores Tinubu in making federal appointments from the two states. He rather goes for those perceived to be challenging Tinubu’s authority and prepared to fight the political leader in the zone with the federal might at their behest. The president is perceived to have covertly been empowering some of the ministers and APC national leaders from the south west like Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, Solid Mineral Development Minister, Kayode Fayemi, APC national legal adviser, Muiz Banire; including governors of Ondo, Ogun and Oyo states, to decapitate and dismantle Tinubu’s dynasty and bring down his hegemony in the south west.
Invariably, Tinubu has been relegated to a floating party member, losing his leadership status, and no longer considered to have stake in the APC. His loyalists have become apprehensive that their leader is being subtly humiliated in the party he labored assiduously to build and ensure its victory in 2015. They are accordingly, placing the option of compelling their leader to consider alternative political platform in the preparations for 2019 elections.
They perceive the APC reconciliation appointment Buhari offered Tinubu as decoy and beguile to make him delay action or decision on his political misfortune in the APC alliance and consider quitting the party.bu