Presidency: No Rift with Tinubu

  •  APC cash-strapped as Buhari, others withhold dues
  • President refuses to replicate PDP’s mistake by using state resources

Tobi Soniyi and Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

With the dust raised over the Ondo governorship election yet to settle down, President Buhari has dismissed the notion that he and the APC leadership are at odds with a National Leader of the party, Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu, describing such rumours as unfounded and mischievous.

The president’s media aide, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement yesterday said the president was highly embarrassed by such “suggestions”.

He also said Buhari was in regular contact with Tinubu before, during and after the Ondo gubernatorial election.

Shehu said any suggestions that the president and the party machinery were working to destroy Tinubu had no foundation in truth or any credibility, explaining that the president was impressed by Tinubu’s assurance to the part not to work against APC in Ondo and he honoured his pledge.

Shehu also explained that Buhari regards Tinubu as a “priceless political asset” to the party whose immeasurable contributions to the development and progress of the ruling party are known to all.

He advised rumour mongers to stop spreading the seeds of discord and animosity between the president and Tinubu or the party, adding that the president was proud of the “Jagaban” (Tinubu’s traditional title) and his pivotal role in the party and the movement.

Buhari also commended Tinubu’s spirit of comradeship by promptly congratulating Rotimi Akeredolu who was elected governor in Ondo State last Saturday.

The president further noted that at a time his administration was preoccupied with governance issues, rumours of divisions and alleged scheming within the party were counterproductive to internal unity and cohesion in APC.

Tinubu, who backed Dr. Olusegun Abraham to secure the ticket of the APC to contest in the Ondo governorship poll, had opposed the Rotimi Akeredolu’s emergence as candidate of the APC, alleging irregularities during the party’s primary.

THISDAY, in an exclusive story yesterday indicated that Akeredolu’s emergence had caused a major rift in the party and among the South-west states critical to the president’s re-election bid in 2019.

The rift was also evident when most of the APC governors from the region, except Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, refused to turn up at the grand finale of the APC rally for Akeredolu before the election.APC is Cash-strapped

Meanwhile, wore details came to light yesterday as to why the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is strapped for cash and is currently unable to offset several bills incurred by the party.

The headquarters of the party was recently disconnected from the power grid over non-payment of its electricity bill to the Abuja Disco.

A reliable source at the APC’s national secretariat, who spoke to journalists yesterday, blamed the poor state of the ruling party’s finances on the non-payment of monthly dues by all cadre of political appointees on its platform, including Buhari.

He explained that based on the decision reached at the meeting of the party’s national leadership, it was agreed that APC members in the National Assembly were to pay N100,000 (senators) and N70,000 for the House of Representative members.

Although the party source failed to disclose the amount expected from Buhari and his deputy, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, he said most APC political office holders within this category had not been forthcoming with their contributions due to the internal crisis in the party.

He said the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and House Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, had also stopped the mandatory monthly payments since the party got engulfed in a crisis.

Similarly, the source said all political appointees of the party, including Buhari, who is also the leader of the party, had not paid their dues since they took office, contrary to the party’s constitution.

Sources also revealed that some APC governors, appointees of the president and many members of the National Assembly loyal to a prominent leader of the party, have vowed not to contribute a dime to fund the party until “there is a change in the party’s leadership”.

However, a top member of the party confirmed to THISDAY that only the Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Mustapha Baba Shauri, from Borno State has been able to pay N500,000.

Also, a few lawmakers were said to have paid for only three months since they were elected into office.

The source said: “It is only one minister that has paid part of his dues. From the records, it is the Minister of State for Works. However, based on the charter of the party, ministers and senators are supposed to pay N100,000 each month.

“The party is in serious financial straits. We have not been able to settle loads of debts.

“It is even worse when the expenditure profile averages N100 million per month. The party is struggling to meet its overheads because some governors that should pick the bills have refused to pay. The funds don’t come directly, but in the form of the governors bankrolling the visits of the national officers during visits to their states.

“It is so bad now that the party is even struggling to meet its overheads. This is not even enough considering the financial commitments of the national officers, who have aides, logistics and even fuelling their official vehicles. It would have been better if they have fixed allowances given to each of them.

“The financial problem of the party was compounded following the decision of President Buhari not to sponsor the party, in line with the transparency and anti-corruption disposition of his administration.”

Buhari, it was also revealed, does not want to replicate the mistakes of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which openly used state resources to fund its activities when it was in power.

“True to his word, nothing has come to the party from the presidency since June 2015 when the party took over power,” said the source.