By Issa Itopa Lucky
Happenings within the ranks of Nigeria’s ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) show that all may not be going as planned, for the camp of the National leader of the party, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The politicking currently ongoing underground is stronger than any analyst will dismiss as ordinary.
To make matters worse, during a last month (June 2021) exclusive interview with Arise TV, President Buhari took a suggestive swipe at Tinubu when he suggested as regards the future of APC and the forthcoming 2023 general elections, saying one cannot sit down in Lagos and decide on which zone the party will hand its 2023 presidential ticket, a statement the Presidency will later come out to clarify, describing it as nothing Tinubu or any of his followers should worry about inspite of the insinuation that greeted it and even the temptation to clarify it to calm nerves in the polity.
Even before Buhari’s Arise TV interview, feelers have it that Tinubu may be aligning with Atiku, a former Nigerian Vice President and 2019 Presidential candidate of the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); as his plan B in an event the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) attempts to frustrate him in the course of the primary election contest in the build up to the 2023 presidential and general elections.
It appears as if to say, in an event the ruling party denies Tinubu its Presidential ticket for 2023, for the sake of pride, Tinubu can resign to his privacy and rather from behind-the-scene support Atiku, his business ally and former political ally with which they both sponsored President Buhari to power in 2015.
Tinubu possibly nursing the idea of supporting Atiku for the highest office of the land, being the office of president; should himself fail to get the ticket of the APC to vie for the same office, was first majorly up as a thought in the list of twists to expect in the run of play, when Tinubu went to meet Atiku on the latter’s return to Nigeria on the night of May 28th 2021.
In the course of the short meeting, what the two discussed is best known to them much as the video of the meeting is viral already, but one may never know yet what both of them may have been discussing privately before they met in person that night.
In the video, Tinibu could be seen being led to where Atiku was stationed at the Abuja airport, on getting to where Atiku was, Tinubu was calm all through and was not seeming to be like somebody who was in the wrong spot at the wrong time, everything seemed pre-planned much as the ruling party will later come out to dismiss the meeting as not pre-planned and rather as a mere coincidence at the airport. The whole controversy of that meeting is yet to be addressed or dismissed as a mere coincidence by Tinubu himself or any member of his media office.
First, it was the sudden disbandment of the Adams Oshiomhole National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), a move which many interprete as a means to reduce Tinubu’s influence in the ruling party in the build up to the 2023 Presidential election.
Second, the Arise TV exclusive interview of the President, wherein of all places to use and refer to how one person will not sit in one place and dictate for the party on which micro-geopolitical zone will get the party’s 2023 Presidency ticket, it was Lagos, Buhari saw to use in reference, an act that many feelers believe is a shot fired towards Bourdillon by Buhari, the President himself.
To make matters worse, not any governor yet in Tinubu’s own sub-region being the southwest region, seem to be sold in on Tinubu’s 2023 presidential ambition, inspite of how five of six of them are in the same party with him and inspite of many of them claim to have owed their governorship seats to Tinubu’s support.
How things will turn out in the days ahead as the APC engages itself in intraparty politics in the build up to 2023 will be dicey and interesting but should things head south for Tinubu in his party which he is a founding member of, which he had put in a lot especially to bring Buhari on board as president (both) in 2015 and against caution in 2019, he may decide to team up with his former partyman, Atiku Abubakar, who may likely be the presidential candidate of the main opposition party, PDP, for the 2023 presidential election.
Tinubu may for honour’s sake not decamp to PDP, regardless of how bad things may be for him in the APC as the intra-party politicking gets thicker but he is certain to possibly resign to his peace and support Atiku, his former political ally, from behind the camera on the same race to Nigeria’s Presidency office in 2023. It is indeed justifiably safe for Tinubu if he adopts a plan B already outside of the APC entirely as the party’s intraparty politics at this critical build-up moment is fast becoming a case of “the more Tinubu looks, the less he sees (anything working in his personal favour in the build up to 2023).”