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  • Updated: January 27, 2023

2023: Inside APC's Divided House And Tinubu’s Despair

2023: Inside APC's Divided House And Tinubu’s Despair

Bola Ahmed Tinubu

Coincidentally, Ogun State has shot two scenes of political controversies. Both have smelt half bravery and half despair from the APC presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The inlet of the “shows of denigration” reflects uneasiness and frustration from a man who thought he would have things easy but witnessed the opposite.

On June 3, 2022, the auspiciousness of the APC bigwigs and party delegates gathering in Abeokuta became a national trend.

Tinubu could have either canvassed for votes or used the campaign trail to get the reassurance he needed as he garnered support from the delegates in the party’s primary. 

But the handwriting on the wall could have been more favourable. Bola Tinubu’s name was far off the likely winner’s list.

He desperately and agitatedly swung on the president, Muhammadu Buhari, and his party’s leadership, the All Progressives Congress.

He shared some open secrets many Nigerians and the presidency disliked and laid claim to the presidential stool.

“Emi lo kan” won’t leave the Nigerian political dictionary anytime soon.

On Wednesday, Bola Tinubu went to the movie location in Ogun State again.

He said some unnamed powerhouses had planned to sabotage the coming election.

He insisted that the lingering fuel crisis and naira redesign by the Central Bank of Nigeria are twins out of other subtle plots to upset his chances at the coming presidential election. 

The MKO Abiola stadium, Kuto, Abeokuta, Ogun State, is the spot for the latest show.

Expectedly, the assertion has spewed national talking points.

Immediately after the news broke, Tinubu’s closest rival, the Peoples Democratic Party, refuted the allegation of being an agent of any of the national entanglements raised by Tinubu.

To the PDP and some political commentators such as Kano-based Kabiru Dakata, who spoke with AllNews Nigeria’s politics desk, the APC presidential flag bearer was stating the obvious, the angst the APC regime has brought to Nigerians since it took power in 2015.

What was said

In a tone filled with unusual unhappiness and spots of forlorn hope, Bola Tinubu said in the Yoruba language that some people don't want the election to hold.

"They want to scuttle it. Will you allow them?" he questioned.

The two-term Lagos governor gave a feel of superior revolution and national activism that would come into place as soon as he became president when he said, “They have started coming up with the issue of ‘no fuel’.

"Don’t worry. If there is no fuel, we will trek to cast the vote.

“We will win the election if you like, increase fuel price, hide the fuel or change the ink on the naira notes.

"We will use our PVCs (permanent voter cards) to take over the government from them; if they like, let them say there is no fuel, and we will trek there (polling booths).

“They are full of mischief. They want to create a fuel crisis, they have started creating a fuel crisis but forget about it.

"Put your mind at rest, I assure you. I, Asiwaju, will end fuel scarcity.

“Let the price of fuel continue to increase. They are the ones that know where they are hoarding it.

"They are hoarding naira notes. They are hoarding fuel, we will vote, and we will win.

“If you like, change the ink in the naira note, we will win the election, the opposition will be defeated.”

The two-term Lagos state governor added, “I’m a youth, I’m here for you, and will not put you to shame.

"We will take over the government from them; they are traitors that want to wrest the government from us.

“This is a revolution. This election is a revolution.

"They are creating artificial fuel scarcity, saying they want to increase fuel prices to N200, but let your mind be at rest. We will end fuel scarcity. We will end the fuel crisis.

Tinubu should stop visiting Ogun State

According to the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, Tinubu should stop visiting Abeokuta because things go catastrophically wrong whenever he visits the state.

In a statement by the Head of Media, Obi/Datti Presidential Campaign Council, Diran Onifade, Obi felt that Tinubu’s handlers should have advised him to stop visiting Ogun because it was the same state he made a similar political gaffe.

“Now, he (Tinubu) is saying the fuel scarcity is meant to make the elections fail and how they will take over power from them. Who are they or them?

“He could have been talking to the CBN governor (Godwin Emefiele) and the Minister of Petroleum and who is the minister of petroleum in this respect? President Muhammadu Buhari”.

You are shooting yourself in the leg

According to the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba,  Tinubu is the national leader of the party in power, and none of either the naira redesign or fuel scarcity has anything to do with the opposition.

When contacted, he said, “How does money redesign become our issue as an opposition?

"The president is the minister of petroleum, and they also control the CBN.

"Maybe they should tell us if they have lost control of the government.”

“I don’t know how you can equate this to us. He is the national leader of his party. They should ask themselves and not the opposition.

Atiku/Okowa thinks Tinubu should instead throw in the towel

The Spokesperson for the Atiku/Okowa Campaign Organisation, Kola Ologbondiyan, feels that the APC candidate was trying to find a soft landing for his imminent defeat.

"Our campaign finds it pathetic that Asiwaju Tinubu is seeking a face-saving measure ahead of his shattering electoral defeat by shedding crocodile tears and claiming that the redesigning of the naira notes and the fuel crisis under the APC administration, which he has reportedly been corruptly benefitting, were plots to scuttle the 2023 general elections.

“It is unfortunate that Asiwaju Tinubu is trying to hoodwink Nigerians by seeking to exonerate himself and blame others in the Buhari led-APC administration for the biting fuel scarcity in the country, when in reality, he (Asiwaju Tinubu) is known to be behind the insensitive and anti-people policies that have brought so much calamity to our country, including the current persistent fuel scarcity.

Internal saboteurs

Tinubu and his loyalists maintained that many people were after their election glory.

Even though they did not name the saboteurs, the bulk of the allegation rests on President Muahammadu Buhari and Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor’s table.

So, if there were any saboteurs, the Minister of Petroleum and the CBN helmsman are the prime suspects. 

Godwin Emefiiele, at a point, reportedly indicated his interest in becoming the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and there is a lingering feeling that Bola Tinubu is unpopular among President Buhari’s circles.

Could they be the saboteurs? 

APC chieftain, Fatai Adesokan, dismissed the insinuation that the two names are saboteurs. 

“How will the president want his party to fail on a national level?

"That is certainly unpresidential. Our party’s ultimate goal across the board is to deliver for Tinubu and the APC”, he said.

In an interview with Comrade Yakubu Dakata, a Kano-based social commentator stated that the president couldn’t sabotage the efforts of his party’s presidential candidate by inflicting hardship on Nigerians.

“The possibility of President Buhari deliberately being behind fuel scarcity and new Naira shortages to give his party or the presidential candidate unfavourable precedences is very slim”, Dakata said.

A political strategy?

The influx of the new narrative flooded into the political space this week.

"Therefore, political observers, including Dakata, opined that giving Tinubu a lame identity who has zero influence on the runnings of the present government could be a political strategy. 

“If you watch Tinubu’s campaign trail closely, you will find out that they have strategically left President Buhari out of the campaign.

"Those times you see him there, for me, are just ceremonial appearances", Dakata, an administration and foreign policy expert, added.

APC’s divided house

Going to the presidential election, the worst-case scenario is for the ruling party to match into the election with a disunited front. 

As the election draws close, the latest Tinubu’s statement indicated a clique of intra-party misalignment.

The president is the Honourable Minister of Petroleum, and the CBN governor acts upon the president’s directive.

The above and many other reasons make onlookers conclude that the presidency and Tinubu’s camp are not on the same page.

We threw this question to the APC Campaign Council’s Director of Public Engagement in Oyo State, Fatai Adesokan.

He refused to speak on yawning party differences. 

“Our party is committed to winning the upcoming polls. I can tell you that we are on top of whatever skirmishes that you might think we have.

"I am not authorised to speak on the matter", he said.

He said he would direct our reporter to the appropriate quarters, a promise never fulfilled until this report was compiled.

But even before Tinubu made his statement, the APC gubernatorial candidate in Oyo state, Senator Teslim Folarin, had said in a town hall meeting organised by a radio station in Ibadan while answering questions from critical stakeholders that “the president and Tinubu are two different persons”.

“Yes, Asiwaju supported him to the presidential stool, but he allowed the president to run his government with the people he thinks are best for him.

"Judge Asiwaju on what he did in Lagos State.”

In that case, observers who think there is a deliberate disparity between President Buhari’s camp and that of Tinubu might not be wrong. 

The Atiku/Okowa Campaign Organisation think the same way too. It rebuked the APC candidate for “trying to blackmail President Muhammadu Buhari”.

What the presidency has to say

According to the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, the president, and the presidency have unflinching support for the party’s candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

The presidential aide made the revelation through a statement he signed on Wednesday, titled ‘On Alhaji Tanko Yakasai’s questioning of the President’s support of APC at the forthcoming election.’

Tanko Yakasai, an elder statesman, doubted the support of the presidency and President Muahammadu Buhari for Tinubu In a recent interview on Control TV.

Yakasai’s voice might be the loudest that got to the ears of the presidency, but it represents the viewpoints of most Nigerians.

Several voters still think President Muhammadu Buhari and the presidency have been numb to Bola Tinubu, making him go all out again with his latest outburst in Ogun State.

Free and fair election in danger

Only a few Nigerians agree that the fuel scarcity or naira redesign is a deliberate attempt to give Tinubu an unpalatable campaign momentum.

Still, some people believe they are harmful to the successful conduct of the election.

A  former governor of Bayelsa state and  senator representing Bayelsa West, Seriake Dickson, said the timing of the currency redesign by the CBN is wrong 

While speaking at an interaction programme by the Rotary Club of Abuja Maitama in Abuja on Wednesday, Senator Dickson maintained that the currency redesign could thwart the prospect of “fair and peaceful conduct of the general election".

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Yusuf Adua
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Yusuf Adua is an investigative journalist passionate about politics, solution-based reporting and f...

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