Battle To Wrest All Progressives Congress From Bola Tinubu Takes A Twist As His Position Of National Leader Comes Under Serious Question

Will former governor of Lagos state, Bola Tinubu, continue to bear his title of national leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), when party convention and constitution allocates the position to the president?

This is the nut APC bigwigs and leaders are now battling to crack as Tinubu’s position in the party comes under serious contest following the victory of the party at the March 28 presidential election.

According to The UNION findings, Tinubu may be forced to lose his cherished position and title if there must be peace within the party.

However, what position he will occupy is not clear yet.

Dependable sources in the party told The UNION “following the abysmal performance of the party at the election of NASS leadership, the leadership is taking another

look at the structure of the party and its principal officers with a bid to make it function within the ambits of our constitution”.

Part of the restructuring, according to the source is the “National Leader of the Party, which Tinubu currently occupies.

The UNION learnt that no such position exists in the party’s constitution and as such, there has been confusion as to who, between Tinubu and President Muhammadu Buhari, will be national leader of the party. APC, it was learnt,

do not want to alter the situation so as to rightly position President Bu- hari as its national party leader.

Arguing that the position of party leader, which Tinubu assumed during the heyday of the merger talks, was strategic given the stabilizing role and geo-political significance his southwest zone and his defunct party, Action Congress of Nigeria, the source maintained that the position had become anachronistic with the new image of the party as the ruling party working seriously to be- come accepted nationally.

As it is, our source said national executives of the party and President Buhari ought to become actual face of the APC, and not Tinubu.

Our source said while President Buhari should become National leader of the party, Governors and Local government Chairpersons would function as such at the states and local government levels.

Though the source maintains that this current thinking in the party is not unconnected with the perception that Tinubu was getting more than he can chew, with his hands in every piece of the pie, he contends that the former Lagos governor may have been misunderstood because “his intention was to ensure that all the groups that merged to form APC were appropriately com- pensated”.

But more investigations by The UNION, show that, Tinubu, was well respected at the beginning of the party, but with every electoral success that came the way of the party, respect turns to fear.

“The political wizardry with which he consummated the merger, first between the President’s Con- gress for Progressive Chance (CPC) and his Action Congress of Nigeria, (ACN), before the rump of All Pro- gressives Grand Alliance (APGA) led by Governor Rochas Okoro- cha and All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP), led by Chief Ogbonnaya Onu and later the new-PDP, earned the respect of the party rank and file. But as the party grew, he became too fast-paced in his dealings for many to catch up, some getting dazed in the wake of his tactics.

“After the emergence of the Na- tional Chairman, Chief John Odigie- Oyegun, Buhari as party presidential candidate at the November 2014 party Convention and the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, all through his support, his deep in- volvement in the scheming for the leadership of the NASS, rankled the party leaders, particularly from the north. Enough is enough”, said the source who noted that “our party needs a bigger face beyond Tinubu and his magisterial style”.

“Interestingly, what is being sug- gested for him is the office of the Chairman of the party” added the source with some laughter.

For this reason, pressure is being put on Chief Odigie Oyegun to resign his office as national Chairman, or be shoved aside.

But our source said “the position of party chairman is for a more conservative, methodical person. Tinubu likes to move around, hold meetings. No, he cannot do it”.

He however failed to suggest what may happen in the event that Tinubu is denied his preferred ‘office’ within the party as well as fails to become national chairman of APC.

The suggestion of the position of party leader, for Tinubu, however, is not unconnected with the unfolding development of the party, particular- ly the bid of Oyegun for the office of the Secretary to the Federal Government, SFG.

Though Oyegun had denied nursing any ambition for the office, there is more to it than meets the eye.

He told journalists in Abuja that he has never solicited any position in the party other than the seat he is presently occupying.

“I have not in anyway, in capital letters and underlined, solicited for any position other than the national chairmanship of APC. I think I am clear enough, isn’t it? And nobody has approached me that he is con- sidering me either on that position or another”, Oyegun told journal- ists.

But inside APC sources had told The UNION that Oyegun first bided for a ministerial slot and when that was not coming, he tried his luck at the SFG as soon as Senator Ike Ekweremadu of the PDP was elected Deputy Senate President.

Oyegun’s bid for the SGF, The UNION learnt, was premised on argument that Ekweremadu’s election was adequate compensation for the southeast, thus throwing open the gates for Oyegun’s bid to become SGF.

Meanwhile, Ogbonnaya Onu is widely tipped as best suited for the SGF office even as APC leaders had confirmed zoning the office to the south east.

Senator Rabiu Musa Kwank- waso, had rubbished talks of Ek- weremadu’s feat being adequate compensation for the southeast. According to him, Ekweremadu’s election was an act of the senate which had nothing to do with zon- ing as Oyegun failed the party by his inability to work out a zoning ar- rangement prior to NASS leadership election.

Sen. Kwankwaso had said APC must give the southeast its fair share in the sharing of prime offices, adding that “APC did the right thing at the wrong time. The party missed crucial opportunity to fix the issue of zoning. The party missed some important steps and things went wrong”.

– Amos Esele

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