2019: OBJ lobbies Tinubu, Kwankwaso, Duke in new party


By Ayo Fadimu

Indications have emerged that former President, Dr Olusegun Obasanjo is lobbying former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former Kano State governor, Senator Rabiu Kwan-kwaso and former Cross River State governor, Donald Duke to join Third Force.

Last week, Obasanjo had written a 14-page letter to President Muhammadu Buhari advising him not to contest for presidency in 2019 due to what Obasanjo termed underperformance and need for the President to rest due to his health challenges. He then called for Coalition of Concerned Nigerians which he said he would be glad to champion.

Nigerian NewsDirect learnt that former Osun State governor; Olagunsoye Oyinlola has been pencilled as the interim Chairman of the new party.

Sources close to the former Lagos State governor told Nigerian NewsDirect that Obasanjo has sent some of his link men to Tinubu to join hands with him to wrestle power from Buhari in 2019.

Tinubu formed alliance with Buhari in 2015 but has been left in the cold since Buhari took over the Presidency. He has been having running battle with the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party led by Chief Odigie Oyegun over the activities of the NWC.  The representatives of Tinubu’s fief, Muiz Banire has also opted to go against his former boss. He ferociously attacked Tinubu during the last local government election in Lagos State. He accused Tinubu of imposing candidates.

The Oyegun-led NWC of the party is canvassing for automatic return of all members of NWC, a position which Tinubu strongly opposed.

“It was one of the issues discussed by Asiwaju and the President during his visit to Aso Rock, he (Tinubu) made it clear to the President (Buhari) that all the positions in the NWC will be declared vacant and be filled with elected candidates” a top chieftain of APC, loyal to Tinubu told Nigerian NewsDirect.

“You know Tinubu is the most sought for politician in Nigeria. Unlike Atiku who defected without any notable politician, even a councillor did not follow him back to PDP, if it is Tinubu, many governors, Senators, House of Representatives members and other notable politicians would follow him immediately, “he added.

In the meantime, Nigerian NewsDirect learnt that Kwankwaso is being tipped as the presidential candidate of the party. Kwankwaso served as Minister of Defence during the second term of Obasanjo. He was also instrumental to stopping former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Umar Na’Abba who was torn in the flesh of Obasanjo as Speaker from returning to the Green chambers.

Under the watch of Kwankwaso, Buhari scored a total of  1,903,999 votes without any voided votes despite high illiteracy rate in the State. He also installed his deputy, Abdullahi Ganduje, with whom he is currently having a battle of superiority but the incumbent governor seems to have the ears of both the President and the party leadership.

However, the spokesman of Kwankwaso, Surajo Tsafe did not respond to enquiry from Nigerian NewsDirect. But one of his aides insisted that Kwankwaso is still a member of All Progressives Congress but said its an honour for the Senator to be considered for such position by someone like Obasanjo whom he has served before as a Minister .

The former Cross River State governor, Duke is being considered as Vice Presidential candidate just as former education Minister, Oby Ezekwesili.

“We don’t know how the Baba (Obasanjo) is planning the game but we know he is not alone, he has other powerful people he is working with on the project and we believe, he will come out well” a close aide of Obasanjo told Nigerian NewsDirect.


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