The last few weeks will no doubt go down as some of the toughest in the political career of a former Lagos State governor and stalwart of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Apart from watching the current crisis rocking the party swallow some of his henchmen and loyalists, the situation has also threatened his relevance in Nigeria’s topmost political circle and also his purported plan to run for the country’s presidency in 2023.
Even though he has continued to deny it, his desire to succeed Muhammadu Buhari as president three years from now when the former’s uninspiring eight-year reign would have come to a halt, is very clear to many discerning minds.
In what can be regarded as a ‘killer’ punch to his political structure and 2023 presidential ambition, President Buhari and other APC leaders in a meeting on Thursday sacked the National Working Committee of the party previously headed by the now suspended ex-National Chairman of the group, Adams Oshiomhole.
The former Edo State governor belongs to the Tinubu camp and with him and his NWC out of the way, the chances of the ex-Lagos governor succeeding Buhari became ever slimmer.
Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni, was appointed by the APC leadership to head a Caretaker Committee that will oversee things and organise a convention later in the year to select new executives for the party.
With the reality of the latest development fully hitting him like a fiery tornado, Tinubu in order to save face and his acclaimed reputation as Nigeria’s top political strategist on Saturday penned a letter to the entire APC ‘family’, calling for calm and most importantly distancing himself from the seat of the President in 2023 once again.
In the lengthy letter where he touched on many different issues, Tinubu said, “I wish to begin my remarks by commending members of the National Working Committee. Under their collective stewardship, the party earned great and important victories, not least the vital second mandate handed to President Buhari.
“Yet, we must acknowledge that something important has gone off track. For some months we have experienced growing disagreement within the leadership of the party. This unfortunate competition had grown so intense as to impair the performance of the NWC, thus undermining the internal cohesion and discipline vital to success.
“Those most intimately involved in founding the party remain faithful to this benign, timely assignment. Sadly, many members have lost their balance. Their personal ambition apparently came to greatly outweigh the obvious national imperatives.
“The National Working Committee, itself, became riven by unnecessary conflict. Those who disagreed with one another stopped trying to find common ground. Attempts were made to use the power of executive authority to bury each other. I must be blunt here. This is the behaviour of a fight club not the culture of a progressive political party.
“Some members went against their chairman in a bid to forcefully oust him. In hindsight, his fence-mending attempts were perhaps too little too late. I believed and continue to believe that Comrade Oshiomhole tried his best. Mistakes were made and he must own them. Yet, we must remember also that he was an able and enthusiastic campaigner during the 2019 election. He is a man of considerable ability as are the rest of you who constituted the NWC.
“President Buhari is much more than a mere beneficiary of the party. He is one of its founding fathers. The APC does not exist in its current form without his singular contributions. That is not opinion; it is undisputed fact.
“Given these antecedents, he cares about the condition of the party as any parent would care for its offspring. President Buhari has done what any parent in his position and with his authority would do.
“The President has spoken and his decision has been accepted.
“To those who have been actively bleating how the President’s actions and the NEC meeting have ended my purported 2023 ambitions, I seek your pity. I am but a mere mortal who does not enjoy the length of foresight or political wisdom you profess to have. Already, you have assigned colourful epitaphs to the 2023 death of an alleged political ambition that is not yet even born.
“At this extenuating moment with COVID-19, I have made no decision regarding 2023 for the concerns of this hour are momentous enough.
“Those who seek to cast themselves as political Nostradamus’ are free to so engage their energies. I trust the discerning public will give the views of such eager seers the scant weight such divinations warrant.
“Personally, I find greater merit trying to help in the present by offering policy ideas, both privately and publicly, where I think they might help. I will continue in this same mode for the immediate future. 2023 will answer its own questions in due time.”
On Wednesday, SaharaReporters had reported how Tinubu’s ambition to become Nigeria’s President had practically crashed to the ground after President Buhari rejected Oshiomhole in favour of Victor Giadom.
Tinubu had strategically imposed his loyalist, Oshiomhole, a former labour movement leader in Nigeria, as APC Chairman hoping that he will pave the way for him to obtain the party’s ticket for the 2023 presidential election.
Tinubu had also convinced himself that by surrendering his loyalty to President Buhari and the Aso Villa cabal, he would be able to curry the favour of the Northern parts of Nigeria for his presidential ambition.
SaharaReporters sources revealed that Plateau State governor, Simon Lalung, Governor of Jigawa State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State as well as Senator Ibikunle Amosun and Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, all belong to a common bloc that has sworn to embarrass and ridicule Tinubu’s presidential ambition and bury it permanently.
These politicians have teamed up with the Northern elite, who have the support of Buhari and control state resources and every other things needed to make things happen in favour of anyone.
Sources further disclosed that the development of recent days and Tinubu’s inability to secure audience with President Buhari have combined with many other imparatives to threaten the political relevance of the ex-Lagos governor and push him out of reckoning even before 2023.