2019l: Buhari Pampers Bruised Tinubu; PDP Nurses Atiku, APC Cracks To Shred As Power Play Begins
Despite claims by the national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, the ruling party is strong and united,  there are indications that all is not well within the ranks of the party's leadership. 

Fully aware of the political power play that may ensue in 2019 Presidential election, President Muhammadu Buhari may likely settle for the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu, as his running mate come 2019, if the prediction of the Publisher of Ovation Magazine, Dele Momodu is anything to go by.

Momodu, made the shocking prediction on Saturday, August 20, in his article titled: "PDP And Tinubu, the Road to 2019” published on Thisday Newspaper.

Recall, that Momodu had prior to the 2015 General Elections, had in similar article, predicted that Buhari would roundly defeat the then President, Goodluck Jonathan.

While revealing the 2019 permutation going on among the rank and files of the APC, Momodu, revealed that Buhari needs Tinubu to succeed in the forthcoming 2019 polls.

He said: “If the President, Buhari, remains stoically stubborn and refuses to play ball with politicians, he would have to fight dirty to win his ticket.

“It seems to me that he would have to do everything to retain the loyalty of one man by all means, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“It is almost impossible for any candidate to become President of Nigeria, without the overwhelming support of the Yorubas and their current generalissimo, Tinubu, in particular,” Momodu said.

While quoting impeccable sources, Momodu added: “Buhari may therefore, be forced to risk and pick Tinubu as his running-mate if push comes to shove. Tinubu’s protégé, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, is the current Vice President, who comes with intimidating credentials, but may not have enough political muscle to deliver enough votes to the kitty.

“The dilemma for Buhari is whether he should buck the trend set by his predecessors, starting from Shehu Shagari, and jettison his Vice President, especially when a cordial and mutually respectful relationship exists between them. In addition, Osinbajo has been doing exceedingly well, and he is seen as one of the few shining lights of this administration.

“There is also the fact that Prof Osinbajo is a highly regarded and esteemed Senior Christian figure and the President has needed him to silence those detractors that consider him an Islamic fundamentalist.

“However, I believe that the controversy that could ensue from a potentially volatile Muslim/Muslim ticket may have been fixed substantially. There is a precedent set by Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, the acclaimed winner of the 1993 elections, who picked a fellow Muslim, Alhaji Baba Gana Kingibe, as his running-mate and still won in Nigeria’s freest and fairest elections to date.

“Though Tinubu is a devout Muslim, his beloved wife is a hard-core Christian and a top-notch member of the same Redeemed Christian Church of God, as the Vice President.

“There is the fact that Tinubu supported a Christian, Akinwunmi Ambode, as his anointed candidate for Governor of Lagos State, a deft move calculated to pacify those who may wish to foment religious crisis and conflagration then, and in the future.

“Tinubu is believed by many to have served Nigeria meritoriously and selflessly, by suppressing his own personal ambition for that of others and it is believed that the kingmaker deserves a chunky reward the next time around if he so desires.

“If the hawks succeed in getting Buhari to snub Tinubu, because of his perceived threat to the President himself, the APC may split like PDP did before the collapse of the Jonathan Presidency’’.

To stave off the growing discontentment in the party and douse the anger within, a rapprochement with Tinubu, considered as the party’s most influential figure is in the offing, the president, is taking steps to right the wrongs that have been visited on him., knowing fully well the loyalty of the former governor of Lagos State.

In the calculations of the president’s associates, Tinubu is far less a threat than Atiku, and Kwankwaso and should be courted, Sunday Sun writes in it today's article, titled; 'Rumble In APC'.

Unlike the duo, he is not nursing any known presidential ambition, and his tumultuous followership in the South-west can come in handy in the positioning of Buhari ahead the 2019 presidential primary of the party. 

Part of the proposed deal is to enlist his support in the ousting of the Senate president, Bukola Saraki, handle the sore issue of budget padding  currently threatening to destabilize the House of Representatives, and chart a robust policy thrust for the administration, especially now that the opposition PDP is in disarray. 

The inability of the presidency to make progress in the numerous attempts to get Saraki out as Senate president was attributed to the non-involvement of “tested leaders like Tinubu”. 

In the unfolding development, considered by many of his associates as a breakthrough, which is gradually afoot with recent appointments of his close aides, including his Chief Press Secretary, Sunday Dare into plum positions in government, the “ Bourdillon Lion” would be appeased over these glaring “ oversights” in the past, which tended to send wrong signals about his relationship with Buhari. 

Prime in the long list of errors is the James Faleke issue in Kogi. He had worked at cross purposes with the presidency backing Faleke to succeed the late Audu Abubakar, but kissed the dust eventually. 

Also, in the contest for the senate presidency’s seat, Tinubu was fighting Buhari’s battle by supporting Ahmed Lawan. His preferred candidate was George Akume, but he switched over to Lawan after reading the lips of the president. On June 17, this year, he, with the Awujale of Ijebu land, Oba Sikiru Adetona, Ogbagba II, and former National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande had visited Buhari in London with an Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG of Ijebu extraction who they proposed to step into the shoes of retiring Solomon Arase. 

Despite the assurances received from the president, it came to naught. On June 3, another error was committed when the president hosted members of the National Assembly to dinner. Senate President, Saraki while observing protocol referred to Tinubu as “the national leader.” Buhari, when it was his turn to talk reportedly rebuked Saraki, saying “Senator Bola Tinubu, even though the senate president referred to you as national leader, you are not the national leader, but one of the national leaders of the APC.” 

When Tinubu criticized the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu over the lingering fuel crisis, the presidency swiftly came to the defence of the minister. The president’s Special Adviser on media, Femi Adesina said on Channels Television, Sunday Politics that “ the minister should not be crucified by anyone for telling Nigerians the truth.” These issues rankled and hurt Tinubu’s camp.

The embattled factional Chairman of the PDP, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff has said the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2019 elections is the main cause of the current crisis tearing the party apart, its embattled National Chairman Senator Ali Modu Sheriff said yesterday.

Sheriff, who bared his mind in an interview with African Independent Television (AIT), accused Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and a former Deputy National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, of plotting to hand the party’s ticket to a prominent leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He said: “Wike and Secondus are working to give the party ticket in 2019 to a man in APC, a man that is not even bold enough to leave the APC and join us. He was in the PDP before. He was a founding father of the PDP.

“I don’t have to mention him. Secondus himself told me that he and Wike always meet this man to strategise plans on 2019. I told him that it is wrong. If the man is bold enough, let him come and join us now.

“They accused me of working for the APC. How? I have never played games like that. I had formed a party and was the BOT Chairman. I was a presidential candidate, three time senator, Minority Leader. Makarfi worked for the APC in 2015, Ben Obi was Atiku’s Vice Presidential Candidate, and Secondus and Wike are meeting an APC man regularly on how the party will be sold to him.

“Wike is full of arrogance and impunity. He is too small to pocket PDP. I will not allow him. There are people who can carry the flag within the party. PDP will not be sold.”

Sheriff is locked in a battle for the soul of the party with Senator Ahmed Makarfi whose tenure as chairman of the party’s caretaker committee was extended by one year in Port Harcourt last Wednesday.

The Police and Department of State Security (DSS) sealed the Sharks Stadium, Port Harcourt which was planned for the national convention convened by the Makarfi faction. The security agencies cited an order by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Tuesday which restrained the party from proceeding with the convention.

Justice Ibrahim Watila of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt on the same day validated the convention while Justice Nwakama Ogbonna of a Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja declared Sheriff an illegal chairman of the PDP.

Some other members of the Makarfi faction, including former minister, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, had accused Sheriff of working for the APC

The Crack In APC
About four visible blocs are arraigned against each other in a glistening surge for a cutting edge and relevance.

This constellation, which is almost fluid and facile is up in arms with each other on three grey areas: the management of the economy; appointment into offices; and positioning for the 2019 primaries of the party. President Muhammadu Buhari who came into power carrying all the blocs along is seen by many of the party leaders to have since relapsed into his original structure, comprising mainly of a rump of retired northern military officers, relations, especially from the North-east his maternal home, and a galaxy of  hard core faithfuls of his defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC.

It Was learnt  according to Sunday Sun, from a close source to the party that the “siege” on the president by these blocs immediately after winning the elections caused the long delay in constituting the cabinet, a situation that created avoidable tension while it lasted. Upon the empanelling of the cabinet, and sharing of other “spoils of victory”, the bloc of the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, which is largely perceived to have swung victory for the party has in more ways than one demonstrated that it is holding the short end of the stick.

Although, the group has in no way made its disapproval of the unfolding scheme of things obvious, it has left no one in doubt that it is not within “the inner kitchen.” The source said: “Consultations on some core issues are not done. Regular interactions are far and in between. Indeed, Asiwaju had to go to London when he was on leave to be able to gain free and unimpeded access to him. Is that how it should be?”

Just recently, Tinubu was described by the Financial Times of London as the “gray cardinal” behind the defeat of ex- president Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 presidential elections. The jostling for control of the party, and ipso-facto, the government, may have thrown the party into tactical confusion. Earlier proposals by Asiwaju to the president to infuse his administration with egg heads and technocrats were allegedly spurned.

The national leader had pushed Mofe Boyo, The Managing Director of Oando for the position of Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dele Alake as the president’s Communication’s Director, Wale Edun as Minister of Finance, and Yemi Cardoso as Minister of Budget and Planning. Buhari , who vacillated on it for some time was roundly warned by his associates to be wary of Tinubu who they perceive as an “astute politician”, and who may in the nick of time outsmart him. In the build up to the 2015 general elections, owing to what political analysts believe is the yeoman’s role Tinubu played in the formation of the party, he was being addressed as “national leader.” After the elections, he retained the title to the chagrin and dissatisfaction of some bigwigs in the ruling party, who are bent on cutting his wings and whittling down his influence.

The Abubakar Atiku bloc, which initially was not seen as a major threat has of recent graduated to a force to be reckoned with. His outbursts on restructuring of the nation and the attendant media visibility and acceptance did indeed knock on a sore nerve of the APC and attracted to him many elements from the North-central and southern parts of the country in the party.

Atiku, who is widely seen as a wily political war horse has since upset the calculations with his burgeoning popularity, which is adjudged by the president’s spin doctors as a potential threat to his re-election bid.

The former vice president is also believed to have warmed his way into the hearts of some of the leading lights in the party and the governors. To butt, Atiku was invited by the party leadership for clarifications on his outbursts and the need to mellow his speeches.

The Rabiu Kwankwaso factor is also strong and prevalent in stirring the angst in the party. The former Kano governor is said to be subtly revving up his campaign structures and has not shown any overt interest in the Buhari administration so far. The Kano chapter of the APC has since dissociated itself from the perceived ambition of Kwankwaso .

Smirk, the party has heaved in to declare no vacancy in the presidency.

Sources: News Punch, Daily Sun, The Nation, Thisday

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