Tinubu, APC and the influence of God-father politics in Nigeria, By Ali Sabo

#TrackNigeria: As the 2019 elections came and left with its palaver, the winners have been declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). While some of the losers have accepted their fate many others have rushed to tribunals to seek redress and claim the victory they believed they were robbed of. As many analysts earlier forecasted a possible crisis within the ruling party, as it turned out, the crisis has already started and is escalating at a very dangerous pace with the National Leader of the party trying to instill his loyalists on the National Assembly leadership on the understanding that they will grant him an easy ride to crowning his long held presidential ambition in 2023. At the green chamber specifically, the National Leader through the party’s chairman has anointed Femi Gbajabiamila as the speakership candidate of the party. On the other hand, at the red chamber however, Senator Ahmed Lawal was equally selected by APC to lead the 9th Senate. But the party, like in 2015 is having a tough time at the two chambers, with the crisis much heated at the red chamber where another senator from the North East insisted on his candidacy defying the party’s directive by refusing to back down his own candidature for the party anointed; Senator Lawan. On Monday, Senator Ali Ndume, a staunch critic of the current House leadership and a party loyalist has addressed journalists after meeting with Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo over the matter that he is not stepping down for anyone. This will be a discussion for another day.

The APC crisis or rather Tinubu’s misfortune started since the beginning of the alliance of the two major political parties; ACN and CPC plus some part of PDP which gave birth to APC. At the initial arrangement, Tinubu was to be paired with President Muhamadu Buhari as his running mate but fate would later decide differently as his former Attorney General, Professor Osinbajo got the slot after some forces within the party declined the idea of Muslim-Muslim ticket. It was rumored that, Saraki, the current Senate President was the man behind the plot, an act which is believed to be the reason why Mr. Tinubu did everything he could to destroy the political architecture of the Senate President in retaliation.

As the 2019 election strategies were been dusted and kept aside, the plot to succeed the current president has already started manifesting which is one of the reasons why everyone in the party who is eyeing the number one seat in the country wants to implant his loyalists at the two chambers. In this regard, Mr. Tinubu has long being planning to succeed president Buhari in 2023 and his preparations are potentially deeply rooted, only time will tell whether or not anyone within the ruling party can block Mr. Tinubu’s impeccable commitment to his dreams. It is therefore evidently safe to say that from the beginning of the APC governmnet to date there is no politician not even the president himself that has as much loyalists as Asiwaju Tinubu within the government. In every lucrative ministry, agency and parastatal Tinubu made sure that there are people who are doing his bidding. This perhaps is the reason why before every action is taken in the country he must be consulted; that is how powerful he is in the party.

As the game is going, Tinubu is facing a hard battle ahead which if God doesn’t intervene it would sink him and everyone in his well-constructed political ship. The crisis in the National Assembly which was brewed by aggrieved members from within the ranks of the ruling APC is undoubtedly the most potent stumbling block to Tinubu’s and APC’s electoral victory come 2023. That is in addition to making it harder for the government to work and fulfil its lofty electoral promises.

The second factor that will sit between Tinubu and the Aso Rock Villa is that he has already lost two states in his stronghold – South West – with Osun state awaiting Supreme Court judgment even though APC added Ekiti into its list in the region. Not only that, many Yoruba elders are seeing Tinubu as a threat, someone who is wielding too much power in the region and relegating many of them to third division politics. Also in the Yoruba drama, if we come down to Kwara state where the Saraki’s family have been dictating the state’s politics for more than four decades but who are now been crushed to political irrelevance and pushed out from the game courtesy of Tinubu’s political dominion which was coordinated in the state by Alhaji Lai Muhammad, an information minister in the Buhari administration, did not go down well with Bukola Saraki who is waiting for his own time to strike back.

Where the real drama will surface is when it comes to the selection of the Vice President who must come from the North. And according to the morality of Nigerian politics “if the president is a Muslim his vice must be a Christian, vice versa”. In the North, especially in the core north the people of that region will find it very strange for a minority Christian to be selected and paired with a Yoruba Muslim from South as President and Vice President. This is where other political parties especially PDP will capitalized on and black-paint the ruling party with help of the APC aggrieve members. The game will truly be enormous and challenging. Let us wait and see what happens.

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