By Emmanuel Aziken, Bashir Bello and Abdulmumini Murtala
Irrespective of the roadblock against the compulsory direct primary option in the selection of political party candidates for the 2023 general elections, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu will contest the All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential primary, multiple sources within and outside his camp have disclosed.
However, his efforts will sooner than later face the brusque response of his traducers within the party setting the stage for what sources say will be an eventful political year in the ruling APC. One of the remarkable unfolding developments, it was gathered, will be the increasing relegation of the President Muhammadu Buhari factor by party chieftains as he turns into a lame duck in period preceding his exit from office.
Meanwhile, the stage for a dirty primary campaign within the APC unfolded on New Year Day as it emerged that a presidential aide was reported to have shared a video of a Tinubu campaign staff entangled in a fight with alleged commercial sex worker over unpaid services.
Maria Ude Nwachi, a presidential aide in the office of the Vice-President and a former member of the Ebonyi State House of Assembly, had shared on social media a viral video of an unidentified campaign staff of the Tinubu Campaign allegedly entangled with a prostitute.
She wrote: “Disgraceful! You are on duty, carry her, does not want to pay and still engaged in fight with her openly.”
However, the development was further deteriorating the bad blood between the camp of Osinbajo and that of Tinubu yesterday with one associate of Tinubu telling Sunday Vanguard that the assertion of the presidential aide reflected the mindset of the Osinbajo camp.
Meanwhile, the Tinubu camp was, at the beginning of the year, taking, in its stride, the decision of Buhari to veto the Electoral Act Amendment Bill with associates saying that whatever decision taken on the bill would not dissuade Tinubu from the contest.
APC chieftains told Sunday Vanguard that the Tinubu camp had been hopeful of easily winning the presidential ticket under a direct primary method given the strong alliance between the APC National Leader and governors in northern states with heavy APC followership. Among the states cited are Kano, Katsina and Borno.
“You can imagine him getting two million votes in Kano, two million in Borno and another two million in Lagos, and with that he would have tied up the nomination,” an APC leader told Sunday Vanguard.
[ALSO READ] 2023: 57 Yoruba groups meet in Lagos over Tinubu, Osinbajo, Fayemi
“But with the decision to use the indirect primary method, the nomination can be more easily controlled as all that is required is for Buhari to summon northern governors and tell them this is who I want.
“Which northern governor can look Buhari in the face and say no to him.”
Also, yesterday, a Tinubu associate, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said his principal would contest the election irrespective of what primary method is used.
“Direct or indirect, Asiwaju will win. One thing you should know is that Asiwaju is always thinking ahead. He had been winning with indirect system before APC used indirect in 2019, so it is not something that is strange to him and you should know that he is a master of the game,” the source said.
Tinubu’s determination to contest was also echoed by a senior strategist of one of his possible rivals who said that feelings on the ground around the country indicated that the APC National Leader was forging ahead to contest despite earlier suggestions that he would abandon the race.
Among the reasons being given for Tinubu’s likely participation despite possible opposition from Buhari is the feeling that the President is turning into a lame duck with his term of office certain to expire next year. “You would see that over time, people will begin to push off the Buhari factor as he turns into a lame duck,” a source disclosed.
In a related development, the Director General, Bola Tinubu Support Group Management Council, Abdulmumini Jibrin Kofa, said, yesterday, Tinubu will contest for the presidency in 2023.
Kofa disclosed this while addressing journalists in his Kofa hometown in Bebeji Local Government Area of Kano State.
The Director-General of the umbrella body coordinating over 2,000 support groups said Tinubu’s presidential ambition is a done deal, adding that they were only sorting out date for his official declaration of interest and other preparations.
He said he decided to pitch tent with the former governor of Lagos State because he is competent and capable to secure victory for the party come 2023.
“Now, I can confirm that he will contest. It’s a done deal, he is going to contest. We are now trying to sort out time in which he will formally declare his intent. But the aspect of the decision. It is a done deal. And I have discussion with him one on one”, Kofa stated.