- Concedes ministerial slots
- AS APC stalwart insist on no automatic ticket for president
By DICKSON OMONODE
President Muhammadu Buhari has commenced a fence mending relations with National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as threats of second term ticket uncertainty get stronger.
National Daily investigation revealed that the Presidency is being worked up by recent political activities across the country which culminated into rebuilding of regional powers in both the North and the South. More so perturbing is the dissolution of political parties’ boundaries and unity of elder statesmen, state and political actors into molar power bloc advocating for better deal in Nigeria’s federalism.
The convening of a meeting of Southern Governors which Governor Akinwumi Ambode of Lagos State was elected Chairman send strong signal of the resurging power potentials of Tinunbu in the South.
Apparently, President Buhari at an impromptu meeting the APC National Leader, Ahmed Tinubu on Monday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, before APC’s NEC meeting in Abuja last Tuesday, had sought the cooperation of Tinubu, soliciting his support for 2019 presidential race. It was alleged that the President pledged to concede some ministerial slots in his plan to re-organise and expand the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and other appointments into boards of federal parastatals.
Some of Tinubu’s loyalists are skeptical about the renewed ‘romance’ between the President and the principal; describing the purported offer of presidential slots as Greek Gift and huge temptation. Those who spoke to this Reporter, however, said they are still watching the said negotiation and will study details of everything put on the table.
National Daily had earlier reported that after the closed-door meeting which held at about 3:28 p.m with the President last Monday, Tinubu, in a media interaction monitored from Lagos, reaffirmed unfettered good relationship with the president, thus, repudiating innuendoes of rifts between him and President Buhari.
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Tinubu acknowledged that “unpredictable circumstances in the party gave room to insinuations and rumours of rift between him and the president.” Paradoxically, the admitted “unpredictable issues” illustrated tacit admission that differences did occur, however mild.
Tinubu further remarked that having worked hard to bring the APC government to power, he is committed to ensure the success of the party government, saying that the party government is on course ‘in fulfilling electoral promises or providing good governance’.
Tinubu, however, declined comment on the second term project of President Buhari. “Don’t discuss that one with me,” he had said.
APC successfully held its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja last Tuesday, October 31, 2017, party stakeholders are now waiting for the non-elective national convention in November.
No automatic ticket
The most visible phobia President Buhari may be harbouring is the rising agitation of “no automatic ticket for the President’ by notable APC stakeholders.
Chief Bisi Akande, APC Interim National Chairman, had at a meeting of APC leaders in the South West at the Executive Chamber of the Oyo State Governor’s Office. Ibadan, penultimate week, declared that there is no automatic ticket for the president, though acknowledging that no interest has been declared yet. Akande had said: “He has not told us. Anybody in our party is free to become the president of Nigeria. As soon as they indicate interests, we will set a process through which a candidate will be selected. If he (Buhari) is lucky to have the ticket, then, we will have no other thing to do than to present him as our candidate.”
Anayo Rochas Okorocha, Governor of Imo State; Chairman of APC Governors’ Forum, has joined the advocacy for open competition for the presidential ticket of the APC for the 2019 presidential race. He had said that there would be no automatic ticket for President Buhari to re-contest on the platform of the APC.
Okorocha last Thursday declared that all candidates willing to contest on the APC platform would emerge through a democratic process that will be transparent and acceptable to all.
Okorocha’s declaration has reinforced the earlier statement of APC National Leaders in their meeting with President Buhari Monday, where they deferred their endorsement for the President’s re-election.
Moreover, the Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Alhassan, also revealed that Buhari had before the 2015 elections, told the APC leadership that he was only going to contest for a single term to clean up the mess of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP).
Alhassan cited to have said, “In 2014/2015, he said he was going to run for only one time to clean up the mess that the (previous) PDP government did in Nigeria. And I took him for his word that he is not contesting in 2019.”
Accordingly, President Buhari has reasons to ‘rebuild’ alliance with Tinubu in order to strengthen the APC political machine for the party’s presidential ticket and the 2019 general elections, as well as consolidate on the formidable Atiku’s challenge.