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2023: The Consensus Against Tinubu

The Consensus Against Tinubu

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The imminent emergence of Senator Abdullahi Adamu as the next chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC has waxed belief that President Muhammadu Buhari was not detached from the politics that played out in the days leading to the enactment of the new Electoral Act.

The new Electoral Act has to the consternation of those outside Buhari’s political ambit emboldened him to forge his imprimatur on the 2023 General Election, and particularly, on the emergence of his successor.

Of course, it is the desire of every retiring president everywhere to have a say on who succeeds him.

In the case of President Buhari, this tradition has been particularly tricky given the leading role played by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in his 2015 nomination and election.

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Tinubu in the opinion of several persons deserves to be more than compensated by Buhari in attaining his life ambition of being president of Nigeria.

However, indications are that this will not be. The ominous signs for Team Tinubu are everywhere and the former Lagos State governor, the former kingmaker has taken his fate in his hands. Indeed, to the distress of some political commentators Tinubu has reduced himself, running around in a way not fitting for a kingmaker of his status.

Now, the pliable weapon being used against Tinubu appears to be the newly signed Electoral Act which the Buhari camp seems to have quickly taken as a tool to forge a consensus against his former political benefactor.

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The Tinubu camp was obviously aware of the plot and hence the moves it took to uproot the use of consensus in the adoption of party officials and candidates by political parties in the Electoral Bill.

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You would recall that Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, a protégée of Tinubu’s, was the one who caused the deletion of the clause as an option in the election of candidates and party officials.

That was done in the last stage of the passage of the bill last November. The adoption of only direct primary, it was widely reported, would have favoured Tinubu who had the advantage in high voting states like Kano, Borno, Katsina and Lagos States.

The president’s minders rejected the move and returned the bill to the National Assembly. Remember, the president insisted on the adoption of consensus as an option.

Indeed, when it was returned last January, we also saw the dithering procrastination of the Speaker Gbajabiamila led House of Representatives in amending it.

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Now, following the president’s assent to the reworked bill penultimate Friday, we have seen the ease with which the Consensus option has been used in adopting Senator Abdullahi Adamu as the next national chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

The president according to news reports was reported to have told governors who were all grumbling about the choice of Adamu to go home that he had made his choice.

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It is now obvious that the planned emergence of Adamu as the national chairman of the APC is only the first stage in forging the consensus against Tinubu in the presidential race.

It was not as if the governors who objected to Adamu were in anyway sympathetic to Tinubu. Many of them had their agenda.

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Of course, there are many reasons that the governors were opposed to Adamu, the first being the fact that he is not a man that many of them can push around. When Adamu was governor many of the governors were in the infantile stage of politics.

For Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and his backers, the emergence of Adamu as national chairman is also ominous for many reasons.

The first is that Adamu was a principal associate of President Olusegun Obasanjo when they were governors together between 1999 and 2007. Whereas Adamu was a strong backer of the Third Term plot, Tinubu was on the other side. Both men as governors hardly associated and it is said that it is late for them to be changing positions.

Adamu has also been quoted in an interview that has lately turned viral to have said that it was not compulsory for the next president to come from the South. In effect, Tinubu is not within his perspective, and the idea of power shift within the APC is not one that would be necessarily driven by the party leadership under Senator Adamu.

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Buhari may have fetched Adamu to accomplish his political purpose in a way no president in the Fourth Republic has done.

The last president to have wielded strong influence on the polity in the way Buhari is doing was President Obasanjo. But Obasanjo didn’t go half as far as Buhari has done.

Indeed, under Obasanjo there were alternative power centres within the ruling party where dissidents could run to.

In 2003 when Chris Uba made his move to remove Governor Chris Ngige from office, Hon. Chidi Duru, a former member of the House of Representatives from Anambra State put a call to Vice President Atiku Abubakar who was then at the Lagos Polo Club. With Obasanjo out of the country at that time, Ngige was released from detention and resumed as governor.

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But under President Buhari, there are no alternative power centres within the APC. Everyone must wait for and take a cue from the body language of the president.

So, it is now clear that with the Electoral Law stipulating the use of consensus as an acceptable option in nominating party candidates that President Buhari would wield the option in pushing forward his favoured nominee. And that person from every handwriting on the wall and from Buhari’s body language is certainly not Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

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