Rumour mills have been awash with stories of loss of confidence between President Muhammadu Buhari and his erstwhile political god-father and self-styled National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
While the duo have, on many occasions, denied any rift, many have, however, point to a number of steps taken by President Buhari, which they claim, are geared towards whittling down the influence of the former Lagos State governor within the APC fold. One of such steps, they insist, is the sacking of the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s led National Executive Committee. Oshiomhole is believed to be a loyalist of Mr. Tinubu’s political dynasty. Mr. Buhari imposed Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni, as the Chairman of Caretaker Committee for the party, without consultation with the Tinubu camp. The Buni committee has since taken a number of decisions considered inimical to the interest of the Tinubu camp. One of such decisions was the registration and revalidation of the party membership list. A lot of dust was raised as a result of this. Even a plea to have Lagos State excluded in the exercise was rejected. It was a deflated and despondent Tinubu camp that later participated in the exercise.
In what may be a perfunctory remark during a recent interview, President Buhari said: “You cannot sit there in Lagos, for instance, and decide on the fate of APC on zoning, Therefore we should allow the party to decide.”
To rob in the import of the reference, Mr. Garba Shehu, a spokesman of Mr. President, in a statement, said the president stated in the interview that nobody but the APC would determine the zoning and selection of where the next President will come from.
The president’s aide said the twisting of his principal’s statement is nothing short of a mischievous attempt to drag his principal into controversies. Shehu urged citizens, and especially members of the APC, not to fall for the scheme.
Buttressing his point further, the Senior Special Assistant said the mention Buhari made of Lagos was not a reference to the respected party leader, Senator Bola Tinubu as the “opposition party’s predatory designs” would put it to damage the excellent relationship between the two of them.
He maintained that President Buhari, Mr. Tinubu, and members of the party want a dynastic succession of elected leaders, adding that the APC should not be distracted from its progress as a democratic party.
However, the import of the rebuttal is not lost on initiates. Those who know say the latent intent was to rub in the position of Mr. President on the issue, particularly as Mr. President did not mention any name during the interview. Mr. President also had the option of mentioning any of the other 35 states across the country or speak hypothetically. But he chose not. Ultimately, it is a case of those who have ears, let them hear.