Trouble for Tinubu as Buni moves to stop his presidential ambition
There are indications that the Presidential ambition of the National Leader of All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, may suffer a setback as some forces in the party who didn’t want him to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023 are planning to stop him.
Among the plans to stop Tinubu’s life-long ambition was the move to delay the party’s convention which was initially planned for February 2022.
The Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress who is also the governor of Yobe State Mala Buni and his committee members had delayed in picking a date for the party’s convention.
The development which is worrisome to the governors of the APC who support Tinubu ambition had made them strategize on how to ensure that the convention holds as quickly as possible and in a transparent manner.
A party member close to Buni, while speaking on the development, said “It is true that there is a crisis in several states. But I can tell you categorically that the delays in holding this convention are caused in part by Buni’s ambition to be vice-president”.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had on June 25, 2020, dissolved the National Working Committee of the APC led by former Governor Adams Oshiomhole due to a crisis that was caused by Oshiomhole’s feud with his successor, Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State.
Based on pressure from some governors including Kebbi State Governor, Bagudu; Malami; Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and his Jigawa State counterpart, Muhammad Badaru, the President at a meeting of the National Executive Council of the party, dissolved the NWC and appointed Buni as the leader of a 13-member committee.
The mandate of the Buni-led committee was to organise a national convention within six months but the committee continued to foot-drag, meeting Buhari regularly for extensions.
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“Although we are 14 in the committee, Buni is the one that takes all decisions. He continued to shift the date for reasons best known to him,” he said.
When asked if the decision to delay the convention was not caused by the crisis in several states, the official said the crisis was indeed real but it was not enough to stall a national convention for so long.
He said, “The truth is that Buni got very comfortable and powerful in this position. A governor who is busy in his home state ought not to have time to be sitting down in Abuja.
“For the first six months, the committee achieved nothing apart from trying to convince governors of the Peoples Democratic Party to defect. So, that was how six months was spent when the core mandate of the committee was to organise a convention.
“This same committee organised the frivolous Anambra primary that has now been discredited by the court. They now want to supervise the Ekiti and Osun governorship primaries.”
The official further stated that the Buni committee had set up several sub-committees that had achieved nothing.
He said even the reconciliation committee led by Senator Abdullahi Adamu was just another avenue to waste more time.
“In March 2021, Buni set up the Congress Strategy and Contact Committee headed by Badaru which was supposed to submit a report on the zoning of the Presidential election and other matters. They said at the time that the convention would hold in June 2021. That matter has since been forgotten.
“Buni set up a reconciliation committee on October 11 but the committee did not start its job until two months later. Obviously, everything is just delay tactics. The truth is that Buni has become so powerful that he wants to be able to determine the Presidential candidate of the APC who will pick him as a running mate,” he said.
When asked how Buni intended to achieve this, the official said the Yobe State governor and his backers that had succeeded in killing the idea of mandatory direct primaries and would ensure that both the chairman of the APC and the presidential candidate would emerge through consensus.
He said the consensus method would be used in edging out the likes of Tinubu who had a strong following in the party.
“We are going to put our foot down and demand that a date for the convention be announced this week. If not, we will take the gloves off. We will no longer allow a tiny cabal in the APC to take us for a ride. Even President Buhari, who is not seeking office, is growing frustrated with these games,” the source said.
When contacted on the telephone, the spokesman for the Yobe State Governor, Mamman Mohammed, said the issue was a party affair not a Yobe State issue.
“We are presently in Abuja and this issue is a party affair, not an issue of Yobe State where the governor governs. We are speaking with your colleague here in Abuja,” he said.