Oyegun Replies Tinubu, Urges Unity For Victory In Ondo Polls

The All Progressives Congress (APC) said yesterday it had commenced wide consultation with major stakeholders of the party to address the bad blood generated by the party’s recent governorship primaries in Ondo State.

The APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, whose handling of the dispute drew flak from the party’s national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, called for truce yesterday.
He stressed the need for the APC to go into the election as a united body instead of dissipating energy on issues that could be resolved with the aid of the party’s internal mechanism.

Oyegun who also responded to Tinubu’s call to resign for allegedly overruling the APC National Working Committee (NWC) vote on the Ondo State APC Governorship Primary Election Appeal Committee Report said he felt insulted by the allegation.

He said : “There was absolutely no meeting which I chaired that voted in the manner alleged. Clearly, the report on which the media office of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu acted was a figment of someone’s wild imagination.”

He added: “On Thursday 22nd September, 2016, being the final day for submission of candidate by political parties, the NWC discussed the possibility of voting, having finished deliberation on the 2016 Ondo State APC Governorship Primary Election Appeal Committee Report because members in support of cancelling the primary results were still strident in their position.

“A member of the NWC however drew the attention of the meeting to its previous decision in which the report of the Primary Election Committee was adopted while the Appeal Committee was set aside.

“The implication of this decision, he reasoned, was that a decision to submit the name of the winner of the primary election was already taken unless the NWC will now wish to reconsider its earlier decision. I agreed with this and ruled that the previous decision of the NWC be upheld.

“The Ondo State approved delegates list was compiled in strict compliance with the party’s constitution. Only qualified delegates were included in the list.
“Moreso, none of the aspirants or the Appeal Committee has submitted to NWC a list of delegates who were not qualified to be included in the delegates list but were listed as delegates or presumed qualified delegates who were not included in the delegates list used for the primary.”

On the allegation that he used the period of prayer interlude to excuse himself and went to submit the name of Akeredolunto INEC, he said the “allegation is high fiction and an insult to the intelligence and sensibility of the respected NWC members present at the meeting.

“We do not and have never engaged in prayer interludes/sessions outside the usual opening and closing prayers. The prayer that is being referred to must be the closing prayer for the meeting.”

On the allegation of corruption, he said: “Nobody has the kind of money that can buy my conscience or make me do injury to an innocent man.

“In all the primaries conducted under my watch as National Chairman, I have strived to ensure a free, fair, transparent and credible process.

“The 2016 Ondo State APC Governorship Primary Election was not an exception. There must be internal democracy in the party and our constitution must be respected by all.

“The Party’s NWC decision to reject the 2016 Ondo State APC Governorship Primary Election Appeal Committee Report was taken on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 in executive session after careful and exhaustive deliberations. The minutes and rejection were confirmed by the NWC on Thursday, September 22, 2016.

“The NWC in its four-point resolution rejected the Appeal Committee’s recommendation on the grounds that the report was fundamentally and fatally flawed.

“The NWC observed that the Appeal Committee contradicted itself when it admitted in its report, ‘In making the above recommendations one is not unmindful of the fact that there may have been substantial compliance in the conduct of the exercise.’ but still proceeded to recommend the nullification of the primary election.

“The NWC in its four-point resolution faulted the failure of the Appeal Committee to invite the National Secretariat as the custodian, to authenticate or otherwise the source of the disputed delegates list.

“Also, the Appeal Committee did not invite the Chairman or members of the Ondo State Governorship Primary Election Committee to clarify issues relating to the allegation of manipulation of the accreditation process.

“The Appeal Committee rather relied totally on unsubstantiated evidence(s) in the petitions it received to recommend the nullification of the primary. This is against the principle of natural justice and fair hearing.

“The NWC equally observed a serious contradiction in the Appeal Committee’s report in respect of the number of the accredited delegates. Whereas the Primary Election Committee’s report indicated that 2,774 delegates were accredited, the Appeal Committee’s report erroneously recorded it as those who voted in the election, thereby acting under the false impression that there was over-voting in the exercise. The actual total number of votes cast was 2,754, as clearly recorded in the Primary Election Committee’s report.

“The issue of fresh primaries did not arise as NWC had already rejected the Appeal Committee’s report in view of the stated flaws and upheld the election. In any case, any fresh primary was already time barred. By the timetable released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), all governorship primaries and issues related ended on September 19, 2016.

“Also, voting on the issue became unnecessary and never took place in view of the NWC’s rejection of the Appeal Committee’s report.
“The foregoing are facts backed by the minutes approved by all NWC members that attended the meetings held in respect of 2016 Ondo State APC Governorship Primary Election Appeal Committee Report.

“Going forward, I appeal very passionately to leaders and members of the Party at all levels to explore internal dispute resolution mechanisms in addressing their perceived grievances instead of resorting to the media to vent their spleen.

“There are enormous challenges in delivering on the Party’s 2015 election promises to Nigerians. On the immediate horizon is the task of winning the governorship election in Ondo state. We cannot afford to be distracted by the present contentions.

“I wish to assure Party members that despite the media attention that has been generated by the disagreements in the aftermath of the 2016 Ondo State Governorship Primary Election, the Party is focused on the task ahead and we urge our Party leaders and teeming supporters to also remain calm. The Party has already commenced wide consultations with stakeholders with a view to resolving the political differences that still exist. Hurling brickbats cannot help the cause of the party in any way.

“The APC national leadership remains united and solidly committed to the task of winning the Ondo state governorship election to save the people of the state from the misrule of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).”

Tinubu’s ‘Right Of First Refusal’

It was French neoclassical architect, Jean Laurent Legeay who said “In politics, as in business, you must always ask for thirty pieces of silver even though you have more than enough”. Now whether this statement more aptly defines ‘greed’ than it does politics, is an entirely different matter. Anti-Tinubus have always asked, -often self-righteously- ‘What does Tinubu want?’

Or often they have used the more indictive, pidginised version of it: ‘Wetin Tinubu want sef?’ If you think that anti-Tinubus are merely using an irritably rhetorical piece of ‘question’ to make a wickedly unsolicited piece of ‘revelation’, you are right. Because what they are alleging by that question is that Tinubu is asking for ‘thirty pieces silver’ even though Tinubu has more than enough already.

But again ‘Wetin Tinubu want sef?’ may also insinuate the claim that the Jagaban is demanding for more than his ‘fair share’ of the ‘legitimate spoils of politics’. As if our non-provident brand of ‘politics’ panders only to the definitional essence of ‘who gets what, when and how’ among stakeholders, and not about ‘what gets to be done, where and when?’ among needy folks and their neglected communities.

But maybe these anti-Tinubus are right after all; we should ask especially the Jagaban to tell us ‘how much silver he wants again after the much silver he has already taken? Because even I do not know what Tinubu has already taken? Notwithstanding that the claim everywhere is that Tinubu has been recompensed in due measure. It is the reason that many are saying he should quit playing Oliver Twist and ‘let us hear word!’

Tinubu’s recommendation

But if, contrary to popular opinion even the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was not Tinubu’s nominee; if , in spite of earlier claims to the contrary, Fashola and Fayemi got into Buhari’s Cabinet on their own self recognition and not by Tinubu’s recommendation; if it is also true, as it had been touted before that none of the Ministers from the South West were nominated by Tinubu, the question then to ask is not ‘Wetin Tinubu want sef?’ but rather ‘Wetin dem give Tinubu sef?’

Because if in our political calculus, it is a ‘given’ that any who renders a ‘measure’ of ‘service’ in aid of his Party’s victory, has a right to draw an equal ‘measure’ of ‘reward’, then to claim that Tinubu has already gotten his due desert is to suggest that what has been rendered to Tinubu equals the ‘measure’ of service Tinubu has rendered to the Party. It also to suggest that all beneficiaries of the APC victory from the President himself to the Senate President, Speaker, Governors, ministers and all other elected or appointed party members, are where they are today strictly in recompense of their individual contributions to the victory of the Party.

By the way, many non-political actors too there are –ranging from statesmen, leaders of thought, traditional rulers and such other spiritual or temporal influence peddlers- who, without any contribution to the Party’s victory, or maybe even in spite of their rejection of the Party, have also recommended high ranking nominees for appointment. And which goes to prove that although it may be theoretically true that politics is about ‘who gets what?’ from the common purse, it is not necessarily about ‘who has given what’ to the common political struggle.

Lest we forget, Tinubu is not just ‘one of’ the ‘benefactors’ of the APC. In fact, in the measure of contribution to the Party, he alone stands in a class all by himself. Many -including some of the high ranking beneficiaries of the APC victory- were neither there during the delicate pre-natal challenges of the formation of the APC; nor were they there at the trying ante-natal stages of uncertain expectation; nor were they around to share in the excruciating pangs of the very labour that occasioned the eventual birth of APC. Most of the beneficiaries of the APC victory had come as desperate suitors only after the beautiful lassie had been nourished to what the Hausas would say ‘son kowa, qin wanda ya rasa’-anyone’s fair game.

But Tinubu was not just the father of it all; nor was he merely the revolution’s first rag-tag foot soldier; Tinubu was in fact the lone political actor –long even before the declaration of action- who had laid both the geo-political and the ideological infrastructure for the effective expression of the very ‘idea’ that had given birth to the revolution. Whereas his 8-years as Governor of Lagos State provided the ideological basis for a renaissance of progressive-governance, his one-man-army’s legal battle against the reactionary forces of electoral gerrymandering which re-claimed the South West, provided the geo-political launch-pad required for a pan-Nigerian initiative to liberate the country.

If the measure of what members had contributed to the Party’s victory is the measure of what they may take from the Party, most of those occupying elective or appointive offices today will not merit election as counselors or appointment as S.A.s to a Local Government Chairman. By the same token if the measure of what members had contributed to the Party’s victory is the measure of what they may take from the Party, Tinubu alone qualifies for a ‘blank cheque’ to draw to his heart’s content. A blank cheque is the closest I can get to conjuring metaphoric value to Tinubu’s invaluable contribution not just to APC’s victory but to saving Nigeria’s democracy.

Those who ask ‘what does Tinubu want?’ cannot claim not to know that the Jagaban has always wanted this: namely to bring the progressives into power, who in turn should bring about ‘good governance’. We have always sat back lamely and often praised notorious political godfathers imposing on us their surrogate political godsons for their own personal aggrandizement , but whenever politicians with altruistic motive attempt in any way to re-order our affairs, in a chorus we all yell and scream ‘John Wayne rides again!’

If Tinubu wanted to influence the election of NASS leadership so he could control the legislature –as they had alleged, the question will then arise ‘to what end would he have desired to do that’? Was it to subvert the government that he has dedicated the greater part of his political life to bring about? Or was it to do so in aid of it? Well then although Tinubu did not succeed in controlling the legislature, nonetheless the legislature has still fallen into the grip of two upstarts who have still managed to find their way to pull the trigger on us all. if we do not deal with a meddlesome Tinubu, we’ll have to deal with the duo of Saraki and Dogara.

And what did Lagos State lose or what did democracy in that State suffer, merely because out-going Governor Tinubu had influenced the election of his successor Fashola? Or that he played an active part in the election of Ambode, Fashola’s successor? If Tinubu has the democratic ‘Midas touch’ and can be trusted to put square and round pegs into their respective holes, what in the hell is wrong with that? Consensus, as they say, is not the enemy of democracy.

Tinubu has earned a democratic ‘right of first refusal’ and can be consulted not only on all key appointments of government but on all crucial matters of governance. Tinubu has earned and should be accorded the respect that his status deserves –at least if not in deference to his epic role as the pathfinder to the revolution, then maybe in recognition of his Leadership of the Party.

Am I suggesting that Tinubu is without sin? No! But so is no Nigerian politician, including Buhari, not without sin. But should we give up on leadership because there are no angels in our midst to lead our affairs? No! If it took men laden with the yoke of sin to bring us to this rot, it can also take men who had fallen from the yoke of sin and have risen up again, to partake in the rescue mission.

Political revolution

Tinubu has fathered a peaceful political revolution in Nigeria which has not only moved our democracy beyond a notch by its shattering of the myth of the invincibility of incumbency, but it has saved the nation from the malignance of a ruinous era of political impunity which was bent on balkanizing our country.

Political things in APC are fast getting out of hand; President Buhari needs to look to the Party even as he worries about the health of the economy. To be forewarned is to be forearmed!The Hausas say ‘Ba ‘a neman kare ranar farauta’ –‘You do not wait until the day of hunt, to search for your dog of hunt’

Postscript: The following is an excerpt from a previous piece ‘Tinubu and parable of the First Supper ‘.

“…..Asiwaju’ ‘The Leader’ is now simply Tinubu ‘The meddlesome interloper’! He is as they now claim ‘unnecessarily interfering with our democratic processes’ and must thus be cut to size. But did they not invest Tinubu with all the sobriquets and appellations of a ‘Leader’? Did they not say that he was the courageous ‘Jagaban’; the one who led from the front? And did Tinubu not lead them from the front? Selflessly giving his time, his energy and his resources? Did he not put his life on the line of a hysterically dangerous incumbency (Jonathan’s) desperately angling to keep power by hook or crook?

Did we not see –during the struggle to form the APC- the singular efforts of one man (Tinubu) who had corralled several ideological eggs into one political embryo, so as to give life to a new all-embracing political Party around which both progressives and even repentant fascists could congregate to make practicable what was thought well-nigh impossible, namely the enacting of the parting of the political Red Sea to say to a behemoth PDP ‘let my people go!’

We thought that we saw Tinubu walk the miles from the North West to the North East; from North Central to the South East and from the South West to the South-South to build strong bridges of geo-ethnic and geo-political consensus; planning and strategizing to form alliances, to create leagues of political amity and to search out for men and women of weight and of mettle; political and non-political actors with diverse gifts and varying competences, to man the many points of the opposition’s political rudder.

Successful merger

These efforts were rewarded with successes in the creation of the first ever successful merger, the formation of the first ever peoples Party, the conduct of one of the most transparent Party Primaries, the emergence of the most popular presidential candidate, the running of the most competitive Presidential electioneering campaigns, and the first ever defeat of incumbency by an opposition party in one of the most transparent Presidential elections.

But now that the political dinner table is set, surrounded, unfortunately, by opportunistic political vultures and hyenas, they are telling us that although Tinubu is an excellent political cook, he is not as good in the culinary art of dishing. That (he) must stay away from the Party’s First Political Supper! In fact, like Caesar they accused the Asiwaju of ambition. The same Tinubu who had publicly announced he declined a Buhari offer for Vice President.

Tinubu does not deserve this kind of treatment. The Asiwaju as the Party Leader and the Party are the veritable taproots of Mr. President. If they who care about Mr. President’s success are left at the mercy of the Party’s vultures and hyenas, sooner or later the shrub of the Presidency and its blooming foliage will feel the wilt. It is both morally and politically expedient that Buhari steps in to restore rank discipline and to assure the Asiwaju and the Party hierarchy he has their back’; just like they, through thick and thin, have always had Mr. President’s back.

Tinubu Nominated Osinbajo As Buhari’s Running Mate – Tunji Bello

Secretary to Lagos State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello, on Thursday, disagreed with the author of President Muhammadu Buhar’s biography, John Paden, on his account of how Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, emerged as Buhari’s running mate.

Bello said the process of Osinbajo’s nomination started immediately after Buhari emerged as the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate at the party National Convention held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, on December 11, 2014.

In a statement he signed, Bello affirmed that APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, nominated Osinbajo for the position.

Paden had stated that Buhari chose Osinbajo despite much pressure from Tinubu against such.

Bello’s statement recalled how Tinubu summoned a meeting to decide who would be Buhari’s running mate the morning after the President emerged the APC candidate.

Bello named the party chieftains in attendance to include former APC National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, former Lagos Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Dele Alake, Osinbajo and a renowned pastor.

He said: “I do not know how the author came about his story, but he totally got it wrong because what he wrote basically is based on falsehood that reeks of deliberate misinformation and mischief.

“I received a phone call from Asiwaju to see him the morning after Buhari emerged the APC candidate.

“On my way to his house, I discovered that a car at a reasonable distance was that of former Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Dele Alake, who was, ostensibly, heading towards Asiwaju’s house in Ikoyi.

“Asiwaju must have called him too for that task that could be explained underneath. As soon as we arrived, Asiwaju quickly asked us to join him in his car as we headed to a Guest House. At the Guest House, former APC Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, Osinbajo and one renowned pastor joined us.

“At the meeting, Asiwaju related to us the urgent need to pick a vice presidential candidate for the APC. He advised that we immediately discard the idea of his being nominated for the vice-presidential slot as it was no longer possible to pick a Muslim-Muslim ticket.

“This, he reasoned, made sense if indeed we were to be realistic in our bid to defeat President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 election. He reasoned that what was important and imperative at that time was to look for a good Christian nominee to complement President Mohammadu Buhari.”

Oyegun Plays Down Talks Of Rift With Tinubu

The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, John Oyegun, has reacted to the call by a former Lagos governor and a leader of the party, Ahmed Tinubu, that he should resign.
Mr. Oyegun said the national chairman of a party cannot be removed on the pages of newspapers.
He said Mr. Tinubu’s letter accusing him of highhandedness and being a mole in the party, was a “bit too harsh”, but said the two politicians merely had a “difference of opinion”.
Mr. Tinubu came down hard on Mr. Oyegun in a lengthy statement last week, accusing the party chairman of betrayal and fraud.
“Evidently, some errant members believe promises and vows are mere words to be easily spoken and more easily broken.
“Chairman John Oyegun has breached these good pledges in a most overt and brazen display,” Mr. Tinubu said. “In doing so, Oyegun has dealt a heavy blow to the very party he professes to lead. It is an awful parent who suffocates his own child for the sake of a few naira.”
Mr. Oyegun responded on Tuesday at the presidential villa after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The method of getting rid of a national chairman if that is what I will call it, are spelt out in the constitution. They don’t take place on the pages of newspapers,” Mr. Oyegun told journalists.

He however insisted that there was no rift with Mr. Tinubu.
“We have differences of opinion, differences of perception and I think that is normal. Yes, I agree that the nature of the statement was a bit harsh,” he said.
Asked whether the party would reverse its decision on the Ondo election primaries, since it was causing crisis in the party, Mr. Oyegun said, “It is only INEC that can make U-turn on Ondo”.
Mr. Tinubu had faulted Mr. Oyegun’s refusal to heed the recommendation of the party’s panel to cancel the Ondo primary that produced Rotimi Akeredolu as the party’s candidate.
He called for Mr. Odigie-Oyegun’s resignation.
Mr. Odigie-Oyegun, who refused to go into details of what happened in the Ondo primary, told journalists that the report was with the Jigawa State Governor, Badaru Abubakar, the chairman of the primaries committee.
The two party leaders had met on Monday at President Muhammadu Buhari’s book launch in Abuja. It was their first meeting since Mr. Tinubu issued the statement on Mr. Oyegun.
On allegations that he sponsored some youth who protested at the party’s headquarters against the alleged highhandedness of Mr. Tinubu, the APC national chairman said, “God forbid, anybody who knows me knows that that is not my style. I’m equally shocked and I’m going to look into it and find out why and who is behind it”.
Asked if the handshake and pleasantries shared with Mr. Tinubu at Buhari’s book launch were genuine, he replied, “Do they know how far back our association goes? Do they know that we were in the trenches together in the NADECO days? Why can’t people who have mutual respect for each other have different opinions? All we had was difference of opinions, yes it was expressed a bit harshly but that doesn’t remove the basic fact that we have worked together for a very long time”.

Time To Rally Round Tinubu, By Femi Aribisala

Instead of investing in the future of Nigeria, the only real investment taking place now is towards the hegemonic control of the country by a small segment of the population for the foreseeable future.

Let me re-introduce myself in case you have forgotten. I have been an implacable critic of the politics of Bola Tinubu. Among others, I have written articles against Tinubu entitled: “What Does Tinubu Want?” “Time to Get Rid of Tinubu’s Cronies”; “Time to Disgrace the South-West Godfather”; and “Don’t Cry for Bola Tinubu.” I stand by every one of those articles, even though the warnings I gave in them went largely ignored.

Although many Tinubu supporters don’t seem to realise this, my opposition to Tinubu was not personal. My opposition was based on the grounds that Tinubu’s politics was shortsighted. In that regard, my position has been proved right. The strategic political objectives of Tinubu were unattainable and have been not been attained.

In the first place, Tinubu’s recent politics were designed to make him a key player at the national level, as he has been at the regional level. He really wanted to become the vice-president of Nigeria. This has proved unattainable, and we warned him about that. Most of his so-called friends at the national level are fair-weather friends. They never really liked him and were afraid of him. Under no circumstances would they allow him to duplicate his stranglehold on South-West politics outside the South-West.

The reality of Tinubu’s politics in Nigeria is that he can be a king-maker but will not be allowed to be king. The best Tinubu has been able to achieve has been to nominate a vice-president who, to all intents and purposes, is not even a major power-broker in government. As vice-president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has only succeeded in being a fall-guy; for the collapse of the naira and for the failure to date of the 2016 budget.

In the second place, the strategic design of Tinubu’s politics was to make him a power behind the throne at the national level. This objective has also proved to be a pie-in-the-sky. Since becoming president, Buhari has largely ignored Tinubu’s counsels. Not a single Tinubu nominee became a minister in the president’s cabinet. Those who made it from the South-West were deliberately the people he did not want.

Tinubu nominees failed to make the position of Senate president or Speaker of the House of Representatives. The APC has also failed to make Tinubu Chairman of its Board of Trustees. To date, Tinubu has no statutory post in the party he midwifed. The party chairman, thought to be a Tinubu man, has been bought over, so much so that Tinubu is now asking for his resignation; but to no effect.

The nullification or dilution of Bola Tinubu’s power in the South-West, at this juncture of Nigeria’s economic hopelessness, renders Nigeria at the mercy of Abuja’s incompetence for the foreseeable future. Since coming to power, President Buhari has been unapologetic about the Northernisation of the Nigerian government.

Having used Tinubu to win the election, he has been dumped like a used rag. It was because we anticipated this reversal of fortunes, that some of us were loud in warning Tinubu in the heady days of APC coalition-building. It was in that context that I later wrote my article saying: “Don’t Cry for Bola Tinubu” on the grounds that he deserved what happened to him. We warned that this would happen but he refused to listen.

But now times have changed. The bombastic change platform on which APC fought and won the election has failed to materialise. The change we are now facing is one far worse than anything hitherto experienced. It is absolutely incredible that, in spite of the grandiloquent promises made during the 2015 election campaign, the dollar is now exchanging for the naira on the parallel market at virtually 500 to 1. Like the naira, the Nigerian economy is in freefall, going from bad to worse.

But another change has also taken place and this one is political. It is finally apparent to Bola Tinubu that his friends in the APC are really not his friends at all. That is why he has now complained publicly and resigned as inconsequential “National Leader” of the party. Having used him to achieve their ends at the polls, his fair-weather APC friends have now indicated that they are not merely interested in dumping him, their plan is to decimate his ranks and render him powerless. They are now out to use their new-found vantage point to attack him in his hearth of the South-West and to split his coalition by sponsoring those in opposition to him and, if necessary, by rigging them into power at his expense.

Given this development, this is not the time to tell Tinubu “we told you so; we warned you but you did not listen.” This is not the time to say: “Don’t Cry for Bola Tinubu.” This is the time to cry for Tinubu. As a mater of fact, this is the time for all true progressives to rally round Bola Tinubu. The reason for this is simple.

Now that Tinubu has hopefully learnt his lesson, he should be more open to those of us who he thought were his enemies in the past but should now realise have always had his back. Tinubu should now be more amenable to wise counsel. Now that he has resigned from the honorific, but irrelevant, title of leader of the APC, he should start making plans to extricate himself from the APC altogether. At the very least, he should leave no one in doubt that he would not be taken for granted by leaving the door open for a realignment with a more agreeable coalition as the APC begins inevitably to unravel.

The nullification or dilution of Bola Tinubu’s power in the South-West, at this juncture of Nigeria’s economic hopelessness, renders Nigeria at the mercy of Abuja’s incompetence for the foreseeable future. Since coming to power, President Buhari has been unapologetic about the Northernisation of the Nigerian government. He has completely jettisoned any pretensions to the principles of federal character but has placed Northerners in every strategic sector of the government. This is part of the rationale behind the resurgence of pro-Biafra agitators, as well as the emergence of the Niger-Delta Avengers. In the process of consolidating the North, the agenda is now to decimate the South-West. This should not be allowed to happen.

My democratic instincts have always made me opposed to Tinubu’s status as the godfather of South-West politics. But under the present circumstances, I would rather have Tinubu as the godfather of South-West politics, than have Buhari as the godfather of South-West politics.

At the moment, Nigerian democracy has no opposition; which is why nobody is complaining about the disastrous collapse of the naira and the adverse economic climate. The government is even floating the idea of further increases in the price of petrol, and nobody is up in arms. The PDP is at war with itself, and the cynical anti-corruption campaign of the government has been used effectively to silence it. That is why the burgeoning attack on Bola Tinubu deserves a rallying response.

Progressive Nigerians should not allow anyone in these climes to make a fool of Bola Tinubu. We must help him to consolidate and even enhance his position. At strength, Buhari can only be a one-term president without Bola Tinubu. All Tinubu needs to do is to start making plans to form another alliance that links truly progressive Northerners with those of the South-West, South-East and South-South. The possibility of that happening should give him a new fillip. At the very least, it would put him back into reckoning, ensuring he can only be ignored at great cost.

Without Tinubu, Buhari would not be the president of Nigeria today. Buhari’s wife, Aisha, acknowledged as much after the 2015 election. Without Tinubu, Buhari would not have secured the presidential ticket of the APC. Without Tinubu, Buhari would not have had the semblance of widespread national acceptability. Without Tinubu, Buhari would not have had the funds to mount a national campaign. Without Tinubu, Buhari only obtained 370,000 votes from the entire Southern Nigeria in the 2011 election. Without Tinubu, Buhari has no political future; unless the unproductive hegemonists currently ranged against Tinubu succeed in turning him into a toothless bulldog.

Therefore, I insist, this must not be allowed to happen. This is the time for all truly progressive people, North and South; East and West to rally to Tinubu’s support. Let us forget the past; even the immediate past. In politics, there are no permanent enemies and no permanent friends. Let us be united in one purpose; the unity of Nigeria is paramount. Nigeria should not be conceded to hegemonists. It is now abundantly clear that those that have clamoured for power for long and have now attained it have no clue what to do with it; other than to put their kinsmen and family members in key positions, while the nation’s economy has gone to the dogs.

We must not be in any doubt as to what is going on now. Instead of investing in the future of Nigeria, the only real investment taking place now is towards the hegemonic control of the country by a small segment of the population for the foreseeable future. This is not only anti-democratic; it is anti-Nigeria. It must be resisted politically with wisdom and clear-sightedness. It must be resisted adroitly by the formation of a new, truly national non-sectarian coalition that stretches across the Niger. In this design, Bola Tinubu would be invaluable once again as one of its principal architects.

Equally important, the South-West must learn from the past when Akintola was used to divide it from Awolowo. That kind of history must not be allowed to repeat itself. From my point of view, the bottom line is as follows. My democratic instincts have always made me opposed to Tinubu’s status as the godfather of South-West politics. But under the present circumstances, I would rather have Tinubu as the godfather of South-West politics, than have Buhari as the godfather of South-West politics. To the extent that a Tinubu can never be the godfather of North-West politics, then Buhari must never be the godfather of South-West politics.

The Naira Has Gone Bananas
I walked into Dream Plaza, a supermarket in Victoria Island, Lagos recently and a Lebanese man handling the pharmacy beckoned to me. He wanted to know what is going on in Nigeria. I was puzzled because the man lives in Nigeria. Why is he asking me? What do I know that he does not?

He went further. “Do you know,” he asked, “that this morning the naira exchange-rate for the dollar is now 492?” I did not know and was shocked to hear this. “What are you going to do about it?” he asked. What can I do? I thought. He went on: “Why are Nigerians not saying anything?” “Why is there no reaction?” “Why is everybody keeping quiet?”

It is abundantly clear that those currently charged with the handling of the Nigerian economy are clearly out of their depths.

I did not know what to tell him. Neither did I know what to do. But I knew the situation is already untenable. How low, in fact, is the naira going to fall? Are we just going to keep watching until Nigeria becomes another Zimbabwe or another Venezuela? This situation has gone far beyond partisan politics. It is abundantly clear that those currently charged with the handling of the Nigerian economy are clearly out of their depths.

Now is the time for all good men to stand up in defense of Nigeria. This is the time for a government of national unity. We cannot just keep silent and allow Nigeria to go to the dogs.

Tinubu Told Us To Join APC – Bola Ilori

A former chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State, Hon. Bola Ilori has said the National leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was the one who instructed them to join the Alliance for Democracy.
According to Ilori, Tinubu’s decision was taken following the way he was treated on the party’s governorship primary election which was upheld on September 3, by the national executive committee members, led by Chief John Oyegun.

It will be recalled that Tinubu had been reportedly supporting one of the aspirants, Mr. Segun Abraham to become the party’s candidate, ahead of the November 26, gubernatorial election in Ondo State.

But, his anointed aspirant came second with 635 votes, while Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, was declared winner with 669 votes.

Ilori, who is a stunched supporter of another aspirant, Chief Olusola Oke was said to have raised alarm over alleged padding of the delegates’ list.

But their action failed as the APC NWC threw out the report of the Appeal panel on the ground that the committee did a shady job.

However, Oke has defected to AD and is expected to fly the flag of the party in the coming poll.

Ilori, who spoke on TVC political programme said ”I don’t know APC before; it was Asiwaju Tinubu that said we should move to APC and we did.

“He has said AD is the option now; even If he said AA we won’t look back before we move to the party.

“All they are doing in the National headquarters of the party is Anti-Tinubu policies; not in Ondo alone but also in Kogi, Edo, Ogun and other parts of the country.

“Let Oyegun resign first and the problem of the party will be drastically reduced.

“Some people said it is because I want to be deputy governor at all cost. No! No! that is not true, we are fighting for what is not right.

“The younger generation of the party is bitter with what is happening in the party, we don’t have option than to move out.

“Some people are using president Buhari’s name to do the evil but I don’t know why the President kept silent.

“Someone who keeps silent in a situation like this, it is either the person is a coward or confused.”

Buhari, A True Democrat – Tinubu

The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on Monday described President Muhammadu Buhari as a true democrat.

He spoke in Abuja during the public presentation of a book titled: ‘Muhammadu Buhari – The Challenges of Leadership in Nigeria.’

Tinubu, who was one of the reviewers of the book, also said Buhari was a disciplined and focused person right from his youthful days till the present time.

Stressing that the President was in haste to bring changes as a young leader, he said Buhari as older leader is now slow and steady.

Other leaders including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon and former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell also eulogized Buhari at the occasion.

Tinubu said: “This authorized biography of Nigeria’s Leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, attempts a broad characterization of the different stages of his life and professional career.

“Essentially, the book explores how his professional career, his personal life and prior experiences in government shaped and prepared him for the momentous assignment he now has.

“From the book’s pages, we see a man who has lived his life on assignments that always intersected with vital moments in the nation’s history. He was a man on assignment, when, in the military, he served bravely in a civil war to keep Nigeria united.

“He was on national assignment when he became military head of state in a well-intentioned effort to straighten things out, and set Nigeria on a better path.

“When he ventured into politics and competed for the Presidency, culminating in his 2015 election victory, he was still on assignment, showing that there was no other way for this nation to go but the way of democracy, no matter how difficult the path may be.

“Now, as sitting President, he is on an assignment, against time, to undo the wrongs of nearly two decades of bad governance.

“Such is the life of this man. Always in the public eye, doing things in his different, disciplined and Spartan way. From this compelling narrative, neatly demarcated into three parts and 24 chapters, the reader is able to glean the quintessential Buhari.”

Tinubu Reveals How Osinbajo Emerged As Buhari’s Running Mate

National leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, on Monday revealed how the party selected Prof. Yemi Osinbajo as running mate to President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 general.

Tinubu made the revelation, in Abuja during the presentation/launch of a book, “Muhammadu Buhari: The Challenges of Leadership in Nigeria”, authored by a professor of International Studies, John Paden.

Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State, said: “There was the issue of selecting Buhari’s running mate. After a careful study and discussion, it was agreed that we should field a religiously balanced ticket given the sensitivity of the moment.

“Based upon this conclusion, the name of a renowned professor, Yemi Osinbajo, a professor of law and former Lagos State Attorney-General during my tenure as governor was proposed and accepted as the running mate.

“Osinbajo was also a pastor in the largest church in the entire country and this would answer those who had wrongfully tried to paint and present Muhammadu Buhari as intolerant religiously.

“From this event, you can see a portrait of a president as a democrat more adept than many would think,” Tinubu, who is a reviewer of the book said.

Osinbajo, on Sunday, said he believes God has a hand in Nigeria, noting that without asking for any position, he was made the vice-president.
He spoke during a service at the Olive Tree Parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Lagos.

Independence Celebrations: Time To Rework Our Political And Economic Foundations – Tinubu

National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has described the 56th independence anniversary of the nation as an opportunity to reflect on ways to rework and strengthen the nation’s political, social and economic foundations.

In a statement issued by his media office in Lagos yesterday, Tinubu urged Nigerians to support the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, describing the current economic situation in the country as a necessary rite of passage for any nation desirous of greatness.

He said although the nation is not yet where it ought to be at this point in her life, it has witnessed appreciable progress in her 56 years of independence.

The statement reads in part: “Nigeria’s political, social and economic foundations need to be reworked and strengthened.

“Our institutions are not functional enough to deliver on the goals for which they were set up.

“This independence anniversary therefore offers us another opportunity at reflections.

“But beyond that, it demands from us all the sacrifice needed for nation-building and re-commitment to the vision of our nationalists who saw the greatness in this country and worked to advance it.

“The times are tough, no doubt. The reasons are not far-fetched.

“However, the journey to recovery has begun in earnest and I enjoin you all to support the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration in this journey.

“I ask you all to embark and stay on this journey with us so that we can build up our institutions and our country and indeed our lives again.

“I congratulate all Nigerians and welcome you all to a new and great possibility.”

Atiku Backs Tinubu, Chides Oyegun Over Handling Of Ondo Primaries

A former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has intervened in the altercation between the national chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and a national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, charging leaders of the party to promote the rule of law and due process in the conduct of its affairs.

In a statement issued by his Media Office in Abuja on Wednesday, Atiku, who is one of the national leaders of the APC, asserted that “you cannot break your own rules without creating problems”, insisting that the national leadership of the party must live by the rules of internal democracy and respect for democratic consensus.

He spoke against the backdrop of the festering crisis trailing the conduct of the APC gubernatorial primary in Ondo state, and the subsequent submission of the name of Rotimi Akeredolu to INEC as the APC candidate for the forthcoming election in Ondo.

Tinubu’s rumoured anointed candidate for the election, Olusegun Abraham, had opposed the emergence of Akeredolu as candidate, expressing disappointment with Oyegun for allegedly overruling the initial decision of the NWC which ordered the conduct of a fresh primary.

On Sunday, Tinubu demanded the resignation of Odigie-Oyegun , accusing him of favouring an aspirant in the gubernatorial primaries in Ondo State and forcing his choice through using a sleight of hand.

He also stated that the national chairman was perpetrating injustice, said the development showed that there was an evil and regressive force within the APC using Oyegun to derail the party’s democratic and progressive tenets.

Reacting to this development, the former Vice President charged “the APC on the promotion of rule of law and due process in the conduct of its affairs noting that they are germane to the unity and stability of the party.”

He stated that “it is imperative for the national leadership of the party to live by the rules of internal democracy and respect for democratic consensus”, warning that “you cannot break your own rules without creating problems.”

While advising Oyegun to urgently retrace his steps in order to build confidence among aggrieved members, Atiku urged aggrieved members of the APC in the Ondo election “to exercise restraint in seeking redress to the crisis, while also urging the leadership of the party to retrace its steps and do the needful to restore confidence among the conflicting parties in the state for the overall benefit of the ruling party”.

He said the party is supposed to be an impartial entity in the arbitration of crisis among its members in any given election, arguing that “since the APC found veritable reasons to review the outcome of the gubernatorial primary election it conducted in Ondo State, and was able to establish valid grounds to cancel that election and call for a fresh one, the decision to deviate from its own resolution is a negation of due process and an unfashionable hollow in democratic best practices.

“It was wrong for the APC to have set aside a resolution it had reached aimed at resolving the crisis in our party in Ondo State. It is a recipe for acrimony and division,” he stated.

The APC bigwig warned that glossing over such a problem could only worsen the situation, advising the leadership of the party to do a soul-searching and address the issues at stake.

He maintained that the party leadership should always be guided by respect for the rules, fairness, equity, neutrality and respect for democratic consensus, stressing that such were germane to the ruling party’s unity and stability.

Lagos Lawmaker Backs Tinubu, Calls On Oyegun To Resign

The member representing Mushin 11 Federal Constituency of Lagos State on the platform of ‎the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bolaji Yusuf Ayinla has backed the recent call by the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu that the national chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun should resign.
Tinubu had accused the APC chairman of betraying the trust on him.

Reacting to Tinubu’s statement, Ayinla said Oyegun was not qualified to lead the ruling party.

According to him, “Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu will not make a decision without verifying what he is saying. This is a man that has struggled and suffered to build this party and he has tried all his possible best, with his health, his life, he has put everything that needs to be put for the development of the party. Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

“And somebody will now come overnight, blackmailing the party, running down the party under the false pretence that he is steering the ship of the party. What he has done is very good. It is good for the APC, it is good for Nigerians.

“It is always good, let people know where you belong to. If you are in PDP, let people know, if you in APC, let people know. You can’t be fooling yourself and be thinking that you are fooling all the nation, it shouldn’t be.

“Let the country know where you genuinely belong. We want a clean and clear person as a chairman who will steer the ship of the party. Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu has found out, he has checked, he has been informed, he has seen what transpired in the Ondo APC governorship primaries.

“This is a man that has helped many people and developing Nigeria to the level that we are now. We cannot afford to get somebody who is not sincere to lead Nigeria, to lead APC. I am in total support of Ahmed Bola Tinunbu.

“I am in support of the call for the resignation of the national chairman. If you are a leader of an organisation, and people working under you are not working genuinely, sincerely, if you tell them to resign, why not if not for transparency, for honesty, for sincerity, that is what he said, that is why I am supporting him.”