Amos 3:3 posed a question: Can two walk together except they be agreed? The design of these words is to show that without friendship, there can be no fellowship and without an agreement, there can be no communion.
This brief analysis is just to lay the groundwork. I needed to use a familiar verse of the bible to puncture President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent appointment of a former governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to reconcile feuding and aggrieved members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Like Amos asked in the Bible, can two work together except they be agreed? You know the answer already. For me and for many keen political observers, the choice of Tinubu to lead the charge will likely hit a cul de sac. This is not because he is incompetent. He is the most qualified to lead this important assignment. But this is beyond political qualification.
Tinubu is an aggrieved member of APC. How can an aggrieved person reconcile other aggrieved people? Has Tinubu forgiven his perceived offenders, including Buhari? He is at war with the national chairman of APC, John Odigie-Oyegun. Tinubu is not on the same page with the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki. He maintains a fragile relationship with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.
Some governors from the South West and North West who are members of APC, are believed not to be on the same page with Tinubu. A number of senators and members of the House of Representatives who are equally members of the APC are not on the same page with Tinubu. How then will he perform his assignment? For me, plenty water don soak garri.
APC is in a big mess. But no one should be surprised. It is a bed of strange fellows. People with unnecessary ego problem, congregated to form a party. They had one agenda: to sack the government of President Goodluck Jonathan. Interestingly, they succeeded. As we have now seen, they didn’t plan for the aftermath. They didn’t know how to manage their victory. As soon as President Buhari got into power, it became obvious that Nigeria and Nigerians were in for a long walk. By his actions and inactions, Buhari told his party men: “To thy tent, oh Israel.”
Trying to reconcile people who are so aggrieved barely one year to a crucial general election is a waste of time. I will try and restrict my brief to the obvious feud between Tinubu and Saraki. I want to crave your indulgence to digress briefly. I need to take you through a brief journey before I offer my final verdict on why Tinubu’s assignment will fail.
In a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, about 12 days ago in Abuja, Buhari gave Tinubu’s terms of reference to include: “leading consultative and reconciliatory moves aimed at rebuilding confidence in the party.”
Buhari also assigned Tinubu the responsibilities of resolving existing disputes among party men and women as well as between the party leadership and political office holders in some states.
“As part of ongoing efforts to improve cohesion within the All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari has designated Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to lead the consultation, reconciliation and confidence building efforts.
“The assignment will involve resolving disagreements among party members, party leadership and political office holders in some states of the federation,” the statement read.
Now, check this out: in 2015, Tinubu did not support the emergence of Saraki as President of the Senate. His choice, Ahmad Lawan, who now holds sway as leader of the upper legislative chamber, was at the International Conference Centre (ICC), when African Independent Television (AIT) announced that Saraki had been elected as President of the Senate.
Since then, the duo have been at loggerheads. In 2016, at the peak of their warfare, Tinubu described Saraki as an undisciplined and disloyal APC member.
“The idea of an alleged conspiracy between Tinubu and Saraki against the President is a lie. Tinubu is committed to the APC vision and the Nigeria Project. The way Senator Saraki captured his current seat travestied party discipline.
“It was a crass act of disloyalty showing that Saraki may have joined the APC on paper but has remained true to the malpractices and wrong aims of the reactionary PDP in his soul.
“If this nation is to have more than a fleeting chance of escaping the quagmire into which years of PDP misrule have taken us, we cannot allow these regressive elements to deploy their cunning tricks to divide and pit progressives against progressives.
“The alleged conspiracy is a figment. It takes at least two people to make a conspiracy. There has been no substantive communication between Asiwaju and Saraki since the latter decided to foul the integrity of the Senate and the party. To be truthful, I don’t think Saraki would care to hear what Asiwaju would have to say to him.
“I urge him to shelve his personal situation for the moment to concentrate on the people’s business. It would be a grave mistake and abuse of office for Saraki to directly or indirectly inject his personal matter into the (ministerial) approval process. Saraki should not link the approval of a single minister to his desire for extra-judicial treatment of his issues,” Tinubu thundered then. Tinubu’s diatribe did not go unanswered. Saraki, in his characteristic nature, responded. In his response, he re-echoed what was known already. “I have been accused of helping to frustrate some people’s opportunity to emerge as President Muhammadu Buhari’s running mate,” Mr. Saraki said. “But I have no problem with anybody.”
“I doubt if we would have won the election if we had done this, especially after the PDP had successfully framed us a Muslim party. I felt we were no longer in 1993. Perhaps, more than ever before, Nigerians are more sensitive to issues of religious balancing. This, my brother, was my original sin,” Mr Saraki said.
The Senate president said Tinubu’s political camp was of the view that since he conspired to frustrate the ambition of their benefactor, then he must not realize his own ambition as well. He however, added that he had no regrets taking that decision.
“I only stood for what I believed was in the best interest of the party and in the best interest of Nigeria,” he added.
In the same year, Tinubu again went ballistic. He accused Oyegun of sabotaging democracy in Ondo State by overriding the decision of the appeal panel that asked for a fresh governorship primary after investigations showed that the delegates’ list used had been tampered with.
He said that Oyegun’s action in allegedly subverting the will of the people was not of his doing, saying he must have been under the influence of a “powerful clique.”
Tinubu who stated that the APC was now under threat of being suffocated by anti-democratic forces pretending to be progressives, said: “The APC, a party born of the quest for democratic good governance, is under critical threat by those who managed to be in the party but never of it…the party was the embodiment of a democratic promise made between its members as well as a democratic vow made to the public. John Oyegun has breached these good pledges in a most overt and brazen display.
“To rescue the party, Oyegun must go. He has shown that he and democratic fair play cannot exist in the same party at the same time.”
I am aware that Tinubu, whose role in ‘installing’ Buhari must be commended, has held his first meeting. Let us face reality. How will an aggrieved Tinubu who needs to be reconciled, settle the rifts between Nasir El-Rufai and Shehu Sani? Suleiman Hukunyi and El-Rufai? Abdulaziz Yari and Kabiru Marafa? Dino Melaye and Yahaya Bello? Abdullahi Ganduje and Rabiu Kwankawso? Ibikunle Amosun and Solomon Adeola? Francis Alimikhena and Adams Oshiomhole? Saraki and Ali Ndume? Oluremi Tinubu and Saraki? Tinubu and Saraki? Tinubu and Oyegun? Tinubu and Aminu Tambuwal? And several others?
As lofty as the initiative maybe, the choice of Tinubu will likely not yield any result. Again, it is rather belated. APC may win the next presidential election, but rest assured that the crises bedevilling it will persist.
The appointment of Tinubu to reconcile aggrieved members will further expose him to ridicule. I am not sure he will read this piece. Whoever can get across to him should kindly plead with him not to take the bait. He should reject the Greek gift and walk away.
When APC had the chance to put its house in order, President Buhari was chasing shadows and fighting people who aided his ascension to power. Saraki is still facing trial. Kwankwaso has been rubbished and disgraced. Atiku Abubakar has left the party. Some folks who are still hanging around may not hold forth for too long. Things have fallen apart and the centre can no longer hold.
I so submit!