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The plot to cut down Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s power in South West

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Prominent cabinet members of President Muhammadu Buhari from the South-West have been strategising to form a well-grounded political structure aimed at wrestling the region from the strong grip of National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Ripples Nigeria can exclusively report that the plot, which started before Buhari announced the ministerial list last year, has gained momentum in the last two months with at least three high profile meetings in Abuja among the actors.

Investigations revealed that those in the thick of the plot include Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; Minister of Solid Mineral Development, Kayode Fayemi; Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu and Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun.

Fashola and Fayemi are said to be the arrowheads of the plot at the ministerial level, while Governor Ibikunle Amosun is believed to be the main mastermind.

The fear of Tinubu

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is also said to be in the scheme specifically targeted at taming Tinubu and whittling down his influence in the South West.

The plot, it was gathered, is to create a platform that will ensure Buhari’s reelection come 2019 since it has become apparent Tinubu might not be offering his support.

Sources privy to the plot, say Tinubu has become a common enemy for political heavyweights in the South West who are angry his pervasive influence in the region was becoming unbearable.

The former Lagos State governor practically determined the victory of President Buhari at the last general elections by delivering massive votes from the region despite efforts from former President Goodluck Jonathan to win in South West states.

Tinubu earlier ensured the successful formation of the APC, convincing the then G-7 Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) governors to pitch their tent with the then nascent party against the ruling PDP.

Despite fears that the party will implode with the attraction of many PDP heavyweights at the presidential primary, Tinubu worked behind the scenes to ensure the emergence of Buhari, waving off the huge resources of former Vice President Abubakar Atiku.

His pivotal roles in the formation of APC led many party faithful and chieftains to adopt him as the National Leader of the party, a development that later worked against him before Buhari.

The beginning of anti-Tinubu scheme

Buhari, it was gathered, was specifically told by some APC chieftains from the North and South-West that Tinubu’s plan was to indirectly run the government for him.

The fact that the former Lagos State governor singlehandedly nominated Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for Buhari further provided ammunitions for the anti-Tinubu elements to build a wedge between him and Buhari.

This is where Tinubu has an outstanding edge. He has the knack to discover leadership traits in his followers and empower them from seemingly insignificance to prominence. This was the magic that worked with Fashola and Fayemi as well as numerous others in the South West.

APC chieftains to install the National Assembly leadership through adoption of party’s candidates.

Tinubu, who was said to have received the green light from Buhari to support Senator Ahmad Lawan for the Senate Presidency and Femi Gbajamiamila for the Speakership, was shocked to realise that the Presidency had ditched him.

He was said to have backed out of the power play when he discovered that Buhari was merely painting him as the brain behind the National Assembly leadership crisis, contrary to an earlier agreement they had on the issue.

The President, investigations revealed, was sold the idea that Tinubu was trying to form a hedge around him through election of major political office holders.

A source in the know told our correspondent: “It was a simple plan that worked so well. Some people were angry Tinubu was becoming too powerful and close to Buhari, who was ready to please him, having realised he couldn’t have won the election without the Jagbaban.

“They just told Buhari that Tinubu will take over the presidency in no time since his man is the Vice President and the National Assembly leadership will also be loyal to him.

“No man will hear that and not balk. Buhari was convinced and decided to do nothing about the NASS leadership, which allowed Atiku and co to install Saraki.â€

The scheme continued with the rejection of all ministerial nominees submitted by Tinubu to Buhari.

In Lagos State, it was learnt that Tinubu wanted former Commissioner, Yemi Cardoso to take the slot while Wale Edun, another of his former commissioner in Lagos was slated for the Ogun slot.

Sources close to the National Leader of the APC said he takes the battle as similar to the imbroglio in the 1950s when federal forces instigated a rift between the former Western Premier Late Samuel Akintola and Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

Buhari opted for Fashola, knowing that the former governor was no longer in his godfather’s good book. The idea of making Fashola a super minister, it was gathered, was also to spite Tinubu and empower his former protégé for the coming political battles in the South West.

Amosun, according to investigations, also ganged up with Obasanjo to eliminate Edun for Ogun state slot in the ministerial slot, replacing him with Adeosun, who incidentally is a former employee of Edun in his private firm.

Obasanjo, it was learnt, convinced Buhari to hand over the powerful Finance ministry to the Ogun State nominee so that Tinubu will be fought to a standstill should the need arise to deploy resources for the South West battles.

The battle for the South West    

The South West is critical to the nation’s political structure. Whoever wins the region has always emerged President. It was gathered that the battle for the region is because of a major realignment for the 2019 presidential elections. Buhari is said to have shown interest in seeking re-election telling aides that he would require nothing less than a two term to fix the nation surgically.

Unknown to him, major actors from the region are also positioning themselves for reckoning for the same post in 2019, working on the theory that the President will be too old to convince voters in another four years.

This power-play, it was learnt, has turned the region to into a quiet war zone among political gladiators.

Under the direct command of Obasanjo and Amosun, they are said to have perfected plans to create a second force in the South West that will rubbish the structure of Tinubu.

The plot, which is planned in phases, will firstly work on anti-Tinubu sentiments in the region to destroy the support base of the former Lagos State governor.

The next move, according to sources privy to the arrangement, will be to form a parallel structure in all the six states of the region that will become more powerful and relevant by 2019.

Fashola and Fayemi are said to have keyed into the scheme because of personal grudges against Tinubu. While Fashola has not forgiven his political mentor for not allowing him install his successor, Fayemi is said to be angry that Tinubu didn’t do enough to help him win re-election in Ekiti State.

The former governors started the rebellion in the APC Progressives Forum under former President Jonathan where they battled to frustrate the emergence of John Odigie-Oyegun as National Chairman of the party.

Under the direct command of Obasanjo and Amosun, they are said to have perfected plans to create a second force in the South West that will rubbish the structure of Tinubu.

Tinubu had backed Odigie-Oyegun against Tom Ikimi, who was the candidate of the Progressive governors. They were said to have retreated to restrategise when Tinubu took them to the cleaners.

Adeosun and Adebayo are in it because of their benefactors-Amosun/Obasanjo and Buhari respectively.

Inside the plots for a second term

The plot, it was gathered, is to create a platform that will ensure Buhari’s reelection come 2019 since it has become apparent Tinubu might not be offering his support.

They were said to have reminded the President how Tinubu fixed the election for Jonathan in 2011 and Buhari in 2015 in the region, stressing that he must be cut to size for the President to stand a chance.

Buhari is said to have bought into the idea, choosing to replace Tinubu with Obasanjo as his point man in the region with the active support of Amosun, Fashola, Fayemi and others.

This, it was gathered, was why the President offered all nominees from the region juicy ministries that might become available should federal resources become inevitable.

The political forces are said to have told the President that Tinubu has a heavy war chest with which he can prosecute any political battle in the nation, recalling how he singlehandedly started an opposition party that won the presidency in less than five years.

Tinubu, who has since maintained a tactical absence from the Presidential Villa, is said to be aware of the plot but has chosen to silently deploy his tactics.

He is more overseas these days to brainstorm and arrive at a working formula for the coming battles.

Sources close to the National Leader of the APC said he takes the battle as similar to the imbroglio in the 1950s when federal forces instigated a rift between the former Western Premier Late Samuel Akintola and Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

Tinubu considers himself the modern Awolowo and Fashola as the new Akintola.

Like Akintola, Fashola is also a lawyer and orator. Tinubu, on his part, is blessed with the gift of leadership and political organisation. He has fierce loyalists and informants in almost all the institutions in the nation. Unlike Awolowo, he forgives easily and is flexible in his approach to political battles, turning old foes to political allies and assets.

The battle for the South West promises to be as interesting as it is hot. Already, a few close to the national leader have noticed that the former governors who used to be regular callers at the Boudillon, Ikoyi residence of Tinubu have kept their distance from the place since they became ministers.

Though extremely rich, Tinubu’s new political enemies are not as generous as the former Lagos State Governor. Most aides of Amosun, Fayemi and Fashola complained they were not empowered, with only the principals taking the spoils of office.

This is where Tinubu has an outstanding edge. He has the knack to discover leadership traits in his followers and empower them from seemingly insignificance to prominence. This was the magic that worked with Fashola and Fayemi as well as numerous others in the South West.

While his new-found adversaries are snobbish, Tinubu is a social success with friends across the nation and in all sectors.

As happened in the 50s resulting in the infamous Wetie pogrom, the South West may be set on fire again as the scheming for 2019 gathers steam.

 

SOURCE: RIPPLES