2019: How APC, NWC members betray Tinubu


By Ayo Fadimu

Before President Muhammadu Buhari got to power as the president of Nigeria in 2015, the power of former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in All Progressives Congress (APC) was enormous.

Tinubu was one of the principal actors that midwifed APC into an election-winning party. His former party, Action Congress of Nigeria formed alliance with other political parties including Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) led by President Buhari. The aggrieved members of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) that broke from the party led by former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and part of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) also joined.

 Tinubu played a major role in the emergence of many of NWC members into their various offices. As the National leader of the party, his acceptance was crucial for any candidate into the party’s office to emerge.

The list of members of All Progressives Congress (APC) Working Committee members elected then include,  National Chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, Deputy National Chairman South, Engineer Segun Oni, Deputy Chairman North, Senator Lawal Shuaibu, National Secretary, Mallam Ibrahim Bala Gubi, Deputy National Secretary, Hon. Orji Ugofa, Vice Chairman South West, Akinyelure Pius Oloye, Vice Chairman North West, Barr. Inuwa Abdulkadir Vice Chairman North Central, Zakari Abdullahi Ede, National Treasurer, Bala Mohammed Gwagwaruwa, Deputy National Treasurer, Abubakar Lado Suleija and National Financial Secretary, Alhaji Tajudeen Olaitan Bello among others

However, since Buhari took over, the hold of Tinubu on NWC of the party has been reduced considerably. There was a group in the party that even questioned why Tinubu could be referred to as the Leader of the party when there was a President from the party and also that the position, “Leader of the Party” is alien to the constitution of APC.

“It is worrisome that NWC of the party that Asiwaju (Tinubu) laboured to establish is now working against him, they want to simply diminish the influence of Asiwaju in the party” a loyalist of Tinubu who does not want his name in print told Nigerian NewsDirect.

‘Imagine Asiwaju’s boy that is in the NWC, Muiz Banire was all over the town fighting his benefactor for 16 years because of local government election in Lagos state, its simply pathetic” he added.

Banire, a former Commissioner for Transport in Lagos was single handedly nominated into the NWC by Tinubu but was vocal against Tinubu’s system of “imposing candidates” in the last local governments elections in Lagos.

Many loyalists of Tinubu in Lagos saw Banire’s conduct as an affront to Tinubu. He was suspended by the Ward ‘C’ Chapter of the All Progressives Congress in Mushin Local Government Area of Lagos State, for a period of 10 years for allegedly engaging in various acts of anti-party activities and misappropriation of campaign materials and logistics. However, other members of NWC came to his rescue by institing that a national officer cannot be suspended by ward officers.

“Under APC constitution, there is no such provision enabling such clowns and their scavenging sponsors to suspend anyone. Secondly, by the APC constitution, a national officer once elected at the convention is responsible for 36 states, including the FCT, thereby ceases immediately to be a local member” Banire said.

Banire and some other officers of the party including the Chairman, Oyegun were fingered in the emergence of Rotimi Akeredolu as APC candidate in last year’s Ondo election against Dr Segun Abraham who had the nod of Tinubu for the governorship position..

Tinubu has been schemed out of APC central politics, the only reliable voice he has is that of Southwest women leader, Chief Mrs Kemi Nelson “but what can she do alone among such powerful cabals who do not want to see Tinubu as a force in the party” a source close to Tinubu asked our Correspondent

Last Thursday, the former Interim National Chairman APC, Chief Bisi Akande, declared that the party’s ticket for the 2019 presidential election remains open to contenders as President Muhammadu Buhari is yet to indicate interest in a second term.

“It was voice of Esau and hand of Jacob because Akande, a known supporter of Tinubu was subtly campaigning for Tinubu but the response was swift and the NWC that was supposed to be neutral did not, it shows that if Tinubu wants to contest for Presidency in 2019, he should start searching for another political platform because APC wont be easy for him to ride upon” a political observer, Idris Shoetan told Nigerian NewsDirect.

Odigie-Oyegun has described Akande’s,statement that the party’s presidential ticket for 2019 election was open to all was his personal view.

Oyegun who declared in May that the party would give Buhari right of first refusal for the party’s presidential ticket in 2019.

Buhari was still recuperating from an undisclosed ailment in a London hospital when the NWC led by Oyegun made the offer..”

Although Tinubu was not in attendance at the Ibadan meeting where Akande made the statement, other APC Southwest leaders at the meeting include Governors Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo State), Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos State), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun State), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo State), former Governors Adebayo Alao-Akala, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Olusegun Osoba, Adeniyi Adebayo, Kayode Fayemi, who is also the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Minister of Communications Adebayo Shittu, Minister of State for Niger Delta, Claudius Daramola, Senator Olusola Adeyeye, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Lasun Yusuff and House Majority Leader Femi Gbajabiamila, among others.

Although, none of the bigwigs at the party was willing to speak with Nigerian NewsDirect over Akande’s statement because of its sensitive nature, however, a Lawmaker present said Tinubu would contest the election but refused to mention the platform.

“The NWC of APC with support of some governors and ministers from Southwest has taken over the party but they don’t know that a strategist like Asiwaju can’t be boxed to a corner, you will soon hear from our camp” he said