Speculations have been rife that loyalists of the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, decrying that the political capital of the ‘Jagaban’ was being eroded by the actions of a cabal in the Presidency.
Tinubu’s men say the exclusion of Tinubu’s candidates from the President’s final ministerial list, the gang-up against his candidate in the Kogi governorship election, James Faleke, who was the late Audu Abubakar’s running mate; and the alleged fraud against his candidate in the Ondo governorship primary, Olusegun Abraham are some of the sabotage Tinubu’s camp has suffered.
The Ondo governorship primary had led to an exchange of words in the media between Tinubu and the National Chairman of the party, John Odigie-Oyegun. Feeling short-changed and sidelined in the affairs of a party, Tinubu’s supporters are reportedly calling on him to float a new party and strip the APC of his support. In fact, they recently organised a rally in Lagos under the hash tag #IStandWithTinubu to express their displeasure over the state of affairs of the APC.
Although Tinubu has remained silent amidst speculations about his next political move, he has not attended any event organised by the party in recent times neither has he been seen in Aso Rock villa of late. For instance, he was conspicuously absent at the final governorship rally of the party in Ondo State recently, which was attended by President Buhari. His tactical withdrawal from the party’s functions has been interpreted in some quarters to mean that he might eventually dump the APC with his supporters.
Besides, the former Lagos State governor is a deft politician who does not belong where his influence is diminished. For instance, following his misunderstandings with the leadership of the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, and subsequent crisis in the Alliance for Democracy (AD), which was the brainchild of Afenifere, Tinubu exited the party that brought him to power as governor in 1999 and formed the Action Congress (AC) during his second term in office. The AC later merged with some other minor political parties to form the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in September 2006.
Under the arrangement, he was the only governor on the platform of the ACN and as such called the shots. To his credit, he was able to build the ACN into a formidable political platform especially in the Southwest geo-political zone where at a time it controlled five out of the six states in the zone. That earned him a lot of respect and influence in political circles, which he took into the APC. With the outstanding victory of the APC in the 2015 elections, it was expected that more reverence would come his way, but that has not happened yet.
Instead, there are insinuations that Buhari is building a new bloc of loyalists in the Southwest zone through ministers and other appointees, which would moderate Tinubu’s influence and subdue him. It is, therefore, very unlikely that in spite of his enormous contributions to the formation and success of the APC in the 2015 polls and his desire to play politics at the federal level, he would remain in the APC until 2019.