President Muhammadu Buhari has assigned a very difficult and challenging job to Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu- to resolve disagreements among party members, party leadership and political office holders in some states and the centre. The job is a challenging one because internal squabble and scrabble for who gets what are normal in political parties especially in a nascent democracy like that of Nigeria. But when such games get messier and personal; the ‘hands’ of a leader is needed to put a stop to it. Though, the All Progressive Congress (APC) is a political party that consists of different individuals with diverse ideologies and political backgrounds, harmony amongst members is still possible.
Tinubu, love or hate him, is a colossus in the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the Nigerian politics. Tinubu is the right person to head APC reconciliation committee. Tinubu and Buhari are the foundations in the formation and membership drive of the APC, though, the New-PDP and the then 3 governors also made remarkable impact. Tinubu commands respect in the APC, his mode of operations in politics is unique and ‘pungent’. If the APC is a plc, Tinubu should at least own 40 percent stake. Apart from Buhari, Tinubu is the most senior individual in the APC, so there is no person in the APC that may not honour Tinubu’s invitation for reconciliation. From 1999 to date, Tinubu has been in the control of the southwest. As it is now, in Nigeria, only Buhari and Tinubu are undisputable regional powers with cult-like followership. As far as 2019 presidential elections are concerned, Tinubu holds some sort of ace, taking into cognizance the current permutations in the politics of the presidential candidate in both the APC and the PDP. Both parties may likely have their presidential candidates from the north. Whichever candidate secures the southwest’s nod, will easily win the presidential elections.
No political party in power can be crisis-free. There are five main problems facing the APC; first, ex-governors who want to control incumbent governors, second, governors in their last terms fighting incumbent senators for senatorial tickets. Third, senators who want to become governors. Fourth, parliamentarians unsure of a return ticket. Fifth, party faithful who feel they have been sidelined by state or federal government. In fact, the current squabble in the APC revolves around 2019 elections. Most of these issues are surmountable. Some bigwigs just need some ego-massage- a simple apology to them will do the trick, other people need an assurance of tickets for their seats while some individuals need government patronage- contracts or appointment. Tinubu will for sure bring revived cohesion within the APC as well as reconcile many aggrieved members of the party. He will face some stringent challenges- some of the crisis in the APC has already turned personal and also it has become the only way for political relevance and a source of ‘income’ for some people. This is where President Buhari’s ‘hand’ is critically needed.
Tinubu should painstakingly choose his committee members- integrity, ability to keep things confidential, understanding of intrigues of party politics and good command of respect from members of the party should be some of the characteristics Tinubu should look for. Tinubu also needs independent intelligent report on each of the cases before meeting parties. Tinubu should also if possible avoid a ‘fanfare’ visit to states for reconciliation’, a neutral ground should be a good choice, but if visit to states is necessary, it should be covert. Furthermore, some young people should be part of the committee; it will bring dynamism, color and send a new message.
President Buhari’s choice of Bola Tinubu to head the APC reconciliation efforts is based on a known fact, Tinubu has gone through the mills of politics, he has laboured enough to form the APC, he can do everything possible to keep the party strong, but some of the crises in the APC are normal- they are all about 2019 elections.
Zayyad I. Muhammad Jimeta, Adamawa State, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.zayyad.com.ng