As 2019 elections draw closer, activities informed by future projections, calculations and manipulations keep manifesting in different areas with different people at different times. Take for a striking example of what is going on in Imo state. It is now breeding many interests and actors within and outside South East geopolitical zone under the APC. In other flash points of APC crisis of Ondo, Ogun, Rivers and Zamfara states, they still bear the same fingers except Zamfara and Rivers states.
Former governor of Lagos state, Bola Tinubu is believed by many to be at the manipulative center of the commotion. Tinubu hasn’t hidden his desire to take over from Buhari in 2023 if Buhari won another term. Let’s go to the beginning and put things in proper perspective. Buhari promised to do only one term and he was supported and succession game started almost immediately he was announced the winner by Prof. Jega in April of 2015. El-Rufai was said to be hawking himself to the cabals as possible choice to finish the remaining one term that President Buhari would be leaving behind. The Lagos boys led by Tinubu were hoping on unplanned eventuality of events that the Vice president would serve out the term in case the president could not see it to the end.
In the heat of the moment when the president’s health was at its worst, power blocks within APC intensified their strategic game plans. The northern cabals made sure that Tinubu shed some political weights and giving wide berth from the villa. They recruited many former loyalists of Tinubu who were disenchanted and tired of his undue dominance of south west politics. Fashola and Fayemi were the arrow heads of this group, propped up by northern cabals to cut Tinubu to size. It was even believed in some quarters that Ambode at a point started playing double game as he wasn’t sure how things would turn out if the president didn’t make it and that remained the sin that Tinubu axed him recently. Gov. Akeredolu of Ondo state on the other hand at the time had drawn a parallel political line with Tinubu and Gov. Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun state was closer to Buhari than Tinubu and may not be difficult to convert him against Tinubu. Gov. Fayoshe of Ekiti was on one hand at the time spiting fire and heating up the south west politics. Governor Ajimobi of Oyo state was silently building his own political line up by dismantling the political influence of Olubadan, similar to what Tinubu did to Afanifere. It was only Gov. Rauuf Aregbesola of Osun state, Tinubu’s real state of origin remained totally loyal to Tinubu.
Tinubu looking at the heavy political battles before him, recoiled into reclusion at his bourdillon mansion. Like or hate Tinubu, he understands two very important things in politic, timing and resources. He knew the administration was yet to hit the middle of its mandate and open fight with those controlling power in absence of the president could destroy him. He maintained his distance and that gave him time to decide his next cause of actions when the time comes. There is nothing as dangerous as allowing a calculative and manipulative man time to think. He was able to decide those that must be axed, those to be weaned of their states and those to be recruited. The whole political calculations changed immediately President Buhari made it out of the hospital strong enough to appear in many government functions at a row. Tinubu’s quietness and wordless during the power rumble paid off. There is no words or actions from his side during Mr. President’s absence that anybody would point to as evidence of his attempt to pull rug off Mr. President.
As the elections draw even closer, opposition from both South East and South-South grew, Fulani herdsmen terrorists on the other hand kept their pogrom activity in middle belt blazingly hot and daring as days pass by. The economy kept nose diving and opposition from many northern elites the president’s cabals tactically kept out of power was on the increase. The president had no choice than to bring Tinubu back to the table by first going on presidential trip with him. There is never a better time to be closer to the president than then. The need for his support by the President presented Tinubu with the opportunity to execute his drawn up battle plans.
The first on his axe list was the party Chairman Mr. David Oyegun who himself was the governor of Edo State. Tinubu found his consorting attitude with Aso Rock cabals irritating. He recruited some governors in the bid to sack him, vocal among them was Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo state. When the president saw that trying to keep Oyegun, he may lose the support of some powerful APC bigwigs and he bowed to their pressure and Oyegun was axed. They conscripted Adams Oshiomole, the former labour leader and governor of Edo state as chairman of the party. The likes of Rochas openly supported him and possibly not knowing that Tinubu had arrangement with the man his enemies refer to as ‘the tailor’. Tinubu’s axe list continue to churn out names from its pages. Party Primaries came and Gov. Ambode was shocked beyond belief to find out his name was on the list. He tried to plead but met with deaf ear, he boasted with no effect, he went for Tinubu’s choice but met with ‘NEPA bill’ kind of party members. In the end, he threw in the towel and accepted his fate.
Rochas wanted his son in-law to succeed him while Gov. Amasun of Ogun state wanted a representative member Akinlade to succeed him while both men proceed to senate to rest. Amosun was counting on his long time relationship with president Buhari to be picked as his successor in 2023 if the party decides to zone it to South West. Okorocha also was preparing to clinch same ticket in 2023 if it is zoned to south east and no better way to be prepared for that than a continued access to state coffers thus the need for man Friday as successor. Tinubu understands that calculation having been using it. He surrogated his battle axe to these states through Oshiomole. However, the annoying part of it especially to Rochas was the way Oshiomole played him. He would give him assurances to high heavens and Rochas would run down to Imo state boasting to whoever wants to hear that nothing would stop him and that this battle will prove who is a male man between him and Uzodimma. Oshiomole kept biting and breezing Rochas until the last minutes. Gov. Amosun suffered the same fate as well as Akeredolu of Ondo state even though his was minimal. Tinubu undermined all these Governors using Oshiomole, all for 2023 positioning but he should remember that if eventually Buhari wins, his second term will not take any political prisoner. He will go for the jugular as there will be no political hold on him then.
Obi Ebuka Onochie is a Political Analyst
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