President Muhammadu Buhari’s planned cabinet reshuffle, envisaged in the new year, may hold a couple of surprises, especially as it concerns his relationship with party leader, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu.
Inside sources tell Ripples Nigeria that the President may be working the books to see how he can repair his broken relationship with the man many acknowledge was instrumental in his ascension to power.
The gulf between the duo appeared widened after Tinubu asked that the party chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun, be sacked for allegedly acting out a sponsored script that saw his preferred candidate, Segun Abraham, lose in the Ondo All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial primaries. Though he came short of mentioning names, it was clear that Tinubu pinned his grouse on the presidency.
Oyegun has not only remained glued to his position but has so far enjoyed unqualified protection from President Buhari who personally rubbished Tinubu’s claims of any misgivings on the Ondo primaries.
A further dent on the once robust relationship is the unsettled acrimony over who may have actively influenced the emergence of Professor Yemi Osinbajo as APC’s Vice Presidential nominee in the 2015 elections.
However, the impending cabinet purge, Ripples Nigeria gathered, may douse the mounting level of mistrust and patchy relationship that has plagued the prime movers of the APC-led government. Already, it is speculated that at least 10 serving cabinet members may be relieved of their portfolios, with a fundamental change in guards at the presidency.
Tinubu’s men who are touted as favorites as Buhari juggles his cabinet are Segun Abraham who lost out in the Ondo poll, James Faleke who lost out in the power play in Kogi State and Wale Edun, former Commissioner of Finance in Lagos State.
While these men remain subjects of grand speculations, a bigger surprise our source said could be the consideration of another Tinubu crony as Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) in place of the incumbent, Babachir Lawal, who is currently enmeshed in a contract scandal.
Expectedly, presidency sources have refused to confirm or deny these speculations as on-going power play between contending forces remain fluid, meaning that scenarios could change as quickly as they come. They, however, admit that Buhari needs a foothold in the Southwest, ahead the 2019 elections, and would be safer with Tinubu as a friend, rather than an enemy.
Despite assurances by Tinubu’s camp that he would not exit the ruling party, APC, in spite of perceived injustices, his name continues to pop up alongside former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, as major promoters of another mega party.
With waning trusts, it remains to be seen how Buhari’s speculated game plan reinforces his hold on power, and how he also pacifies Tinubu who is keen on retaining his near dominant hold on Southwest politics.
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