The Tinubu Factor in Yoruba and Nigerian Affairs By Tunji Olaopa

An article like this necessarily must commence with a caveat. There is a usual angst when it comes to writing about public figures, and especially when these figures are politicians who are caught in the eye of the storm. If there is any political figure whose reputation has always hung in the balance, it is Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. There is therefore the likely expectation that one would be expected to toe the line of the regular Tinubu-bashing that has become the pastime of political commentators in Nigeria. My commentary will be more reclamatory than condemnatory. The leadership problematic in Nigeria requires that we pay adequate attention to rescuing what is given to us in terms of leaders and those who can be forced to achieve what is needed for the task of nation building. And all this becomes imperative despite their human frailty.

Tinubu’s significance straddles not only Yoruba affairs but also the postcolonial fate of Nigeria. He began as an activist-politician whose democratic audacity, together with the tenacious agitation of NADECO, caught the attention and hearts of Nigerians at the height of the aborted June 12 democratic saga in Nigeria. The significance of June 12, in my reckoning, goes beyond the truncation of the electoral victory of Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola. On the contrary, and like almost every political issue in Nigeria, it goes to the very heart of Nigerian national integration which lies at the heart of the national project. It was a crisis that almost consumed the soul of Nigeria. Its reverberation is still at the heart of party politics in Nigeria and the diversity of the political anomalies that ails us. It stands to reason therefore that those who fought the war of liberation, as it were, deserves a trajectory analysis that attempts to cumulate their contribution to the larger issue of the salvaging of the Nigerian nation.

Tinubu is no hero. On the contrary, he is a politician who cannot be understood within the regular understanding of politicking in Nigeria. I concede that he is a master of political gambit which is required if anyone ever hopes to survive the complex minefields of political intrigues that characterize Nigeria’s realpolitik. But it seems to me that calling Tinubu a political realist is the most consummate compliment one can ever hope to give him. And this is all the more so within the context of the complex relationship that links the governance of the Yoruba with the future of Nigeria. Whether we like it or not, the existence of the Yoruba nation, as well as any other nation within the Nigerian plural context of nationhood, is significant for the survival of Nigeria as we want it to be. If this is correct, then it stands to reason that we need a concept of leadership that has the capacity to hold Nigeria together in its plurality.

Asiwaju Tinubu is one leader out of many who has been involved in the turbulence of making Nigeria work. He is unique not only because, like other politicians, he is concerned with the dynamics of power and power play. On the contrary, Tinubu’s political gambit is usually tied in with the political fate of the Southwest within the overall development of Nigeria. Let us begin with the successful governance story of Lagos State. I suspect that any attempt at narrating the turning point of the governance story that transformed Lagos would have to factor the Tinubu governorship years into the Lagos governance history. But that is not imaginative in the sense that the development dynamics of Nigeria in itself requires sustainability if any governance creativity of one governor is to have any positive and continuing effects on the lives of the citizens of any state. Thus, Tinubu did not just end his tenure as governor and then retired to savour his wealth and goodwill. His political gambit was to further that legacy of good governance through a calculated political engineering that brought in Babatunde Raji Fashola, and then recently Governor Akinwunmi Ambode. If godfathers exist to perpetuate good governance, then I am for Tinubu as a godfather. Lagos State therefore play host to a significant governance story which I have argued should be replicated throughout the Southwest as a critical response to the challenges of restructuring and anomalous fiscal federalism in Nigeria.

However, the Tinubu factor in politics is not just a Southwest brand alone. It is to his credit that a credible opposition could be mustered to dislodge a sit-tight political party with a slogan of ruling Nigeria for many years rather than empowering millions of poverty-stricken Nigerians who voted the party into power. Does this political clout for ideological politics in the midst of a pandemic of insane self-aggrandizement count for anything when considering the future of Nigeria? I have always been a student of leadership dynamics not only within the organizational framework or as a managerial necessity. Chinua Achebe’s lamentation about the absence of leadership in Nigeria strikes a deep core in me. Leadership is the most cogent factor in any reform effort either at the organisational or national level. However, the search for this reform factor must be as realistic as the context within which the search is taking place. It will be an irresponsible expectation to think that Nigeria can ever throw up a saint or savior without sin who will take us to the Promise Land.

The fundamental question for me is: What can be done with or gained from Tinubu’s political capital as a significant dynamics come 2019? The type of political capital Nigeria requires for a significant national reform is definitely not one that deploys charisma for the purpose of dumb electoral victory. On the contrary, there is the need for an ideological arrowhead that could serve as the rallying point for a progressive recalibration of politics around which we can redefine democratic governance in Nigeria. With his Lagos governance success, Asiwaju Tinubu displays many political virtues that (a) speaks to the fact that he is his own person; and (b) ideology matters in good governance.

A leader that moves with the tides of political maneuvers is definitely one without a backbone required to move ideas to practice. I see this clearly in Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s political character. Yet he became a toast of not only the Southwest but of the North. Tinubu himself is far from a politician that is subject to the self-interested will of others. And leadership, for me, is first and foremost, self-evident will power. More significantly, leadership requires an ideological fuel that ought to become the source of ideas and ideals that can motivate policy conceptions and implementations.

Nigeria’s present season of anomie and the manifestation of obscene corruption reveal that ideology dies within the dense atmosphere of political greed. Is it possible to extricate Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu from the rubric of corrupt politicking? That is a question we must wait for time and chance to reveal. But it seems to me that there is more to the Tinubu factor than achieving a grim certainty that he is a corrupt politician. Of more interest is the need to delimit a sphere of progressive politics in Nigeria—the kind of thinking that led to the evolution of Alliance for Democracy and later the APC—that will accommodate all democratic and patriotic minded politicians and patriots around the possibility of making Nigeria a democratically viable and developed country. Thus, can Nigerians see the forest for the trees? Is it not time for us to commence reclamation of those who possess the political wherewithal to lead a silent revolution of leadership in Nigeria? Can Tinubu’s ethnic commitment be excavated into a national development dynamic? In what sense can politicians and national figures like Tinubu and OBJ become the central discursive point in a leadership theory in Nigeria which speaks to a pragmatic understanding of politics as determined by flawed characters?
With Tinubu, we have an opportunity to commence an articulation of a Nigerian leadership theory that commences from where Nigeria is at the moment and then moves on to what possible progress we can achieve with what we have in terms of people and capitals. “Leadership,” Robin Sharma tells us, “is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence and inspiration. Impact involves getting results, influence is about spreading the passion you have for your work…” If we can get beyond the present disillusionment we now have with the crop of politicians who raid our votes and destroy the commonwealth, we may actually begin to find a means of rethinking a framework of political leadership which, however flawed it may be, provides the most available juncture from which we can move forward as a nation. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, I argue, provides a good starting point in that reflection.

Dr. Olaopa is executive vice chairman, Ibadan School of Government & Public Policy (ISGPP).

Leave Buhari Alone, Tinubu Slams Critics

A former governor of Lagos State and stalwart of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has charged critics of the Buhari administration to back off, warning that speculations about the president’s health were distractions.

In statement titled: “Stop the hoopla over Buhari’s health, allow the president to do his job as he deems fit”, Tinubu said “Nigeria is a place of numerous challenges and the home of vast human potentials. Our greatest challenge has always been how to best direct our vast potentials so that we overcome the challenges that plague us.

“This cardinal challenge is why the APC was formed and why the party presented then General Muhammadu Buhari as its standard bearer. The people rightly chose him as their president, believing he was the best person to make Nigeria into a better nation.

“His electoral victory was historic. More importantly, like most Nigerians, I believed his presidency represented a historic mission to right many of our nation’s wrongs. I still believe so.

“The previous administration treated Boko Haram softly, appearing to view the terrorists as part of their political equation rather than a lethal threat to national security. President Buhari has gone after Boko Haram without condition and without fear. He has pushed them back, saving lives and giving northern Nigeria a chance to breathe again the air of peace and normalcy.

“My recent visit to Borno State to inaugurate projects opened my eyes to the progress President Buhari has made in the anti-terror war. An enabling environment has been created for Governor Kashim Shettima who has taken advantage of the peaceful space to initiate laudable projects, such as the provision of housing for and rehabilitation of Boko Haram victims.

“The previous administration treated corruption as its co-tenant in office. President Buhari has fought it with tenacity, equal to that with which he has confronted Boko Haram.”

Tinubu: Dangote an Inspiration to Many

A Former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on Sunday congratulated astute businessman and philanthropist, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, on his 60th birthday, describing him as an inspiration to many people.

In a congratulatory message, Tinubu commended the business mogul for his boldness and bravery in taking the business risks, which he said have now paid off.

The All Progressives National Congress (APC) national leader said Dangote has broken all business barriers and had helped to industrialise Africa, with the operations of his Dangote Group in 17 African countries and beyond.

”Dear Alhaji Dangote, my family and I congratulate you on your 60th birthday coming up tomorrow, April 10.

“Your life has been an inspiration to many. From a lowly background, you rose to the top by hard work and perseverance.

”You have shown that with resilience, we can always convert risks and challenges to opportunities.

”Today, you are that African man that has broken all barriers. With operations in over 17 African countries including Nigeria, the awesome Dangote Group you established is helping to industrialise Africa.

”You have made people and made lives a lot better through the employment opportunities you have created and your other humanitarian activities.

“I wish you many more years in life. I pray that Allah grants all you need to continue to impact the lives of many more people, ” he said.

Mischief Makers Trying To Use My Name To Stir Opposition In The Senate- Tinubu

Bola Tinubu, national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), says mischief makers are trying to use his name to stir opposition in the senate.

In a statement issued on his behalf by Tunde Rahman, his media aide, Tinubu denied reports of him instigating the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members of the senate.

Rahman said Tinubu would never engage in mudslinging, rumour mongering or personal attacks.

He said the APC national leader had special affection for the senate, and that he would not do anything to undermine the institution.

“We are usually not in the position of agreement with PDP members. But on this rare occasion, we have no contention with them.  Asiwaju Tinubu is a former senator. He has a special affection for the senate as an institution,” he said

“It is not within him to belittle the institution or members of that institution who happen to be in the opposing political party.

“Moreover, his brand of politics does not lend itself to engaging in wanton character and personal attacks. There is significant policy difference between our progressive school of thought and the often reactionary ideas of the PDP.

“There are more than enough serious issues over which to grapple the PDP.  Asiwaju Tinubu’s politics are driven by his policy views. He will gladly wrestle against the PDP on substantive political differences. But engage in personal attacks, rumor-mongering and mudslinging, never.  We leave that for others. The gutter is no place to build a better nation. We seek higher ground.

“So that there is no confusion on the core issue here, we categorically deny any hand in any negative personal reports on any senator.

“Some malefactors want to use the name of Asiwaju Tinubu to stir opposition in the senate to the confirmation of Magu as EFCC chairman. By trying to paint Magu as Tinubu’s partner in mudslinging, the false story seeks to induce senators to oppose Magu as a way of thwarting Asiwaju Tinubu.”

Rahman also said that someone with “narrow personal interest” was behind the report.

“The authors of this screed thus revealed their moral barrenness. The fight against corruption is a cardinal battle this nation must win or forever forego its greater destiny,” he added.

“Despite the importance of this matter, someone is trying to exalt his narrow personal interests above the long-term interests of the nation. Someone so brazen and self-absorbed is a dangerous instrumentality when placed in a position of power.”

Credit: The Cable

Tinubu, a Nigerian Product that is Working, By Akinwunmi Ambode

I am humbled and honoured to stand today on behalf of the people of Lagos State and Lagosians in the Diaspora to salute and congratulate Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu on many fronts, especially his 65th birthday anniversary that comes up tomorrow.

Permit me to describe a fruit, the coconut, as an illustration of my message. The coconut tree is a member of the palm family. The term coconut can refer to the whole coconut palm, the seed or the fruit. The term coconut is derived from the 16th century Portuguese and Spanish word “coco”, meaning head or skull, from the three indentations on the coconut shell that resemble facial features.

Coconuts are known for their great versatility, as evidenced by many traditional uses, ranging from food to cosmetics (Adi-Agbon).  The oil and milk derived from it are commonly used in cooking and frying, as well as in soap and cosmetics.  The husks and leaves can be used as material to make a variety of products for furnishing and decorating.  The coconut is a good symbol of cultural significance in certain communities.

In putting the pieces together, here it is; you have a head that is blessed with a divine task to be fruitful and useful to humanity.  He is greatly versatile, courageous and strategic in outlook.  It takes a few years of planting before the coconut tree becomes fruitful, thereafter, it bears fruits for a long time.  Sixty-five years after, he has been fruitful, creating more products and by-products from his political dynasty than any other living “made-in-Nigeria” political product in recent history.

Like the coconut, some by-products/fruits will get bad along the way or after being sold in the market. In actual fact, the political product may not be the favourite of some other people.  The bottom line, however, is simple.  If Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, were a coconut; I dare say, with all simplicity, I would be among the forefront liners that will eat, drink and sleep B.A.T. 24/7.

The test of a successful leader is in the number of leaders that he has created.  Using this globally accepted parameter,  Asiwaju, at 65, is without doubt, a winner in this category.

There is no doubt the Asiwaju political dynasty is a made-in-Nigeria product.  The foundation laid and blueprints developed during his tenure as Governor of Lagos State, which cuts across all sections of the state’s economy, have actually simplified the process of governance till date.

His blueprint has continued to serve as a road map to achieving the Lagos of his and our dreams.  This same political product without doubt, traverses the Nigerian landscape and that is evident with the emergence of the All Progressives Congress at the centre in 2015.

Asiwaju is a made-in-Nigeria product. We should make more products out of him.

This year’s central theme is no doubt an apt topic:  ‘Make it in Nigeria – Use what we make – Make what we Use.’ I am an unrepentant convert of this ideology.  We have demonstrated it.  We have professed it through our Lake Rice partnership with Kebbi State.

As a government, we will continue to improve on our indices of the ease of doing business to ensure that more products are made in Nigeria for the development and growth of our nation.

Asiwaju, I salute you. Senator Oluremi Tinubu, I admire your dexterity and I congratulate you.

Asiwaju, on behalf of the First Lady, my entire family, all your admirers at home and across the world, we say a big thank you for your large-heartedness, benevolence and visionary leadership that you have unleashed on this nation.

You are a statesman par excellence

My leader, our leader.

Happy birthday, sir. God bless you all.

Ambode, who is the Lagos State Governor, made the remarks  at the 9th Annual Bola Tinubu Colloquium to mark Tinubu’s 65th birthday anniversary.

Ambode Inherited a Debt Burden- Tinubu

Former governor of Lagos State and a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has said he was worried about how the current governor of Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, would handle the burden of debt that he inherited from previous administrations.

Speaking at the opening of some construction projects in the Alimosho area of Lagos State to commemorate Tinubu’s 65th birthday, Tinubu said Ambode has shown sterling performance despite the deb burden.

He said, “I was worried when you (Ambode) took over; not about your credibility, character or capacity, but because however wise or smart a man is, if there are no resources to back the ideas, production will be zero; progress will be zero.

“When you took over, I know  you inherited a burden of debt. The debt profile of Lagos was high. I was wondering how you would reengineer and face the challenges to make progress.

“Today, I can see your report card; you have scored well, and you have shown prudency, especially in the judicious use of resources of the state.”

“Oshodi used to be a den of robbers, but what is going on there now is developmental activities for the benefit of the entire country.

“Ambode is very quiet, very peaceful, not a noise maker; but he is delivering on the job. Today, you have given me a good birthday present. This is a great opportunity for me to be very proud again,” Tinubu added.

 

Buhari Impressed With Tinubu, Says his ‘a Great Leader’

President Muhammadu Buhari has poured encomium on former Lagos State governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, describing him as a great leader.

President Buhari said Tinubu’s foray into politics 25 years ago whose has “ushered in a better understanding of building consensus to achieve historical feats, like unseating an incumbent government.”

The Nigerian leader made the remarks in a congratulatory message to Tinubu as he clocks 65 years on Wednesday. A colloquium on small scale businesses in honour of the politician will take place in Lagos today.

Tinubu and Buhari  belong to the All Progressives Congress (APC), now Nigeria’s ruling party.

In a statement by Femi Adesina, the media adviser, President Buhari joined all members of the APC, political and business associates of the Asiwaju of Lagos, his friends and family, in celebrating another milestone in the life of Tinubu.

“As he turns 65 years, the President believes the Asiwaju raised the bar for many political leaders across the country as a two-term governor of Lagos State, and also bequeathed a style of leadership that completely altered the landscape of the commercial capital. ”

Buhari recalled his pleasant and intellectually enriching encounters with the Jagaban of Borgu Kingdom over the years and said the nation has benefitted a lot from the personal sacrifices, political experience and intellectual foresight of the APC chieftain, and still stands to gain more.

Tinubu, Aregbesola, Others Urge Political Scientists To Get Involved In National Development

The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has said that all hands must be on deck to ensure that democracy offers the best opportunity for governance and nation building.

The Governor, at the 2017 South-West conference of the Nigerian Political Science Association (NPSA) held at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife stated that leaders are not just elected to massage their ego or put in a position of dominance over other competitors for power‎, but for power to exercise responsibility for the development of the people.

Aregbesola called on political scientists in the country to be more focused on taking assertive positions on issues of national interest as a means of contributing to national development.

He described politics as a primal activity which any society that wants development and progress must do everything possible to get right.

The Governor who said politics is central to everybody who dwells in a community also charged the political scientists to make their voices heard loud and clear by the leaders of the people.

Speaking further at the conference which has as its theme: “Democracy, Nation-Building and National Development in Nigeria” the governor asserted that political science researches should not just be done for the purpose of gaining promotion alone but should be made to develop the society or else such research is useless.

On the relationship which should exist between the academic environment and the society, he stressed that the major challenge for Nigerian universities is the need to create a mutual relationship with the larger society so that the people can benefit.

The Governor noted that democracy remains the best and offers the best form of governance if supported and backed with the right ingredients especially by the academic environment.

According to the Governor, “Political science research findings should be made public, not just for obtaining promotion and professorial chairs. Any academic discipline must be relevant and responsible to the society.

“In the developed world, progress comes from application of knowledge in science and technology, administration and other academic disciplines.

“You should also find a way for robust intercourse between town and gown. Political scientists should get more involved in politics and administration in order to enrich their knowledge base. Sound theory added to sound practice equals sound knowledge.

“On the other hand, well-practised politicians should be appointed as faculties in political science departments to be able to share their experience through teaching, research, seminars and publications”.

In his remarks, the National leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, said a nation that desires progress must have a visionary leader and can translate such vision into concrete achievement.

Asiwaju, who was represented by Professor Adebayo Williams, argued that a leader, who has no objective, could not be a strategic leader.

He lamented that majority of political leaders focused more on how to get power and control government rather than what they can do with power to transform human lives.

He advised politicians to focus more on the development of the country and the promotion of well-being of the people of the country.

“A leader of the people must have a coherent vision in his mind and work assiduously to translate it in concrete things.

“There can’t be strategic leadership where conscious objective is lacking. Conscious objective and coherent vision are some of the ingredients of nation-building.

“Most often time, leadership here is short-sighted, focusing more on power and control of power and government rather than on result-oriented programmes,” Tinubu said.‎

In his lecture entitled: “Democracy, Nation-building and Development in Nigeria,” the keynote speaker,who is a former Vice Chancellor of Ekiti State University, Professor Dipo Kolawole, said Nigeria has been suffering from poor leadership since independence.

Prof. Kolawole argued that democracy will end in failure if there are no proper instrument monitoring and evaluation.

He averred that democracy still remains the best form of government anywhere it is being practised in the word, but advised that politics of it must be played according to the laid down rules for there to be peace, progress and development.

“Leadership has been the problem of this country since independence. We have been suffering from underdevelopment of leadership.

“There is no gainsaying the fact that democracy still remains the best form of government.

“But it cannot be left alone on its own without the proper instrument of monitoring and evaluation. And unless this is done, there is bound to be chaos and anarchy,” the university don said.

Tinubu, Aregbesola, Others Urge Political Scientists to Embrace National Development

The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has said that all hands must be on deck to ensure that democracy offers the best opportunity for governance and nation building.

The Governor, at the 2017 South-West conference of the Nigerian Political Science Association (NPSA) held at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife stated that leaders are not just elected to massage their ego or put in a position of dominance over other competitors for power‎, but for power to exercise responsibility for the development of the people.

Aregbesola called on political scientists in the country to be more focused on taking assertive positions on issues of national interest as a means of contributing to national development.

He described politics as a primal activity which any society that wants development and progress must do everything possible to get right.

The Governor who said politics is central to everybody who dwells in a community also charged the political scientists to make their voices heard loud and clear by the leaders of the people.

Speaking further at the conference which has as its theme: “Democracy, Nation-Building and National Development in Nigeria” the governor asserted that political science researches should not just be done for the purpose of gaining promotion alone but should be made to develop the society or else such research is useless.

On the relationship which should exist between the academic environment and the society, he stressed that the major challenge for Nigerian universities is the need to create a mutual relationship with the larger society so that the people can benefit.

The Governor noted that democracy remains the best and offers the best form of governance if supported and backed with the right ingredients especially by the academic environment.

According to the Governor, “Political science research findings should be made public, not just for obtaining promotion and professorial chairs. Any academic discipline must be relevant and responsible to the society.‎

“In the developed world, progress comes from application of knowledge in science and technology, administration and other academic disciplines.‎

“You should also find a way for robust intercourse between town and gown. Political scientists should get more involved in politics and administration in order to enrich their knowledge base. Sound theory added to sound practice equals sound knowledge.

“On the other hand, well-practised politicians should be appointed as faculties in political science departments to be able to share their experience through teaching, research, seminars and publications”.

In his remarks, the National leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, said a nation that desires progress must have a visionary leader and can translate such vision into concrete achievement.‎

Asiwaju, who was represented by Professor Adebayo Williams, argued that a leader, who has no objective, could not be a strategic leader.‎

He lamented that majority of political leaders focused more on how to get power and control government rather than what they can do with power to transform human lives.‎

He advised politicians to focus more on the development of the country and the promotion of well-being of the people of the country.

‎“A leader of the people must have a coherent vision in his mind and work assiduously to translate it in concrete things.‎

“There can’t be strategic leadership where conscious objective is lacking. Conscious objective and coherent vision are some of the ingredients of nation-building.‎

“Most often time, leadership here is short-sighted, focusing more on power and control of power and government rather than on result-oriented programmes,” Tinubu said.‎‎

In his lecture entitled: “Democracy, Nation-building and Development in Nigeria,” the keynote speaker,who is a former Vice Chancellor of Ekiti State University, Professor Dipo Kolawole, said Nigeria has been suffering from poor leadership since independence.‎

Prof. Kolawole argued that democracy will end in failure if there are no proper instrument monitoring and evaluation.‎

He averred that democracy still remains the best form of government anywhere it is being practised in the word, but advised that politics of it must be played according to the laid down rules for there to be peace, progress and development.‎

“Leadership has been the problem of this country since independence. We have been suffering from underdevelopment of leadership.‎

“There is no gainsaying the fact that democracy still remains the best form of government.‎

“But it cannot be left alone on its own without the proper instrument of monitoring and evaluation. And unless this is done, there is bound to be chaos and anarchy,” the university don said.

Ondo Poll: APC To Investigate Tinubu For Anti-Party Activities

It appears the All Progressives Congress may have initiated moves to investigate allegations of anti-party activities against the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and some of the party members believed to be loyal to him.

 

This is happening as the party appears to be in a dilemma over how to deal with the party leader over suspicion that he is backing the Alliance for Democracy in the forthcoming Ondo State governorship election.

Tinubu is believed to be supporting Chief Olusola Oke, one of the governorship aspirants in the party’s primary in Ondo State who had recently defected to the Alliance for Democracy, along with his supporters.

The leadership of the APC, according to impeccable sources who spoke to Saturday PUNCH, considered the purported support for an opposition party by a leader of the APC ahead of the coming Ondo governorship election as constituting anti-party infractions that should not be overlooked.

Tinubu’s godson, Dr. Olusegun Abraham, was edged out in the primary won by Chief Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), who is believed to have enjoyed the backing of the party’s national leadership.

The delegates’ list for the Ondo APC primary was said to have been doctored to favour Akeredolu and this allegedly infuriated Tinubu.

As such, Tinubu asked the APC’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, to resign over his alleged role in the primary in which his (Tinubu’s) candidate had come second.

In the statement in which the party’s national leader made the allegations, Tinubu said Odigie-Oyegun had “dealt a heavy blow to the very party he professes to lead” by derailing from the path of progressives.

The post-primary election crisis of the Ondo APC took a different dimension when Oke defected to AD in a move believed to have been instructed by Tinubu.

Party sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Saturday PUNCH that they had proofs that Tinubu was backing the AD governorship candidate. They added that the party leader had released funds for Oke’s campaign.

The Ondo State chapter of the APC confirmed that some members of the party were under investigation over alleged anti-party activities.

The Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Abayomi Adesanya, said specifically that some members loyal to Tinubu had been found to be involved in some activities against the party in the recent time.

Abayomi, who said expulsion from the party was the penalty for any anti-party activity, said the national body of the party would investigate and later come out with an action against any national leader involved in such activity.

He said, “We have yet to confirm if our National Leader is involved in anti-party activities but we will investigate; we are very sure that some of his boys here are involved in anti-party activities but when it is time, appropriate action would be meted to them.”

“Anti-party action is a serious offence in any political party and in our own party, total expulsion is the penalty.”

But a chieftain of the APC loyal to Tinubu, Mr. Bola Ilori, said APC members who supported Rotimi Akeredolu’s emergence as the party’s candidate were those involved in anti-party activities.

Ilori, who is a loyalist to Dr. Segun Abraham, alleged that the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, was also involved in anti-party activities by allegedly using veto power to over-rule the recommendation of the Electoral Appeal Committee and submitted Akeredolu’s name to the Independent National Electoral Commission.

He said, “ Whoever is promoting or supporting Akeredolu to be the candidate of the APC is involving in anti-party (activities) because the NWC voted five to six not to submit the name of Akeredolu, and the National Chairman went ahead and submitted his (Akeredolu) name. So, what they have done is anti-party (action) itself.

“What they have done is anti-party (action) that has never happened in the history of the party.”

Saturday PUNCH also learnt that the APC national leadership is aware of Tinubu’s alleged anti-party moves in Ondo State but is very reluctant to sanction him.

This, according to party sources, has to do with Tinubu’s influence in the party and his tight grip on the party structure in the South-West.

Meanwhile, APC members, who spoke to Saturday PUNCH, have explained that the ruling party’s constitution prescribes sanctions against anyone found to be engaged in anti-party misdemeanor.

The Publicity Secretary of the Kwara State chapter of the APC, Mr. Sulaiman Buhari, said “A panel will be set up to investigate the matter. After the investigation, it is the panel that will recommend the punishment but it is stipulated in the Constitution. The person can be suspended or expelled from the party, given the (nature of the) offence. The situation also applies to chieftains of the party.”

The Cross River State Chairman of the APC, Mr. John Ochala, simply said, “Suspension,” when asked the specific sanction the party had reserved for those engaged in anti-party activities.

In Rivers State, the Publicity Sectary of the APC, Mr. Chris Finebone, said any political party that is worth its salt must sanction any action by any member that is detrimental to it.

The Edo State chairman of the APC, Anselm Ojezua, said, “It (anti-party activity) can range from suspension to expulsion, depending on the circumstances of the case. There are no party chieftains; in the APC, everybody is a member.”

Meanwhile, Oke has said that he defected from the APC to the AD because he failed to get justice after he challenged the result of the primary of the party held on September 3. 2016 and the national leadership refused to act on the recommendation of the appeal committee.

The former National Legal Adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party, who spoke through his media aide, Mr. Rotimi Ogunleye, said he made a wide consultation with people across the 18 local government areas of the state before taking the decision to leave the APC, stressing that it was on the advice of the people that he took the decision.

He also declared that since he had the support of the people, many members of the APC, PDP and many other political parties in the state would soon join him in the AD.

On whether he had the support of Tinubu, Oke said he had sold his credentials to Tinubu and national leaders of other political parties.

“Because of the status and personality of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, we are duty bound as politicians to sell the dossier and credentials of capacity and experience to him and all the leaders of political parties and hope that they would give support to progressive ideas that can develop the people and lead to the growth of our state when they see these ideas,” Oke added.

Repeated calls to the mobile telephone of the party’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun were neither picked nor returned.

A response to a text message sent to him was still being awaited as of the time of filing this report.

Similar efforts made to get a reaction from Tinubu were equally unsuccessful. Calls to the mobile telephone number of his spokesman, Mr. Tunde Rahman, were neither picked nor returned.

A response to a text message sent to him was still being awaited as of the time of filing this report.

Punch