President Muhammadu Buhari, Tuesday, constituted a committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to reconcile and build confidence among members of the party.
The team will be led by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
A statement signed by junior aide of the President on media and publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu, said the “assignment will involve resolving disagreement among part members, party leadership and political office holders in some states of the federation”.
The development is the first time that the presidency, led by the APC, is publicly admitting fractious relationships in the party.
Issues bordering on internal party discipline and cohesion had challenged the fabrics of the party since it was inaugurated to lead Nigeria in 2015.
The issues came to a head with the wrangling that pitched the Bola Tinubu camp against the Bukola Saraki camp in the run-up to the election of the leadership of the National Assembly in 2015.
However, Tinubu is not a known official of the party. He is neither a member of the National Executive Committee of the APC nor an executive of its un-inaugurated Board of Trustees (BoT).
Though he is called “National Leader”, the Presidency, through a statement signed by Garba Shehu, had in June 2015, told Tinubu that he ceased to be ‘national leader’ of APC with the inauguration of Buhari as President.
Besides, internal disagreements which is threatening to balkanize the party, has made it difficult for it to inaugurate the BoT despite issuing letters of appointment to some individuals as members of the board.
As it is, APC may be going into the next round of elections without a BoT.
Tinubu is seen not to have had it very smooth with the leadership of the party and the President. Some members of the party had alleged that his over-bearing nature was responsible for the development.
Also, APC has not known peace since Buhari’s inauguration as president with his decision to kick, many of those who worked for his election, out of sight and replaced them with those said to be his close allies and family.
Buhari had also refused to reshuffle his cabinet as expected. He had been prodded to compensate acolytes of the part who worked for him in 2015. He had promised in December 2016 to effect a cabinet change in January 2017, a date that did not materialize due to ill-health.
He also spoke at a dinner in October 2017 promising to inject fresh blood into his cabinet and expand the cabinet. The move was seen as the president’s eventual concession to the demand to settle those who worked for him in the 2015 election with federal appointments.
Despite expectations, Buhari also failed to yield and thus expanded the gulf of internal squabbles in the party.
Leading a team that would reconcile aggrieved members is also a tricky game for Tinubu as he is also seen as being aggrieved.
Despite Tinubu’s seeming closeness to the president, those knowledgeable about military strategy argue that in bringing Tinubu close enough, the President was simply playing the soldier in him by working on the military strategy of keeping an enemy within view.
In military circles, it is believed that an enemy is deadly when out of sight.
In moving to reconcile aggrieved party members, Tinubu will however first be confronted by issues bordering of the party’s failure at leadership and the role he played in bringing Buhari to power in 2015.
Tinubu may first have to apologize to aggrieved members who were convinced to drop both financial and material resources for Buhari and APC in 2015 but are now left in the cold counting their losses from bad investment..
How he effectively does that may determine success of the mission he is out on.
By Femi Qudus…
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