By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
The weekend meeting of allies of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and President Muhammadu Buhari may be the tonic needed to repair the alliance that shot the ruling party to power.
By most accounts, the meeting of the three men with President Muhammadu Buhari was impromptu. However, preparations for the encounter between the president and the three senior confidants of All Progressives Congress, APC, national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu had been long in preparation. But when it happened it took many stakeholders unawares.
Indeed, many presidential aides including presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu claimed ignorance of the meeting which took place last Saturday night, within hours of the president’s return from his trip to Germany.
What was remarkable in the encounter was the political affinity of the three guests of the president- Chief Bisi Akande, served as pro tem chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC before the first national convention; and was before then national chairman of the defunct Action Congress, ACN, one of the parties that formed the APC.
He was also served as governor of Osun State between 1999 and 2003. Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, one of the successors of Akande as governor was also in the delegation and so was the Senate Majority Leader, Prof. Sola Adeyeye, an enduring intellectual bastion for the Yoruba intelligentsia.
Besides the fact that all three APC chieftains are from Osun State, the other conspicuous fact is that all three men are close associates of Tinubu.
So it was not difficult for commentators to hazard the guess that the meeting was to bridge what many now claim as the increasing differences between Tinubu and the president. The meeting came against the background of the continuing muttering among senior party stakeholders over the sharing of the spoils of victory.
That Tinubu is dissatisfied with the way appointments have been made by the Buhari administration has been the butt of many political commentaries. The outcome of the party’s governorship primaries in Ondo State may have compounded the matter. The APC national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun who was projected to office by the Tinubu tendency in the party is said to have fallen out with his benefactors and is accused of siding with Tinubu’s political enemies in the Southwest to diminish him.
Even more, it is widely alleged that the political enemies of the APC leader have been encouraged by some elements in the presidency. Given the fact that it was a closed door meeting with few people, it was not surprising that the issues discussed at the meeting are taking time to seep into the public domain.
That the meeting took place against the background of the outburst by the president’s wife, Mrs. Aisha Buhari to the fact that the president has forgotten those who campaigned for him; it is claimed may have just been accidental. While it is improbable that the issue may have come up at the meeting, it may, however, have set an embarrassing spectre for those at the meeting.
The embarrassment was especially so given that Mrs. Buhari had in the past lauded the salutary role played by Tinubu in projecting her husband to the presidency. Besides Tinubu, the failure of the president to recognise and reward with positions many members of his presidential campaign committee continues to be a sore among many party members.
Even more worrying for them is that the positions that ordinary should go to party members are being taken up by non-party members. The meeting may have been another step towards redressing the many issues in the party and set machinery for Buhari and the Tinubu camps to adjust themselves towards accommodating themselves for the good of their party or keep the division to the detriment of their collective goal.