Bola Tinubu’s distance from Aso Rock is being interpreted in many quarters as a manifestation of a rift between his camp and that of President Buhari with the 2023 presidential election as the bone of contention.
According to reliable sources, there are efforts to convince the president to support a candidate that would protect his (Buhari’s) interest when he exits the presidency in 2023.
“We are working hard to convince the president to support a candidate that would protect his interest after his tenure,” the source, who sought not to be named, said.
Talking about the relationship between Buhari and Tinubu, a source in the presidency said: “President Buhari has never had a cordial relationship with Asiwaju.
“He just believes that the former governor of Lagos State should be used to achieve his ambition. After the 2015 elections, you will recall that Asiwaju was abandoned. He was brought close again before the 2019 elections. So, there is no need to worry about their relationship. It is the same scenario that is playing out,” he said.
A ranking APC lawmaker also disclosed that the president was not happy with happenings in the South-West even as he accused Tinubu of doing nothing visible to quench the rising agitations in the region.
“I can bet you the president will not come out openly to support him (Tinubu) to become president even though the former Lagos State governor believes that this is payback time considering the huge investment he made in Buhari and the APC.
“Also, the president has had reservations about Tinubu’s personality because he sees him like any other politician in the country. But he became suspicious of him when Tinubu started claiming the title of a national leader of the party after the 2015 elections.
“As you know, the national leader of a ruling party should be the president. You know, the former Lagos governor is arrogant and the president is stubborn, the two cannot go together,” he said.
As part of measures to whittle down the influence of Tinubu in the South-West, the ruling APC has continued to bring in people who are perceived to be opposed to the former Lagos State governor.
A former governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, whose second term bid in 2019 Tinubu worked against, was on Tuesday named as a member of the contact and strategy committee of the party.
Aside Ambode, the party has harvested top shots in the South-West political zone, including a former deputy governor of Osun State, Iyiola Omisore; a former governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel, and former Speaker Bankole, among others.
In the South-West, especially Lagos, where the agitation for Tinubu’s presidency has been rife, his numerous disciples are said to be keenly watching the unfolding scenarios and exploring other options ahead of the election.
Many of them believe the alleged move by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to open a fresh investigation against him was the product of a rift between him and the president.
But his loyalists say they were unperturbed by the seeming gang-up, describing the purported probe as a “campaign of calumny against the national leader of the APC.”
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