By Ayo Fadimu
Following the cancellation of one-year tenure elongation earlier given to Chief John Odigie-Oyegun National Working Committee (NWC) by President Muhammadu Buhari, close associates of former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu had warned him to beware of Greek gift from the President
Sources close to the APC leader informed Nigerian NewsDirect that several of Tinubu’s associates have advised him to be careful as he leads the campaign machinery of the re-election bid of the president in 2019.
Nigerian NewsDirect gathered that the sharp turnaround by the President on the earlier decision of the National Excutive Committee (NEC) of the party was to placate Tinubu who is seen to have far more electoral value than Oyegun.
“The President knew he cannot afford to lose Tinubu if he wants to win in 2019 and the best way to placate Tinubu is to dissolve the NWC led by Oyegun” a source told Nigerian NewsDirect.
It would be recalled that President Buhari had made a controversial statement that I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody to which many gave several meanings. Some extremists said the statement was aimed at those who sponsored Buhari’s selection including Tinubu, however, the Presidency has denied such claims.
The relationship between the two gladiators have been frosty since Tinubu helped Buhari to achieve his presidential dream but Asiwaju has been left in the lurch.
Nigerian NewsDirect investigation revealed that Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun, Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, former Lagos State governor, Raji Fashola, his Ekiti counterpart, Kayode Fayemi and Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu had been very close to the President since the administration came on board.
A former House of Representatives member who spoke on condition of anonymity said many of the Tinubu’s aides and associates were not comfortable with overtures being made to him by the President.
“We know it’s because the President wants to contest for second term, we don’t want a situation where the President will use and dump Asiwaju as he did immediately he took over in 2015″ he said.
“Among those the President has been using to embarrass Tinubu, who among them can give the President half a million votes” he asked.
“We don’t want Asiwaju to support the President blindly, there must be agreement and it must be written in blue and black” he said
In the meantime, the leaders of APC in South-South have thrown their weight behind the embattled chairman of the party, John Oyegun, saying he deserved credit for promoting democratic priorities, addressing challenging issues facing APC, protecting the interests of the Nigerian people and improving the standing of the ruling party.
The leaders made their position known after a meeting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
According to the Chairman South-South Front, SSF, Chief John Harry, “Oyegun is an asset to Nigeria having demonstrated how to overcome the challenges confronting the ruling party in the country”
“Oyegun is an asset to Nigeria. He is a few steps ahead of other leaders. The ruling party is growing stronger and increasing in number.
“We agreed to task Oyegun with the job of managing the All Progressives Congress (APC) till 2022.
“The way forward for the ruling party is to retain Oyegun through consensus.
“We are on track. The process of retaining Oyegun till 2022 is expected to be a formality.
“Oyegun has demonstrated how to overcome the challenges confronting the ruling party in the country.
“What do you want Oyegun to learn from PDP. The party’s fortunes have plummeted. The opposition party is in disarray.
“It cannot heal itself. The party is hated by Nigerians for entrenching poverty, unemployment, corruption, insecurity and deprivation.
“The party has been shown the way out of government at the national level and will never return to power again.”