‘Where is the Jagaban?’ This is the raging question of recent over the whereabouts of the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) amidst suggestions that he has lost power and influence, evidenced in the way he seems to have abandoned the task given to him by President Buhari to reconcile aggrieved members of party. So, why the loud silence? Daily Trust on Saturday takes a look.
Many sensed danger the very day President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu to lead the APC’s Consultation, Reconciliation and Confidence Building efforts toward improving cohesion within the party. This was on February 6 this year.
A terse two-paragraph statement signed by Buhari’s Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said the assignment will involve resolving disagreements among party members, party leadership, and political office holders in some states.
Many had expected a more elaborate explanation on the terms of reference for the committee, the members Tinubu would work with, and the timeframe within which they would complete their assignments. But this was not to be.
Why Tinubu committee went silent
Till date, nobody knows who other members of the committee are, or what has been achieved. The only thing the public has heard is that Tinubu was in Sokoto on February 17 where he conferred with Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, and ex-governor Aliyu Wamakko over crisis in the party.
Tinubu, who was accompanied by Alhaji Idi Farouk, held a two-hour closed-door meeting with his hosts at both the Government House in Sokoto, and at Wamakko’s residence in the metropolis.
The meeting was later expanded to include the Deputy Governor of Sokoto State, Ahmed Aliyu, and the National Vice Chairman of APC (North West), Malam Inuwa Abdulkadir. Nothing was heard about the outcome, beside Tinubu’s claim that “We had a family talk, on the future of our country, and our ruling APC.”
At the time of Tinubu’s appointment, the contentious issue in the party was the acrimony between some governors and members of the National Assembly from their states. These included, but not limited to Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Kaduna, Kano, Kogi and Imo.
Another issue then, important but not potent enough to cripple the party, was complaints by members and Buhari support groups that they had been ‘used and dumped’ without recognition in form of appointments into boards and parastatals.
However, the situation is now different, as the APC is engulfed in many crises, including moves by nPDP members led by Alhaji Kawu Baraje, the leadership of both chambers of the National Assembly, ex-governors, and others all trying to move out of the party en bloc.
“The APC is now in complete chaos, and anarchy,” said Mr Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, an activist who served as Deputy National Publicity of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at its formative stage.
Hashim, who had since left the PDP, said there is the urgent need for an alternative, saying there is a lot of anger in the land because the APC which got massive support from Nigerians who collectively passed a referendum against ex- President Goodluck Jonathan could not fare any better.
“While the PDP battles absolute moral deficit till date, the APC is not yet a political party. It’s high time we have something else. If we don’t get it right in 2019, I assure you that more than 60 per cent of the voters would not turn out in 2013,” he said.
Sources told Daily Trust that current happenings within the APC have rendered the reconciliation assignment given to Tinubu “ineffectual.” The party, according to analysts, has never been more disunited and fragmented, with chieftains and leaders of the party working at cross purposes.
Presidency yet to see report
Sources in the Presidency revealed that the Tinubu-led committee has not submitted its report to President Buhari. One of the sources said such a report could not have been submitted to the president secretly. Another source, who also said there was no such report on Buhari’s table, however, added that the possibility that Tinubu had briefed the president on the activities of his committee could not be ruled out.
Daily Trust has observed that since Tinubu was assigned to lead the reconciliation committee, he was sighted only once at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The APC national leader met behind closed-doors with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa on February 13, accompanied by a former interim national chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande.