Located in Bourdilon, Ikoyi, is the residence of a Nigerian who has become a sort of political enigma in the country. Indeed, he is fondly referred to by supporters as ‘Ifa Eko’, meaning ‘the oracle od Lagos’.
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has paid his dues, having got necessary experience at the domestic level via environmental influence through his mother, Habibat Magaji who was a prominent market women leader and a grassroots mobilizer for the successive progressives’ political parties i.e. AG, UPN.
Bola Tinubu’s direct foray into politics was, however, in a big way. He got elected a senator from Lagos State in 1991 and he was a strong contender and he would have eventually emerged the Senate President were it not for the argument that the position should go to the north, a development that favoured Iyorchia Ayu.
Tinubu later emerged the arrowhead of the NADECO group and emerged the governor of Lagos State in 1999. After the constitutionally allowed two terms, Tinubu became the godfather to his successor, Tunde Fashola. Tinubu, a thoroughbred politician began efforts to expand territory and it yielded positive results as it got the states he controls increased to six namely Ekiti, Edo, Lagos, Osun, Ogun and Oyo. Ekiti State was later lost to the opposition, the PDP.
Tinubu played an important role in making the emergence of Buhari as president a reality; indeed, he stood as the originator of the idea of getting the Daura born president returned to the field. The trio of Tinubu, Bisi Akande and Lai Muhammed had visited Buhari twice to convince him on trying his luck again. It was on the third trip that El-Rufai was co-opted before he agreed to contest.
The story here centres on the current stormy weather violently shaking the Jagaban’s political empire; among the governors of the state he controls, the governors of Osun and Lagos have been known to be permanently fiercely loyal.
Signs of cracks within the wall in the relationship between Tinubu and the other south-west APC governors emerged during the choice of candidates for ministerial positions last year, Governor Ibikunle Amosun was miffed by the decision of Asiwaju to unilaterally suggest Wale Edun for Ogun State slot without prior consultation with him. Ajimobi has records of naturally being allergic to godfatherism as evident in his relationship with late Lam Adeshina. Prior to his emergence as governor, he deferred to Lam on every decision but in his first year in office rather than rooting the distribution of rams during sallah through Lam as the head of the structure, he simply sent 10 rams to him, a development that left Lam incensed cognizant that such direct distribution of rams to loyalists is a way of sustaining structures and securing continued loyalty. Amosun on his own is independent minded, he tried to sustain good relationship with Aremo Segun Osoba before things fell apart, apart from monthly largesse of about N10 million, he also got in touch via other means but he strategically took over the party structure which earned complaint from the former governor and his fear was later confirmed as Amosun easily secured second term ticket and Osoba had to defect to another party.
Preparatory to the Ondo State APC gubernatorial primary, the serving APC governors who would be completing tenures in 2019 and have secretly nursed the dream of having almost an exclusive say in who becomes their successor opted to be proactive by sending signals to the appropriate quarters ahead of 2019.
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, having arrived at his preferred choice for the slot spoilt the show by making it known early; the development gave opportunity for a high-wired politics, tricks and a gang-up against the choice of the top politician. At the national level, there are five distinctive powerful camps within the corridors of power. Governor Nasir El-Rufai who heads one of the powerful camps peopled by the Northern caucus was until recently in alliance with Asiwaju Tinubu and the co-ordination of the onslaught against the senate president and others was handled by them.
The duo of El-Rufai and Tinubu fell out for clear reasons, the Jagaban nurses interest in shoving up his profile by adding another record to his CV apart from being an ex-governor and El-Rufai also strongly wishes to be president. If President Buhari would not go for a 2nd term, Tinubu would not find it comfortable serving as VP to El-Rufai, the Kaduna State governor would not welcome the idea either.
Quite surprising, four out of the five powerful camps that are though constantly involved in battle for relevance readily find Tinubu as a common enemy and are always united against him on any issue.
The Ondo scenario was perfectly arranged to show the planned agenda, a group at the national level is also selling the idea of building a structure in the south west for President Buhari in the event of possible decision of Tinubu to dump the party. To this end, the old CPC camp in the southwest is being revived and strengthened. Minister for Communications, Bayo Shittu who had been coordinator for Buhari in Oyo State since 2003 has been enlisted while a Lagos State based politician who also has same profile is on board. The same set of people frustrated his moves to install his political son as Kogi State governor. The Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello got support freely lavished on him from different quarters to stop Faleke.
The judicial battle, we learnt was also made easy as a result of Tinubu’s position on an issue which reportedly annoyed the top echelon of the judiciary both serving and retired. Months back, the Jagaban, according to a source joined others in canvassing for the idea of bringing a Senior Advocate as successor to the Chief Justice of Nigeria billed to retire next month. This is said to have irked the members of the bench and this partly contributed to the cold shoulder treatment from those he could ‘speak’ to and get things influenced. Global Excellence’s findings, however, revealed that there is nothing unusual about bringing a man from the bar as Chief Justice as there had been precedence.
Justice Teslim Elias was a member of the bar and he was appointed directly as the Chief Justice of Nigeria while late Justice Nnamani was also appointed directly from the bar as a Supreme Court judge. The NJC, we gathered has, however, already sent the name of the next person in line to the president for approval. By rules, he would at least function in acting capacity for three months before the appointment of a new CJN could be made if he isn’t retained.
Ahead of the Ondo APC guber primary, some south-west governors and two northern governors mobilized financial support for Akeredolu and got well prepared.
Senator Ajayi Borofice already secured Senator Remi Tinubu’s support and also got some funds, he gave N100,000 to the delegates he won to his side while the highest bidders gave N250,000 and N200,000 respectively per delegate.
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola grew up in Ikare-Akoko and he has mastered the Ondo State terrain, indeed at the formative stage of APC, he was mandated to supervise the merging process in Ondo State. Preparatory to the primary, Aregbesola threw his support behind Olusola Oke and had his Special Adviser detailed to work with him. Following a phone call from Asiwaju while in London that he found Aregbesola’s action annoying, the Osun State governor quickly made a public u-turn and detailed his deputy chief of staff to move down and coordinate things for Abraham to save his face. Minister for Works, Tunde Fashola was, however, strategic; he has suddenly got dressed in the garb of a technocrat and showed he wasn’t interested in the political intrigues but he secretly gave support to the rebel governors through a third party arrangement. Fashola, Muiz Banire and others had been made to face a silent political war by the Governor Ambode’s camp fully backed by Tinubu, plans are marshaled daily on how to get them totally weakened politically and get free of any known structure or loyalists. A commissioner nominee from Mushin was dropped and replaced with Seye Oladejo for visiting Banire three days to the day the list was released. Minister for Information, Lai Muhammed too has tactically avoided being involved in the intrigues and he luckily pretended to be busy with ‘change begins with me’ campaign and other official duties.
Though, the anti-Tinubu forces were well prepared, Tinubu would still have had his way if Oke and Borrofice had teamed up with Abraham. Three different centers were used as screening points for delegates from each of the three senatorial districts in the state, eventually Akeredolu Ale polled 669 votes while Dr Segun Abraham got 635 votes.
A top member of the party who was at the venue of the primary and who spoke on the condition of anonymity confided in our reporter that Tinubu’s camp had a genuine case before the appeal panel.
‘We are still amazed as to how the votes recorded was higher than the accredited delegates, the process was arranged to be free of manipulations, the delegates after getting screened would file into a bus sandwiched by Hilux vans conveying security personnel and they would move to the venue of the primary, but in all honesty, the number of votes was higher than the accredited delegates and strangely the extra numbers were almost exactly the number of votes Akeredolu got higher than Abraham. However, many would also argue that the believed imported delegates could also be among the ones that voted for Abraham so no one can say this was what happened but it was shocking’ he said.
Meanwhile, the news of Akeredolu’s emergence as winner of the primary was well received in the state government house as Governor Segun Mimiko, according to source popped champagne with supporters and referred to it as a welcome development.
With the launch of diatribes against Tinubu by Tunji Abayomi , ego issues and personality clash have certainly set in and many believed it would be too difficult convincing the Jagaban to truly support Akeredolu. The decision of Olushola Oke to pick the AD ticket and the readiness of the AD guber candidate to willingly release the ticket got many thinking and they quickly read meanings to the development.
‘You know Asiwaju cannot leave APC and it will be too obvious if his candidate defects too. Many therefore believed he gave instruction to Oke to move to AD, but it is not too certain because if he could not persuade Oke to step down for his candidate before the primary; that means Oke’s action is free of influence. The appointment of Tinubu and Aregbesola’s boy, Bola Ilori as Oke’s Campaign Director General got people sent into a state of considerable confusion’, he said.
A highly placed source also disclosed that the Jagaban is being watched and monitored.
‘Yes, there is no big deal about it, he has been under investigations for months now. The security people are doing a sort of routine duty ordinarily, they are supposed to have dossiers on everybody once you are popular, investigation in respect of Tinubu started in the early days of the administration and the offensive documentary aired on AIT is being used as one to leverage on and that was why Oba Rilwan Akiolu lamented during Buhari’s first month in office that they wanted to repay Tinubu with evil. He obviously got wind of the development, being a former top police chief with security network. However, Tinubu and VP Osinbajo are currently being watched and monitored in respect of the Ondo guber polls’, the source revealed.
The Jagaban, according to a source, we gathered is, however, not unaware of the efforts and plans to launch political attacks against him but he opted for the option of watching events unfold while he waits for the appropriate time to act.
‘He is an experienced politician, he has paid his dues and his structure is intact. His loyalists including the governors are still in his camp and he remains the party leader and father and as the APC leader, he remains committed to the party’s goals and he is on the same page with Mr. President, as against wrong insinuations’, the source stated.