By Eddy Odivwri; email@example.com 08053069356
The tussle between Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the one who prefers to be described as the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie Oyegun for the soul of the party has finally been decided in favour of the Jagaban of Borgu Kingdom. And the unspoken (but implied) verdict is that the Edo chief should begin to pack his bag preparatory for Bini land.
The two chieftains were former governors, one of Lagos State and the other of Edo State respectively. But both guys do not have equal political weight. By no means!
Tinubu is largely seen as the heart of the party.
Many believe that he has not been sufficiently rewarded given the cardinal role he played in instituting the government in power. No doubt, his grip on the south-west region has been his premium worth in the party. That Muhammadu Buhari is the president today is largely because Tinubu collaborated with him. That collaboration was absent in the past and that was why Buhari kept losing the presidential bid. Although Tinubu nominated the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, and a few top government functionaries, many believe that he has not been duly and properly treated, especially as his planned foray into the National Assembly was frustrated and contained by the intrigues of digital politics that played him (Tinubu) out.
President Buhari, after declaring, at his inauguration, that he belongs to nobody and belongs to everybody, went ahead to assert himself, albeit by seemingly being his own man. But he was soon hijacked by a cabal in the presidency who seemed to have mesmerised the president. Matters were not helped by Buhariâ€™s ill health and consequent absence from the throne, which gave the cabal a free and unchallenged reign.
With just about ten months to the next general election, which appears even more crucial for Buhari than the 2015 polls, the latter is suddenly realising that Tinubu holds the longer end of the stick. Not deferring to him and his interest, no matter how narrow it may be, may well spell doom for the re-election bid of the president.
So few months back, President Buhari appointed Tinubu the chief negotiator of the party, one who is supposed to reconcile all aggrieved members and parties within the party. And many are they. Tinubu himself is angry with quite a number of individuals within the party, chief of whom is Mr President himself. Although their rift has never boiled over, it is true that the content of the unspoken body language from the duo has been loud enough for any cursory onlooker to notice.
One other man Tinubu has been spoiling to push out is the national chairman of the party. His offence: he tweaked the electoral process that produced the present Ondo State governor, Mr Rotimi Akerodolu. Tinubu had preferred and anointed Dr Segun Abraham, who was eventually outwitted in the internal politics of the party.
Earlier, Tinubuâ€™s political ego had also been bruised when the same Oyegun-led NEC refused to allow James Faleke inherit the votes of the late Abubakar Audu in Kogi State. And that was how Yahaya Bello, and not Faleke (preferred by Tinubu) became the governor of Kogi State. It was thus not surprising that Bello, it was, who announced the tenure extension of his â€˜godfatherâ€™â€”Oyegun.
Tinubu did not forgive Oyegun for those deep cuts. And so, he has been waiting for the opportune time to inflict a fatal cut on Oyegunâ€™s political career. The opportunity came with the reconciliation assignment he was given. He soon fired a memo accusing Oyegun of frustrating his reconciliatory effort. His diction was harsh and nearly combustive. But Oyegun, in replying, avoided the incendiary issues and merely thanked Tinubu for some shallow good wishes that strayed into the body of the letter. And he achieved an anticlimax.
While waiting for the auspicious time to release another punch, the National Executive Committee (NEC) announced the tenure extension of Oyegun and other members of the partyâ€™s NEC. It was like pouring a glass of bile into a jug of orange juice. The uneasy calm in the party became fouled up. It was taking politics too far, Tinubu must have bellowed.
About a fortnight ago, the APC held its caucus meeting. To underscore his disenchantment with the goings-on in the party, Tinubu clearly stayed away claiming that he had a birthday activity organized by some Lagos youths to attend. It was a protest against the leadership of the party. His deliberate absence was enough message to Mr President that the Jagaban is angry. He (Tinubu) did not see any reason for the extension of the tenure of his traducer. If he allowed it to slip, it would mean he being in political Siberia for a long time to come. He would not brood it. So he moved, latching on strongly to the constitutional provisions of the party that prescribes congress at all levels. Luckily, it was a legal argument that perfectly appealed to Buhari, a man who never wants to circumvent the law, no matter how inconvenient.
So when, the penultimate Tuesday, President Buhari declared that tenure extension for the members of NEC is illegal, Tinubu was literally thrust over the moon. It is instructive that the Lagos chapter of the party had considered legal action against the partyâ€™s NEC over the extension plot.
But as if Mr President was in the minority, the NEC of the party, just after the meeting with President Buhari reaffirmed their loyalty to Oyegun thus seeming to present the party on parallel lines.
The governors of the party had leaned towards Oyegun, vowing that the â€œcoupâ€ to throw Oyegun and co out would not be allowed to stand. And for almost a week, the party was technically on the brink of mega confusion and disintegration. Oyegun thought he would wriggle out of it by setting up a technical committee to review the stance of Mr President on the matter.
But all that ended when, for the sake of Tinubu, President Buhari, for the first time since he was elected almost three years ago, decided to plan an official visit to Lagos, so he could attend the 10th colloquium of Bola Tinubu in honour of his 66th birthday ceremonies.
Indeed, less than a week after, the governors who had vowed to resist the sack of Oyegun and co, suddenly mellowed down, read the handwriting on the wall, and pronto, did a full-scale turn around to align with Mr President, declaring that indeed, tenure elongation is unconstitutional, as if they only realized so.
At that, the technical committee (donâ€™t know what is technical about it), set up by Oyegun to rescue him from Tinubu, has been daggered by the governors last Wednesday.
But those still kicking by the side fear that Tinubuâ€™s ultimate plot is to hijack the party structure and use same to support his presidential ambition, perhaps by 2023.
Now that Tinubu seems to have grabbed the hammer and the anvil, will he be kind to those who come in-between?
Looters, Loathers and Loiters
I hear there are a plethora of court cases being filed across the land.
Plethora of cases? Over what?
Over the accusation by the ruling party that certain persons are looters. The accused are feeling maligned and are seeking a clearance of their names and integrity.
How many people have protested being named? Is it not only the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Uche Secondus? And the threat to also sue the federal government by former governor of Niger State, Alhaji Babangida Aliu? Have you not noticed that majority of them have rather respected themselves by keeping quiet? Do you think the names and cases against them are fictitious?
Many of them are arguing that the list is biased, targeted at only PDP members.
That is or should not be the issue. The question to ask is whether those accused of looting the nationâ€™s treasury actually did so or not. It is not whether others also looted but they were not named. That kind of argument is an admission that such a person actually looted, only that he was not alone, and that other fellow looters should be named.
But why should only the PDP people be labeled as looters? Does it not all smell of political witch-hunting? Have you forgotten that many of the present day members of the APC were members of the PDP too? Did their membership of the APC suddenly cleanse them from all unrighteousness associated with the treasury?
Donâ€™t miss the point. Donâ€™t talk like a loather, one who hates so deeply. Look, the issue is that certain people dipped the whole length of their arms into the public treasury and began to help themselves any how with our collective commonwealth. Is it untrue? Have we forgotten how monies were being recovered left right and centre from those who held offices under the PDP-led government? Didnâ€™t government announce some humongous figures as having been recovered from these looters? Didnâ€™t we hear of people who hid over a billion dollar in newly-constructed soak-away pits? Havenâ€™t we been hearing of people stashing away raw cash in their homes? Is it untrue that certain persons looted the country dry? Why are we pretending? Didnâ€™t some of them return the monies traced to them? While some decided to use part of the monies they looted to do needless legal battle in court? Are we not aware? Do you think it is for nothing that those cases have dragged on almost endlessly? Do you know the amount of water flowing under the bridge? Do you know the amount of collusion in the judiciary that makes it technically difficult to jail these crooks? You think this monster called corruption is mono-faced?
And donâ€™t be deceived. Only two lists have been released. More will follow.
Look, the truth is that these past mandarins bled this nation to a gasping point. Those who are economically perceptive know why we soon slipped into recession, and how we eventually struggled to get out of it. So when next you hear of looters, be calm, breathe in and say a prayer for Nigeria: that may such evil-minded persons never smell our leadership positions again.
You are a delusionist. You think a time will come that looters will not be in government? So you really think there are no looters even in this ruling government? Really? You think APC is populated by angels? My friend, wake up, angels donâ€™t play politics, let alone in Nigeria. Have you not been hearing scandals even among this governmentâ€™s officials? Let me tell you, it is the man who has been caught that his/her own becomes public knowledge. If PDP takes over power tomorrow this is the same way they will taunt APC chieftains. Let us not justify evil because we want to sound politically correct. The future of our country is being mortgaged and damaged by these looters. Looters have no allegiance to party or creed. They are simply everywhere. Even loiters who are just distant hangers-on are potential looters. The nearer they are to the till, the more adept they become in stealing from the nationâ€™s wealth-pot, without breaking it. Were it not so, how did you think even Mr President could fund his own campaign? Or have you forgotten that he even had to obtain loan to purchase his nomination form? Is it such a candidate that would be flying private jet around the country during campaigns?
So what point are you making? Are you also calling Mr President a looter?
Donâ€™t put me in trouble. I did not say so, or do you want Lawal Daura and his men to start looking for me? I am only saying that, as the Bible has declared, â€œAll have sinned and come short of the glory of God.â€
No, donâ€™t wax ecclesiastical here.
I think the PDP people should just shut up because we know what transpired under their watch. Do they think we all had our brains re-formatted? The government in power merely responded to their (PDP) irresponsible challenge of naming the looters or keep quiet. To insist that unless the courts pronounce somebody a looter, he/she cannot be so described, is correct, but an undue thralldom to legalese. Even those caught with their hands dripping with blood beside a severed head will still deny of not knowing anything about the beheaded corpse. It is human!
Have you asked yourself where all those many private jets which used to flood the tarmac of Lagos and Abuja airports suddenly went? Where are the owners of those PJs? Donâ€™t mope at me, tell me where they are!
How can I answer that? So are you implying that the court cases filed by aggrieved persons are needless?
Absolutely! They are merely resorting to legal gra-gra to cover up their financial malfeasance and rape of our treasury. Is it not a shame that we are a rich country but populated by abjectly poor people? Everybody who gets into public office thinks his/her turn to swim into indescribable wealth has come, hence they organise thanksgiving service in churches and mosques. My brother, the problem is deeper than mere lootersâ€™ list. For all you care, even the one compiling the list is himselfâ€™/herself a looter.
Pix: Uche Secondus.jpg