By Emmanuel Aziken
Despite doomsday prophesies about the imminent political choking of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC continues to bestride the political landscape. Even to the bemusement of his political traducers, Tinubu continues to win support across the landscape despite his recent three-month medical holiday abroad.
The three-month absence from the country was what some presumed was going to finish Tinubu. However, even while in the UK he continued to receive pledges of support and solidarity from his associates. Even not to near friends like Governors Kayode Fayemi, Rotimi Akeredolu and even Senator Ibikunle Amosun visited him.
However, there were some particular names who did not visit in London.
The most foremost of them was Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, undoubtedly the most successful of those nurtured from the Tinubu political camp. With growing agitations for Osinbajo to contest the 2023 presidential ticket against his political godfather, Tinubu, the fact that the vice-president did not visit Tinubu in London has now turned into an issue, at least for some.
It has also nurtured conspiracy theories. When Tinubu surprisingly returned to the country on October 10, after about three months away, some were quick to notice the coincidence with the arrival in London of Vice President Osinbajo for an official engagement.
It was indeed whispered in hush tones that Tinubu left London just as he heard that Osinbajo was in London and wanted to see him! However, no one can confirm that narrative, but the fact that such could be said underlines the increasing political alienation of the two men.
Indeed, just before Osinbajo left Nigeria to attend the London Energy Summit, his political bounce may have been lifted by the official recognition given the Progressives Consolidation Group, PCG by the national secretariat of the APC. The PCG is a political movement aligned towards the realization of the Osinbajo presidency in 2023.
The PCG in the letter was recognized as the ONLY 2023 support group so far given official recognition by the APC.
Did news of the development come as a shock to the Tinubu camp?
Saturday Vanguard reports that before the emergence of the PCG that several support groups advocating the Tinubu aspiration had been all about the place but none given the kind of official recognition that the PCG was given.
It was also remarkable that the news of the recognition given the PCG came as Osinbajo made his trip to London. And if mischief makers are to be believed it also came as Tinubu ‘bolted’ out of London supposedly to avoid Osinbajo.
Well, the two men finally met last weekend and the pictures were celebrated all over the media. The presentation of the pictures of the two men meeting two weeks after Tinubu’s return was to show that there is no animosity between the two 2023 presidential gladiators.
Besides Osinbajo, Tinubu has also had high profile meetings with President Muhammadu Buhari who he went to thank for his humanity in visiting him during his hospitalisation in London.
Also this last week, Tinubu met with Babatunde Fashola, the still popular governor who succeeded him in 2007. Though it has been regularly insinuated that both men became estranged in the first term of the Fashola era, but both men from time to time put aside their differences to fight common causes. Both men were in the same boat in shifting Akiwunmi Ambode aside in 2019.
However, given the past ties between Fashola and the leaders of the insurgent Lagos4Lagos Movement which is aiming to decapitate Tinubu from Lagos politics, the relationship between the two men is bound to attract further interests in the days ahead.
Just like the visit between Tinubu and Osinbajo, the visit from Fashola was also a pictorial affair.
Probably more remarkable is the increasing tie between Kano State and Tinubu.
Last Sunday, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hamisu Chidari reiterated his support for Tinubu’s ambition with his appointment as the Northwest coordinator of the Tinubu Support Organisation, TSO.
The tie between Kano and Tinubu was further emphasized when a delegation from the emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado-Bayero visited Tinubu in Lagos to present a gift to him.
Tinubu, Saturday Vanguard reports, is building strength in vote rich areas like Kano, Sokoto, Kebbi, Borno. He has, however, had little sway in Kaduna where Mallam Nasir El-Rufai has not pretended his animosity to the project.
In the South-South the APC political leader is also picking out eggheads from the region to drive the project. He has two former members of the House of Representatives, Eseme Eyiboh coordinating the Cross River/Akwa Ibom axis and Samson Osagie as a linchpin in the Edo/Delta Axis.