- There are indications that all is not well between President Muhammadu Buhari and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu
- The fact that Tinubu has avoided visiting the president since January 2020 has heightened the speculations
- Before then, Tinubu was a regular visitor at the Presidential Villa in Abuja
An exclusive report by Daily Trust indicates that as the 2023 politicking begins to gather momentum, the crack between the camps of President Muhammadu Buhari and that of a national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has widened.
Checks revealed that the last time the two leaders met was on January 7, 2020, when Tinubu, visited the State House, Abuja, with multiple sources confirming that all is not well between the duo.
Since the commencement of Buhari’s second term, the former Lagos state governor has only visited the president on few occasions even as, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the president has been hosting top members of the party.
Tinubu's distance from Aso Rock is being interpreted in many quarters as a manifestation of a rift between his camp and that of Buhari with the 2023 presidential election as the bone of contention.
A source quoted in the report stated there are efforts to convince the president to support a candidate that would protect his (Buhari’s) interest when he exits the presidency in 2023.
The source close to the president said:
“We believe that Tinubu will not protect Buhari’s interest after his tenure, hence the need to look elsewhere. We are working hard to convince the president to support a candidate that would protect his interest after his tenure.”
Another source said:
“The president is not interested in Tinubu’s candidature because he is not convinced that Asiwaju is the right person to succeed him.”
Tinubu has not formally declared his intention to contest for the presidency but different groups are openly campaigning for him.
As part of measures to whittle down the influence of Tinubu in the southwest, the ruling APC has continued to bring in people who are perceived to be opposed to the former Lagos state governor.
A former governor of Lagos, Akinwunmi Ambode, whose second term bid in 2019 Tinubu worked against, was recently named as a member of the contact and strategy committee of the party.
Aside from Ambode, the party has harvested top shots in the South-West political zone, including a former deputy governor of Osun state, Iyiola Omisore; a former governor of Ogun state, Gbenga Daniel, and former Speaker Bankole, among others.
There are reports that they were cajoled by the APC towards demystifying Tinubu ahead of 2023.
Another source in the presidency said:
“President Buhari has never had a cordial relationship with Asiwaju. He just believes that the former governor of Lagos state should be used to achieve his ambition.
“After the 2015 elections, you will recall that Asiwaju was abandoned. He was brought close again before the 2019 elections. So, there is no need to worry about their relationship. It is the same scenario that is playing out.”
Meanwhile, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto state on Saturday, March 20 said the APC is on the verge of collapsing.
The governor said the party is entangled in problems, both at the national and state levels, and can't survive beyond 2023.
In a related development, a former military head of state, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), has called for the zoning and rotation of the presidency among the six geo-political zones of the country.
This, he said, remained paramount for the tranquillity, development, and growth of the country ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
Jerrywright Ukwu is an Abuja-based senior political/defence correspondent at Legit.ng. He is a graduate of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos and the International Institute of Journalism in Abuja. He is also a member of the Nigeria Union of Journalists. He spends his leisure-time reading history books. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.