Atiku, Tinubu in dilemma
By EDWARD ADAMIDENYO and TUNDE JOSHUA
- Why APC chief fell out with Buhari
- Sent 100 memos to President
- His options for 2023
- PDP chief under pressure to accept single term
- Ex-VP’s men lobby other aspirants to step down
- Gives condition to drop ambition
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and erstwhile Lagos State Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu are facing some dilemmas in their 2023 presidential bids. Both politicians are seeking the presidential tickets of their political groupings, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of Tinubu and the main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of Atiku.
They face a common moral dilemma of throwing their hats in the ring at a time when many are urging political parties to zone their presidential tickets to the Igbo.
However, they face other dilemmas. Barely 11 months to the 2023 general elections, there are strong indications that Tinubu, who is the National Leader of the APC, and President Muhammadu Buhari may have parted ways over the presidential ambition of the former Lagos State governor.
Reliable sources who spoke to The Trumpet disclosed that the two powerful APC leaders are no longer as close as they were before the 2015 general elections when the party defeated the PDP that fielded the then incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. The source who spoke on strict condition of anonymity said many Nigerians are not aware of what is going on between the two men.
“ Our leader, the Jagaban is a sincere man. He was very open to Buhari and supported him with everything he has to win the presidential election in 2015 and 2019,” the source said.
According to the source, Tinubu has been advising the President. He sent him over 100 memos to advise him on critical areas of government. Asked why there appears to be government inertia with growing insecurity, worsen ing economy and unabating corruption, the source replied: “If you help somebody to get a job, will you also help him to do the work?”
In the weeks and months ahead before the election, the source affirmed that Nigerians will know the true extent of what has been happening and how Tinubu did his best to avoid the current situation in the country.
In another response to a question if Tinubu enjoys the backing of Buhari in his presidential bid, the source maintained that the APC leader is a politician who has been in the field for a long time and has built bridges and empowered many people.
“When the time comes, Nigerians will know that Tinubu is a man to reckon with in politics,” the source said with an air of confidence. ,Tinubu had visited the President in March to declare his interest to run for the presidency in 2023 but other sources believe there was no firm commitment of support by Buhari.
The situation became worse after the Kadunabound train attack when Tinubu asked the government to ensure that the killing of innocent Nigerians by terrorists was stopped immediately.
Tinubu said that attacks such as the one on the train between where the attackers opened fire on travelling citizens, were no longer acceptable. The source further disclosed that advisers of the President interpreted these utterances as a direct affront and have urged Buhari to give his support to another aspirant.
Apparently miffed by the development, a support group of Tinubu for the 2023 presidency under the auspices of Disciples of Jagaban (DOJ) on April 6, 2023 raised the alarm over they alleged were moves by what it called ‘cabals’ in the corridors of power to work on the newly elected APC national chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, to truncate the presidential ambition of their man.
The group said it suspects that Adamu was already doing the bidding of the cabals, stressing that: ‘Senator Adamu must tread with caution concerning Tinubu’s presidential ambition.’
A statement issued by the National Coordinator of DOJ, Abdulhakeem Adegoke Alawuje, read in part: ‘It’s pertinent for our new chairman of APC to realise the consequence of working against the popular candidate for the ruling party because only a politically naive will undermine the spirit and the force behind Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s movement on the path to Aso Rock come 2023.
‘Adamu needs to be schooled that working to undermine Tinubu, as already been seen in some quarters amounts to political naivety and unreasonability, for it can only spell doom for the party. ‘Senator Adamu should equally note that those working against Tinubu are true enemies of the nation and APC because they know Tinubu remains the only candidate the opposition will have a herculean task to defeat.
In fact, they couldn’t even get reasons to campaign against him. I, therefore, urge our Chairman not to be intimidated by the position being presently occupied by all former and current Disciples of Jagaban. ‘I urge the Chairman not to stir the hornet’s nest.
It is time we put our house in order and ensure all hands are on deck to achieve unity within the ranks and file of our great party, APC. ‘Few disgruntled elements and enemies of progress within the party must not be allowed to discourage us at all.
We must shine our eyes because the same people who were in the opposition, and worked against the ambition of Buhari but Tinubu came to the rescue are the same set of people working against the emergence of Tinubu, having defected from the opposition party.
They regard no scruples, their goal is to perpetually flirt with the incumbent. It is their way, anywhere.” Although, there have not been direct responses from Buhari’s aides, the source said Tinubu has put in place several options to overcome the challenges to his ambition.
And with the uncertainty that pervades the zoning of the presidential ticket of the PDP, major contenders out of the 14 aspirants are not leaving stones unturned to brighten their chances of emerging the party’s candidate.
Various alliances are being formed while horse trading continues in an attempt to find common fronts particularly along regional lines, to reduce the number of aspirants that will go into the contest at the PDP presidential primary slated for May 28 and 29.
Some southern aspirants namely,Peter Obi, Anyim Pius Anyim, Sam Ohuambuwa and Nwachujwu Anakwenze met in Abuja Friday night to affirm that power should go to the South and microzoned to southeast.
The consensus advocates are still meeting to tinker with the idea of producing one of the quartet of Dr. Bukola Saraki, Bala Mohammed, Aminu Tambuwal and Mohammed Hayatu-Deen. Their cardinal stand, however, is that PDP should throw its ticket open to all aspirants.
They cautioned that competence should not be sacrificed on the altar of zoning. The consensus team contacted former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar on their mission.
But his body language indicated he wanted to run his own show personally, independent of the consensus experimentation. Atiku’s henchmen across the states have the marching order to deflate the zoning argument and sell their principal as the right man for the job.
Their task include but not limited to lobbying other aspirants to step down for Atiku. They have also been meeting with the statutory delegates ahead of the PDP primary next month.
They go about with juicy offers of settling all finances incurred in the build-up to obtaining nomination form and the fees. Part of the deal for any aspirant willing to step down for Atiku is appropriation of positions in his expected administration.
While the southeast candidates are resolute in their stand for Igbo or southern presidential candidate, the Atiku lobby team are targeting aspirants from the south who do not have strong alliance.
The Atiku group believe that stepping down by a few will boost the rating of the Waziri Adamawa and probably win delegates from the placated aspirants over, ahead of the presidential primary.
However, The Trumpet gathered that negotiators for the approached aspirants expressed fear of betrayal of trust , hence they are demanding certain agreements to be made by Atiku possibly in written form.
Notably among the request is that Atiku should agree to run a single term of four years if he wins the 2023 presidency on the platform of the party.
Also, there is a demand that Atiku must make verbal pronouncement which will be difficult to deny in future. This request, it was further gathered, was borne out of the hope that the south will have its turn in 2027 after Atiku might have spent a four-year single term in office.
A source close to an already contacted group anonymously said “in politics no one can be totally trusted. If we as a party adhere strictly to our internal rotational arrangement, we wouldn’t have found ourselves in this situation.
“Someone somewhere in 2015 reneged on the agreement and we are paying dearly for it now. “So, what the concerned people are demanding from the Atiku lobbyists is not out of place.
Politics is a matter of interest and there are situations where you have to lose a position for you to get another position. The give and take understanding in politics creates room for a win- win situation”.
It is expected that before the end of April, the former Vice President or his anchormen may have to make some pronouncements to further consolidate his chances ahead of the primary Meanwhile, Atiku has reportedly said that he would only drop his ambition if the PDP micro-zones the presidential ticket to only the southeast, The Trumpet gathered.
He said via Twitter that for him to forgo his bid, other aspirants from the South South and Southwest should not contest.
Atiku is believed to be referring to Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike (S’South) and Chief Ayodele Fayose (Southwest) and other PDP chieftains from both southern regions who have entered the presidential race.