POLITICS

SUPREMACY BATTLE ::AS FAYEMI AGAINST TINUBU

*Fayemi Not A Threat To Tinubu’s Presidential Ambition –
Lagos APC
Temidayo Akinsuyi, Lagos
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the South-West
chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is
currently polarised over the rumoured presidential ambition
of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, national leader of the party, and
Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, who is the chairman
of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).
Credible sources in the party said the ambition of the two
men is what is responsible for the uproar in the zone over
the nomination of former governor of Oyo State, Abiola
Ajimobi, as the party’s deputy national chairman (South
West).
It was also gathered that given the influence of the deputy
national chairman, both Tinubu and Fayemi are “eager to
nominate a candidate who will be their ears and eyes when
critical decisions are taken, especially as regards the 2023
presidential election.”
Daily Independent gathered that while Tinubu is backing
Ajimobi, one of his trusted associates for the position which
became vacant following the appointment of Otunba Niyi
Adebayo as Minister of Trade, Industry, and Investment last
year, Fayemi is rooting for the emergence of Senator
Gbenga Aluko, a former Senate Deputy Chief Whip, for the
position.
However, Daily Independent learned that the body language
of the National leadership of the APC led by Comrade
Adams Oshiomhole is tilting towards Ajimobi, a situation
that has not gone down well with Fayemi and other critical
stakeholders in the party.
The thorny issue has sharply caused a division in the South
West chapter of the party as critical stakeholders have
failed to reach a unanimous decision on presenting a sole
candidate for the position.
Already, the Ekiti State chapter of the APC has already
nominated Aluko, who represented Ekiti South in the Senate
between June 1999 and June 2003, for the prime position,
saying the state should nominate a replacement as
Adebayo, the previous occupant, hails from the state.
They have argued that when Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the
Minister of Information and Culture, who hails from Kwara
State, was appointed by President Buhari in 2015, while he
was serving as APC’s national publicity secretary, the party
replaced him with Bolaji Abdulahi, who is also from Kwara
State, and that when Abdulahi left, his successor and
current spokesman of the party, Lanre Issa-Onilu, also came
from the same state.
According to our source, “There is a sharp division in the
South-West caucus of the APC and the main issue is the
rumoured presidential ambition of Governor Fayemi and
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. Both men are currently testing their
powers with the vacant position of deputy national chairman
of the party.
“While Tinubu and some party elders are backing Ajimobi,
Fayemi and some few ones are rooting for Gbenga Aluko.
“The issue now is who emerges triumphant among the two?
While Fayemi has a good case that the position be retained
by Ekiti State as the former occupant is also from the state,
Tinubu and others are claiming that the position should go
to Oyo because it is the only state in the South West that
currently has no APC governor.
“However, the odds against Fayemi are that the national
chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, will have a
bigger say in who clinches the position. Aside being
Tinubu’s loyalist, Oshiomhole will also not favour Fayemi’s
choice, given his role in the plot to oust him as national
chairman of the party.”
Speaking on the issue, Ade Ajayi, spokesman of the APC in
Ekiti State, insisted that the position of the deputy national
chairman belongs to Ekiti State as the former occupant is
from the state.
He said: “When we learned that some leaders of the APC
wanted to move the slot to Oyo, we set up a five-man
committee headed by the deputy governor, Bisi Egbeyemi,
to go and interface with the party’s leaders that are meeting
in Osun on the need to retain the position in Ekiti according
to the zoning reached at the last national convention.
“We articulated our position in a letter but, unfortunately,
some of our female members, who were aware of our going
to Osun and the purpose, decided on their own to follow
and make peaceful protest on the need for the party
hierarchy in the South West to respect the decision of the
national convention.”
Speaking further, he said even if the post of the national
deputy chairman (South-West) would be taken to another
state, “it must be at the next national convention; but for
now, it is our slot and we must produce Adebayo’s
successor – that is what the constitution of the party says
and it must be strictly adhered to”.
In a related development, the Lagos State chapter of the
APC said it was not going back on its quest to support
Tinubu’s presidential ambition in 2023.
The party also said it didn’t believe that Fayemi’s position
as the Governors’ Forum chairman will affect Tinubu’s
chances. Speaking with Daily Independent, Seye Oladejo,
the party’s Publicity Secretary, said: “The political story of
Governor Kayode Fayemi will not be complete without
acknowledging the role of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
“So, if some people now think he has political clout because
of his position as the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’
Forum, then let us wait until the fullness of time.
“I think it is still a bit hasty but now that they are bringing
the issue of 2023 to the front burner, as far as we are
concerned, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has paid his dues
and he has the requisite experience and passion to move
this nation forward.
The Lagos State APC is not backing down on that position,”
he said.

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