The rumoured move by President Muhammadu Buhari to recruit James Faleke, who lost out in the Kogi gubernatorial poll, as a Minister in his planned cabinet shakeup is threatening the existence of the Kogi State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Speculations had been rife that Buhari, as a way to placate Bola Ahmed Tinubu, had penciled down a few of the latter’s cronies for political positions in the much anticipated cabinet reshuffle.
Ripples Nigeria had exclusively reported on December 30 that a few of Tinubu’s men had been touted as favorites as Buhari contemplates juggling his cabinet. They were 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.
On Tuesday, however, leaders of APC in Kogi State issued a stern warning to the Presidency, advising it to shelf any thoughts of considering Faleke as a Minister or risk having the party dismembered.
They held that they would resist any orchestrated plan by Tinubu to spread his influence over the North Central region.
The stance of the party elders was conveyed via a statement jointly signed by Alhaji Suleiman Ejibunu and Chief Richard Asaje.
It noted that, “If at all Faleke and his godfather, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, deserve any, not the ministerial slot of Kogi State to avoid serious crisis in the Kogi APC as such a move may lead to the exit of every prominent, loyal and committed member of the party while aggravating the fractionalisation of the party along many divides.
“We are also unequivocally resolute to stop Tinubu’s expansion into Kogi State or any state in the North-Central; we are determined to push out all his cohorts from Kogi come 2018/2019. It is a task that must be done through all legal/political means. They have failed and they will continue to fail.”
The group argued that, “Giving him such an appointment will amount to providing him fuel to fire on the breakup of APC in the state. Faleke alongside Honourable Buba Jibril in the West Senatorial Area of Kogi State have formed illegal party structures and lay claim to illegal stakeholder structure for which a petition is already before the national leadership of the party.”
Tinubu’s towering political structure, especially in the Southwest, has often put him at loggerheads with opponents who want to reshape the power equation in areas where he is seemingly in control. His supporters feel that he had not been adequately compensated for his contributions in the ouster of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which held the reigns of power for sixteen years.
Faleke, an indigene of Kogi State, represents Lagos State in the National Assembly and may fill the vacuum left by the exit of former Minister of Labour , James Ocholli who died in a road accident last year if he gets Buhari’s nod.
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