*As Osinbajo’s supporters meet Northern Elders
By Emmanuel Aziken
Some of Nigeria’s leading political stakeholders are today descending on Kano, as the state with the country’s highest political currency quietly slips out of the hands of the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Tinubu’s immediate and near political rivals including Governor Mohammed Baduru Abubakar of Jigawa State, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti are among dignitaries joining Tinubu’s alter ego, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje at a lecture to mark the 21st anniversary of the Mambayya House of Bayero University, Kano.
The gathering in Kano by the stakeholders is also coming as emissaries of some of major APC presidential aspirants fan out across the North for support towards their 2023 aspirations.
While Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is yet to openly articulate his plans, supporters of the vice-president according to authoritative sources are quietly mobilizing for support from opinion moulders in the North.
However, critics were dismissive of the efforts of the Osinbajo supporters as they affirmed that without Tinubu conceding to him willingly or by accident that the moves by the vice-president’s supporters would be in vain.
Meanwhile, the chances of a political accident happening to Tinubu increased this week after his firm hold on Kano slipped with the removal of the structure of the APC from the hands of Governor Ganduje.
Saturday Vanguard reports that the decision of a Federal High Court, Abuja recognizing the Senator Ibrahim Shekarau led faction of the APC as against that led by Governor Ganduje has thrown a major spanner in the wheels of the Tinubu campaign.
With 44 local government areas and a firm support from the Kano legislature, Tinubu had, until this week, been seen as almost invincible in Kano.
“I can assure you that Tinubu is in a panic,” one political stakeholder said yesterday.
“You will see that by the time that Ganduje finishes fighting this battle that the congresses would have been finished without his control,” a source embedded with one of the presidential aspirants told Saturday Vanguard yesterday.
The trouble for the Tinubu campaign is also worsened by the fact that the chairman of the Shekarau faction, Alhaji Ahmadu Haruna Danzago, is a longtime political associate of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Danzago was for many years the chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressives Change, CPC during which time he formed a political partnership with Buhari that has survived till now.
Saturday Vanguard could not confirm speculations of his governorship aspiration. However, he is aligned with other powerful Kano politicians including Senator Barau Jibrin and some members of the House of Representatives putting into question the tenacity of the structure now aligned to Ganduje.
“There is no doubt about it, Ganduje will keep fighting this case while the status quo remains and which means that his rivals will dictate and organize the congresses,” another source present in Kano said yesterday.
“Ganduje should have seen the handwriting on the wall when the president’s body movement started shifting towards Danzago. All that rioting and burning of houses in Kano will not help anyone. My brother, you cannot fight the Federal Government,” the source said yesterday.
The case for Ganduje and Tinubu is not helped by the fact that their rivals are also spreading out across the other parts of the North where Tinubu had been held as unbeatable.
While Borno State for example has for long been regarded as Tinubu territory, a source revealed yesterday that the fidelity of the political leaders to Tinubu can no longer be guaranteed. Borno which has about the second biggest bag of votes from the North had for long been seen as in the kitty of Tinubu through the state’s dominant political leader, Senator Kashim Shettima.
It was also gathered that Senator Ali Modu Sheriff despite his historic problems with Senator Shettima is also said not to be in the Tinubu camp.
“You know Sheriff is Baba’s (Buhari’s) in-law and will definitely move along that way,” a source speaking on the power play in Borno said.
Meanwhile, there are reports of quiet meetings with northern elders by some influential northern leaders who see Osibanjo as a good candidate.
It was gathered that elders who could turn the way for the vice-president are secretly being sounded out to support the vice-president in the event he gets the nod from Tinubu.