Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s presidential bid in 2023 is one of the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s worst-kept secrets. It’s a project that’s been in the works for years, and building blocks have been laid all through the nation.
And, while Tinubu has yet to announce his intention to run for President in 2023, his loyalists have been vigorously lobbying and convincing stakeholders to support the move.
Unfortunately, while the former Lagos State governor is adamant on realizing his political ambitions in 2023, he has a major “stumbling block” in the form of President Muhammadu Buhari. The President does not appear to support Tinubu for President, and he is said to be taking covert steps to sabotage it.
In fact, the President made a direct reference to this during his interview with Arise TV, declaring categorically that the party will not allow certain individuals in Lagos to dictate what the party should do regarding zoning. According to many experts, this was a clear jab at Tinubu.
This was not the first time the President made public statements that impeded Bola Tinubu’s aspirations.
The creation of an interim national caretaker committee
Following the court-ordered dissolution of the Adam Oshiomhole-led executive last year, President Buhari nominated Mai Mala Buni as Chairman of the APC’s National Caretaker Committee.
Tinubu and his allies objected to the appointment, claiming that it violated the party’s constitution. The problem is that with Oshiomhole as APC chairman, Tinubu felt certain of having control of the party structure, but under the current setup, the former Lagos Governor has lost out in the power struggle.
According to some observers, the President’s decision to immediately form a caretaker committee was a savvy political maneuver by the President to seize complete control of the party and prevent unwanted intervention, particularly from the Tinubu camp.
Allowing the caretaker committee to run primaries
To add insult to injury, the President recently extended the duration of the Buni-led Committee. This was done in order for it to arrange the party convention and primaries, which are currently scheduled to begin in July.
This is the second time the President has extended the committee’s mandate, which was established in June 2020 and given a six-month mandate. However, its term was extended for another six months in December, and it will expire in June 2021.
This new development has apparently not gone down well with Bola Tinubu’s faction inside the party, who have labeled the move unconstitutional and a backdoor attempt to force delegates on the party ahead of the Presidential primaries.
According to insider sources close to Tinubu, the present strategy is to allow certain people to hijack the party by installing stooges who would decide who gets what in 2023.
Buhari’s stance on interfering in internal party affairs has shifted.
Previously, President Buhari’s political style was non-interference in party matters, but that has changed. His new stance on party politics became clear last year, when he approved the dissolution of the Oshiomhole National Working Committee and oversaw the formation of the caretaker committee.
In reality, the caretaker committee was inaugurated inside the Aso Villa with Buhari in attendance.
According to party references, the President is now interested in who gets what within the party and is keen to guarantee that certain persons do not wield excessive influence over APC internal matters.
The President’s new approach has made it harder for Bola Tinubu to get his way within the party. It has also encouraged the APC’s anti-Tinubu faction to work against the former Lagos State Governor.
If Tinubu succeeds in replacing Buhari after 8 years then that will be his greatest political masterstroke.
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Echatah Patrick, has over 3 years of experience working in Content curating, communication, journalism and child development.