Allege plan to whittle down Tinubu’s political influence in S’West
Say some govs working against Tinubu’s interest in Osun
Tobi Soniyi and Gboyega Akinsanmi
As the 2019 presidential election draws closer, some political associates of the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, have expressed fear that President Muhammadu Buhari may turn against Tinubu after the 2019 elections.
Tinubu’s associates, who served in different capacities while he was the governor of Lagos State, equally doubted whether Tinubu made the right judgment to support the president’s re-election in 2019.
Some of his associates recently spoke with THISDAY in confidence, wondering what would likely be the fate of the APC leader if he “eventually helps Buhari win a second term in office as the president of Nigeria.”
One of the associates, who served in the Lagos State Executive Council between 2003 and 2007, noted that the president might want “to use Tinubu to win Lagos and South-west and afterwards, dump him.”
He disclosed that Tinubu’s political allies “have been putting pressure on him to reconsider his decision to support Buhari’s re-election.”
“It appears Asiwaju is resolute to support Buhari despite the way he was treated after he helped Buhari win 2015 presidential election.”
The associate said even though Tinubu shrugged off the warning of his trusted associates repeatedly, realities would eventually dawn on him at last that his judgment to support Buhari’s re-election was not right.
He explained that Buhari “has never been comfortable with Tinubu’s vast financial resources”. According to him, the president was also said to be uncomfortable with Tinubu’s political influence, not only in the South-west states, but also across the federation.
“Buhari may choose to cut him to size after his re-election,” the associate said.
Another associate, who is working closely with the APC leader, noted that many of the people to whom Buhari had concentrated powers had not hidden their disapproval of Tinubu.
“When the time comes, the president will simply become inaccessible. The sharks within the administration will turn against Tinubu. They have done it before. They are going to do it again. But Tinubu is not looking at issues from this perspective.
“Buhari could not have come back to Tinubu if the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola could really secure him victory in Lagos State. Buhari returned to Tinubu because none of his new friends could help him win election in Lagos and South-west states,” the associate said.
He revealed that Buhari actually preferred Fashola; Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu; his Ogun State counterpart, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun; Ekiti State Governor-elect, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, but could not depend on them alone to win the majority of votes in the South-west.
Another associate said Tinubu’s political allies were jittery “due to how Buhari treated the APC leader shortly after he was elected president.”
“Despite his contribution to Buhari’s election, he was at a time denied access to the president to the chagrin of his supporters,” he added.
He said the APC national leader should learn from the treatment meted out to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who, despite his support for Buhari after losing the APC’s presidential primary, was isolated and had his business interest harmed by a government he helped put in place.
He explained that the first thing they did was “to turn against his business interest.
They claimed the contract between the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) and Intels, in which Atiku has interest, violated the 1999 Constitution.
“What did Atiku do wrong? What offence did he commit? They simply consider him too rich and too powerful for them. Thus, they tag him a threat to the Buhari government. That is the way they see Tinubu,” he said.
The source cited how the presidency “played former APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, against Tinubu”.
“In order to satisfy Tinubu, the presidency has suddenly realised that Odigie-Oyegun is weak and undeserving to remain as the party’s national chairman. The plot to deal with Tinubu is well known to some privileged northerners within the president’s inner circle. Tinubu cannot deny that such a plot exist,” he said.
An entirely different source shared the fear of Tinubu’s political associates, disclosing that some South-west governors had started working subtly against Tinubu’s interest in Osun State just after APC’s victory in Ekiti State.
Already, the source claimed that some South-west governors “have started promoting the candidacy of the Secretary to Osun State Government, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti, in the presidency against Tinubu’s interest and contrary to understanding they reached before Ekiti State election.
“Tinubu agreed to support the Fayemi candidacy on the ground that he would be given privilege to choose the governorship candidate in Osun State. They all agreed to this condition at a meeting facilitated by the Presidency. But they have started breaching this agreement. Subtly, they have been funding and promoting Adeoti against Tinubu’s interest. They are simply working to whittle down Tinubu’s political influence in the South-west states,” the source explained.