Oshiomhole: How Tinubu intimidated Buhari, APC to postpone NEC meeting

March 17, 2020
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The National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, at the critical moment rose to make a devastating statement that sent strong signal to President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) over the moves to unseat Adams Oshiomhole as the party’s national chairman. Tinubu’s statement on Sunday, about 60 hours to the NEC meeting scheduled for Tuesday, despite the political diplomacy inherent in the content, covertly indicted President Buhari and other high ranking APC members who hypothetically constitute the powerful individuals protecting the party stalwarts openly agitating for the sack of Oshiomhole.

Tinubu’s hid no intention in throwing the APC game open on the machination of the aborted Tuesday NEC meeting where the APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, would have been removed. From the inchoate stage, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) legacy party led by President Buhari has been allocated the president in the power sharing of the APC alliance. The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) legacy party led by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has controlled the APC national chairman. Tinubu has always nominated who become the APC national chairman. President Buhari merely endorses and, perhaps, had no choice to reject any nominee for national chairman from Tinubu, from Chief John Odigie-Oyegun to Adams Oshiomhole; after the pioneer Interim National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande.

The removal of Oyegun had Tinubu’s endorsement after they both had public brawl. Then, Oshiomhole came on board, courtesy of Tinubu’s nomination.

The moves to remove Oshiomhole without Tinubu’s conviction or endorsement appeared a coup against Tinubu. The success of the plan to remove Oshiomhole would probably have sent dangerous signal to Tinubu.

This is more so where there is the insinuation that President Buhari purportedly had an agreement to exchange the president with Tinubu after his eight years two tenures. Five years after the Buhari administration, Oshiomhole was conceived to be running errands for Tinubu, then, the struggle for his removal ensued. Then, the mutual suspicion and distrust erupted; President Buhari maintained pacific silence. The boldness of the internally opposition increased. And the APC structure shook. The courts assumed seeming manipulative partisan roles. The APC national chairman had no one to hold. But Tinubu exploded. And that appeared to be the end of the game. Then, Oshiomhole survived!

Tinubu in a statement on Sunday declared that the plot to remove Oshiomhole was to avert the political ambition of some APC members in 2023. Tinubu, himself, has been linked with the 2023 presidential race; this is in addition to the innuendo that he had a secret agreement with President Buhari to be given the presidential ticket of APC after Buhari’s tenure in 2023. The insinuation is yet to be refuted, though, not confirmed either.

The APC national leader, however, stated that those behind the moves to remove Oshiomhole are suffering from a sickness called “old Ambition-virus 2023”.

Tinubu highlighted: “That sickness is old Ambition-virus 2023. This illness afflicts many in the political class along with their allies in the media. The carriers of this sickness are confused as to the very season our nation now finds itself.

“They conflate things, which no sensible person would conflate. The primary symptom of their malady is the driving tendency to believe the events of 2023 will be decided before we even exit the year 2020.

“The Chairman has been a tireless campaigner and mobilizer for the party. He has steered the party through difficult elections. His contributions should not be undervalued now that the bulk of elections are behind us. To do so would be an act of ingratitude.

“It is no secret that the Chairman and Edo Governor Obaseki are in dispute. This is unfortunate. However, the party has moved through proper procedures within the proper organs of the party to hopefully resolve this spat.

“The plotters launched their attack solely because they perceive the chairman as an obstacle to their 2023 ambitions. People went to court knowing full well the party constitution prohibits such action because these people had not yet exhausted all internal disciplinary procedures. We even had a national deputy secretary improperly call for a NEC meeting on the basis that he believed himself the acting national chairman.

“Clearly, this man would not have summoned the temerity to make such a move had he not been instigated by powerful individuals who he thought would reward or, at least, protect him for committing the wrongful act.”

The APC national leader deployed political diplomacy to moderate his outburst, saying: “This is the time for governance. It is not the moment to bring the politics of 2023 into 2020. In due course, 2023 shall come. Nothing can prevent it. However, that time is not today.  If we are earnest, the present offers sufficient work and challenges for us without trying to add to it by rushing the future.”

Tinubu, subsequently, strengthened his diplomacy inference, “alling on all APC members to dedicate energies to help President Buhari surmount the challenges facing the country, leave the “2023 frenzy and commit themselves to the harder yet more rewarding task of improving progressive governance, whether within the party or at the local, state or federal levels.”

The consequences of the conflicts of interest was clear in Tinubu’s statement on Sunday. Besides, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the ACN  only has the APC national chairman to rely on, particularly, in the build up to the 2023 general elections which ahs since garnered momentum in the APC.

It was obvious that the silence of President Buhari was giving leverage to the opposition seeking the dethronement of Oshiomhole. This was so till the statement on Sunday by Tinubu; then, the action of the APC governors on Monday holding consultation meeting with President Buhari to postpone the Tuesday NEC meeting.

Hours later, the Court of Appeal which had earlier on Monday adjourned Oshiomhole’s appeal resumed to sit on the suit, ordering stay of execution on the judgement of the FCT High Court which suspended Oshiomhole as APC national chairman.

There are indications that tragedy was averted in APC with the turn of event. Paradoxically, undermining Tinubu would have been costly for the APC.

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