The ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, is not in its best of mood as major forces within the party have split the party into three major factions ahead of the 2019 general election.
According to a report by New Telegraph, the APC has split into Bola Tinubu camp, the ‘Abuja group’, and the Muhammadu Buhari loyalists. There is an intense battle for the soul of the party and it appears as if the Buhari camp is gaining a surprise upper hand.
The President Muhammadu Buhari group, to everyone’s surprise has former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker Yakubu Dogara and some state governors.
Members of the Tinubu camp are Chief Bisi Akande, ex-Interim national chairman of the APC and a few APC governors.
The ‘Abuja group’ has Kaduna governor Nasir el-Rufai, Babatunde Fashola, Rotimi Amaechi, and some other ministers as members.
It is speculated that the Abuja El-Rufai group has two goals –2019 elections and to take over the structures of the party in the South- West.
Governor El-Rufai, is reportedly working with governor Ibikunle Amosun-led South-West block to take control of the party structures edging out Bola Tinubu.
According to the report, the Tinubu- Bisi Akande camp is working on how to hold onto the South- West front
The Ondo state governorship primaries of the party exposed the hidden crack in the party as the Abuja group purportedly worked against Tinubu and ensured that their preferred aspirant, Rotimi Akeredolu, emerged as the party’s candidate in the November 20 poll.
The same force that played out at the Ondo state primaries also fought Tinubu’s choice, James Faleke, as replacement for the late Abubakar Audu, who died before the final announcement of the Kogi State governorship election result. The Abuja group, with Buhari’s loyalists, influenced the choice of Yahaya Bello as late Audu’s replacement for the supplementary election.
Also, Tinubu and Amosun fell apart during the constitution of the Buhari cabinet over who takes the Ogun State slot. While Tinubu recommended his former finance commissioner, Wale Edun, Amosun opted for his finance commissioner, Kemi Adeosun who emerged minister of finance.
The relationship didn’t get any better when Tinubu facilitated the return of former governor of Ogun state, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, back to the APC with Amosun considering it a plot to fight him. Again, the governorship ambition of Senator Solomon Adeola representing Lagos West in 2019 has further ruptured their relationship.
While Amosu is leading the front in South-West, Rotimi Amaechi is coordinating the South-South axis of the Abuja group while el- Rufai is working with some northern governors to rally the north for the APC ahead of 2019.
“What exactly is Tinubu’s sin, no one has been told. How can someone who played a part in the electoral victories of APC at virtually all levels suddenly become a threat?” an associate of Tinubu asked. “We know that there are forces within the party trying hard to weaken Tinubu’s support base in the party. The party primaries in Ondo State was just one of the battles against us. The whole process was manipulated in such a way that Tinubu’s candidate did not emerge.
“They succeeded in Kogi. Now in Ondo, they seem to be having their way. But wait. Who loses in the long run? It’s the party. Not Tinubu. “In spite of our sacrifices for the party, some forces are pushing hard to turn us to onlookers in the party. Well, we are watching how events unfold. The only thing is that we were instrumental to the emergence of this government and we won’t abandon the ship,” a loyalist of Tinubu was quoted by New Telegraph.