- Amaechi, Fayemi, El-Rufai tackles Tinubu in a proxy battle
The location of the current crisis rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) might be Edo State over the September 19, 2020 gubernatorial election, but Global Upfront Newspapers (GUN) has gathered that the real bigger bone of contention is the Presidential ticket of the party in 2023, three years away.
While the two main characters in the political fights now are the two sons of Edo State, Governor Godwin Obaseki and the suspended National Chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiohmole, the real gladiators are behind the scene determining the temperature of the contest.
GUN learnt that the frontline drummers of the music currently being danced by Governor Obaseki and Oshiohmole for which Nigerians are excited watchers are former Governors Ahmed Bola Tinubu (Lagos), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers) and two incumbent Governors – Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna) and his Ekiti State counterpart, Dr Kayode Fayemi.
Tinubu had in 2018 overthrown former National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odgie-Oyegun in the belief that his allegiance was domiciled somewhere else than him and this could endanger his long desired ambition of succeeding President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
The removal of Chief Oyegun and installation of Comrade Oshiohmole meant Tinubu has taken over the structure of the party and was well suited to pick the flag of the party in 2023, at least so it seemed on paper.
GUN source said that to ensure that all the hiccups on the road to realizing the ambition of Tinubu, the new Chairman was given a clear mandate recruit more supporters for the project and to frustrate and dislodge all diehard opponents.
But Comrade Oshiohmole lacked the wizardry and diplomatic touch to carry out his assignment without creating further trouble, as he brought his combative labour background into the arena and found himself taking every step in the wrong direction since he took over the leadership of party.
The anti-Tinubu combatants who felt vulnerable since the exit of Chief Oyegun, led by former Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, returned to their strategy table and made sure the pro-Tinubu executive never saw peace.
In this fight, Amaechi is enjoying the support of other aggrieved persons including Governors Fayemi and Él-Rufai, with former Governors Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, Adekunle Amosun of Ogun State and Abdullahi Yari of Zamfara State, among others.
The Oshoihmole backers are not lightweights either, as all “Tinnubu Boys” who are still loyal to his course like Governors of Osun, Ogun, Kano and the newly recruited Governors of Imo and Kogi States, are lining up.
The Presidential men who could have helped the President to intervene and arrest the situation, in his fatherly throne, are also polarized, making it difficult for him to have unbiased advisory or intervention.
GUN learnt that what helped to aggravate the situation this much was the untimely exit of the former Chief Staff , late Malam Abba Kyari, who has been providing carrot and stick solutions to the crisis.
His death meant the fight had to come into the open since his successor, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, a diplomat by profession, would not want to dabble into politics too early. And if he must, it had to be behind the scene, like a true diplomat.
Our source said that President Buhari’s late intervention by setting up a reconciliatory panel cannot resolve it because it’s about 2023 ambition which the President or the party cannot resolve now.
The entire APC party organ, from top to bottom, are polarized along interest blocks and would be difficult to have peace, although he agrees that a better manager than Oshiohmole even if biased can navigate well without provoking other interests.