*APC to rezone office of national chairman
*Tinubu still pillar of APC
By Emmanuel Aziken
The sack of close associates of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the just dissolved National Working Committee, NWC of the All Progressives Congress, APC is the first step towards redesigning political interests ahead of President Muhammadu Buhari’s exit in 2023, Saturday Vanguard has learnt.
While the move has seen the significant tilt of power from Tinubu towards the governors, the new dispensation according to Saturday Vanguard sources will set the template for the political re-balancing of both political and public offices ahead of 2023.
Despite assertions of a legal challenge to the decisions of the National Executive Committee, NEC, Saturday Vanguard gathered yesterday that the resolve of many of the former NWC members was weakening as a number of them were beginning to back out.
Besides the former NWC members, a few of the governors that had significantly backed Oshiomhole, including two Northwest governors were also said to be having second thoughts given the domestic political challenges they are presently confronted with.
The most significant development from the envisaged re-balancing, it was learnt, would be the rezoning of the office of National Chairman to the North with the prospect of shifting the presidency to the South in 2023, a source privy to the working of the president’s inner circle told Saturday Vanguard.
“Asiwaju’s people are not seeing the big picture,” one of the sources said yesterday in reference to reported muttering from associates of the national leader of the party that his influence had been curtailed with the sack of the Comrade Adams Oshiomhole led executive.
Pursuant to the rebalancing of the offices, the newly inaugurated caretaker committee is expected to initiate a nationwide mobilization of party members from the ward levels in the period leading to the election of the new national executive.
The exercise is expected to open up the party through membership renewal at the ward levels, a move a source said would loosen the tight control some political godfathers now have over the present structure.
“There would be a shaking from the ward through the local government level to the zonal before the National Convention,” the source said.
Under the blueprint for the caretaker committee as drawn out by the president’s inner circle, political party positions would be rebalanced as a way of fitting in with the 2023 plans, a source said.
“The new national executive to be elected is to be in office for four years and would guide the party through the next General Election. It is as such expected that the offices would be zoned in a way to fit in with the party’s 2023 posture,” one source said.
While that plan of getting a northern national chairman would be reassuring for the national leader’s presidential aspiration, it was, however, gathered that the writers of the script did not necessarily have him in mind.
One source revealed that even Tinubu’s hold in Lagos is now becoming a matter of debate among some of the associates in the inner circle of the president.
“You can imagine that before the moves against Oshiomhole that many of his associates were sounded out and they did not object to the moves that were taken,” the source said.
Tinubu has been praised for his political acumen in keeping Lagos under his control since leaving office in 2007. However, the Governor’s Advisory Council, GAC the group which dictates the pace and pattern of politics within his political realm was recently forced to ban all political groups within the APC including the Mandate Group and Justice Forum.
The ban echoed fears that political adversaries of the national leader were aiming to breach his Lagos fortress through some of his reliable lieutenants.
However, a key actor in the scheme against Oshiomhole differed on the outcome of the NEC in respect to Tinubu, saying that it was not directed against him.
“You have Governor Oyetola in the new executive and you also cannot say that the National Secretary and the new caretaker chairman are opposed to him,” one source said in respect to Senator John Akpanudoedehe and Governor Mai Mala Buni, respectively.
Another source said that Tinubu has sacrificed and helped the party so much that he remains a pillar nobody can ignore, assuring that President Buhari has tremendous respect for him. The source confirmed that although Oshiomhole had great understanding with Tinubu, the sacking of the party chairman was not targetted at Tinubu whom he said would always enjoy support from many quarters and members of the party.