By Emmanuel Aziken
Was the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP being mischievous last Thursday when it advised Asiwaju Bola Tinubu not to be deceived by proclamations of comradeship by President Muhammadu Buhari?
Buhari had more than shown his expression of love for Tinubu, at least in the last few months.
Last Thursday the president moved the whole apparatus of government to Lagos with his presence and that of his deputy, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo at the 10th Bola Tinubu Colloquium. Buhari also hailed Tinubu who he described as his friend and political partner as a political strategist at the colloquium that marked the 66th birthday of the former Lagos State governor.
Two days earlier, the president sacrificed some of his political capital when he compelled the National Executive Committee, NEC of his party, All Progressives Congress, APC to revisit the extension of the tenure of the party executives of the party across all levels.
The president’s new stance was to the pleasure of Asiwaju Tinubu who had been insistent on the exit of the John Odigie-Oyegun led national executive of the party.
So, given the president’s inclinations towards Tinubu, the advise from the PDP could as well be surprising. Does the president mean any harm to Tinubu?
After Tinubu helped to weave the alliance that emerged as the APC in 2013 and subsequently helped the party to win the 2015 presidential election, there were insinuations everywhere that Asiwaju was abandoned by the president in the positioning of people and policies in the government.
That claim was echoed largely because the president went beyond Tinubu to pick all the ministers from the Southwest. Even more irritating for the Tinubu Camp was the claim that those on the wrong side of progressive politics in the Southwest politics were picked.
The wound perhaps reached an irritating level about two years ago when the president at the last minute cancelled a state visit to Lagos at the last minute on the claim that he was unwell. Critics were not amused when the same day that the president was reported to be unwell he was seen cavorting with Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State in his office in Abuja.
So, it was not difficult for friend and foe to insinuate a cold war in the first two years of the Buhari administration especially as Tinubu spent a large part of his time outside the country. The implication was that Tinubu had bought a bad market in his support for Buhari to be president.
However, perspectives started changing last November when the president tapped Tinubu to accompany him to the African Union–European Union summit in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
It was while in Ivory Coast that the president set the political landscape on edge during a meeting with the Nigerian community when he gave an inkling on his possible quest for re-election.
The president said he came along with the governors of Akwa Ibom and Bauchi States, Udom Emmanuel, and Mohammed Abubakar because he might be needing their votes in future.
The president followed up that parable when he gave another parable about a gift for him from Tinubu.
“I also thank our leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He has brought me a very beautiful piece of information, which I was not aware of until I sat down and read it this evening,” the president said.
Till date that riddle has not been deciphered. What we know is that the president has progressively inclined himself towards Tinubu.
Tinubu has himself not been impervious to the entreaties of the president and has increasingly raised the decibel about the alleged evils of the PDP. It is claimed that even while Buhari’s political capital may have been flattened by the challenges of governance, that Tinubu does not see it that way. Buhari’s challenges in office are merely accidents of the inheritance from the PDP and should be wished away in the perspective of the former Lagos State governor.
Perhaps Tinubu may have gone too far in his relationship with Buhari that whatever dangers or caution from the PDP may not be fathomable in the eyes of Nigeria’s most acclaimed political strategist.