18 Feb 2018

Tinubu Begins APC Peace Shuttle....See His First Action

The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on Saturday, visited Sokoto as part of efforts to reconcile warring factions of the APC in the North-West.

Tinubu, who is the Head of the Presidential Reconciliation Committee of the APC, met Governor Aminu Tambuwal and his predecessor, Senator Aliyu Wamakko.

Others at the meeting included the Deputy Governor, Ahmed Aliyu, and National Vice-Chairman of the APC (North-West), Malam Inuwa Abdulkadir.

The former Lagos State governor, who was accompanied by some APC chieftains, held a two-hour meeting with his hosts at Wamakko’s residence in the Gawun Nama area of the state capital.

A source told one of our correspondents that although there was no crisis within the APC in Sokoto State, Tinubu came to consult with the stalwarts on how to solve the crisis in the North-West, a zone with the highest number of registered voters.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the crisis in Kano and Kaduna states, which have the highest number of voters in the North, was giving President Muhammadu Buhari a cause for concern.

He said, “There is crisis in Kano State between Governor Abdullahi Ganduje and his predecessor, Rabiu Kwankwaso. Also, there is crisis between Governor Nasir el-Rufai and Senator Shehu Sani (in Kaduna).

“You will recall that Senator Wamakko, as governor in 2015, headed Buhari’s Presidential Campaign in the North-West. So, Tinubu went to seek his advice on how to go about his task of reconciling the aggrieved parties.”

Speaking briefly to reporters after the meeting, Tinubu said he was in Sokoto for a family meeting.

“Family members meet regularly to talk to each other and I’m here for that purpose,” he stated.

Speaking with SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday, Sani, who said the APC panel had yet to reach out to him, expressed confidence in the Tinubu-led reconciliation.

He, however, expressed doubt on the party’s governors cooperating with the APC national leader.

Sani said, “There is hope. The committee can do a lot of damage control but it will depend on the governors cooperating with him (Tinubu).”

However, a source within the APC told one of our correspondents that the refusal of the Buhari government to release a new list of appointees to boards was already causing a fresh crisis in the party.

The source noted that after the outrage that trailed Buhari’s recent appointment of dead people into the boards of Federal Government’s agencies, the President had ordered the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, to review the entire list.

However, nearly two months after the list was released, the appointees were yet to resume.

One of the appointees said, “The President gave Tinubu a huge task but placed many obstacles in his way. Nearly two months after the President’s board appointments were made, no one has been able to resume.

“The President also promised to make more ministerial appointments but he has failed to do so. We are less than 12 months to the elections. Tinubu is only trying to make peace but he cannot make any promises.

“How will he address people’s grievances when he has no power to make any promises?”

However, a former interim Chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande, called on members of the party to support Tinubu in his new task.

Akande said, “Serving the nation has complex colours which constantly dazzle distant onlookers. The job at hand is not about Buhari. It is not about position sharing. It is not about ethnic nationalism. It is about the strength and the beauty of one’s deeds at one time or the other. It is about our party – the APC – Buhari or no Buhari.

“Let’s all join with Buhari and Bola Tinubu side-by-side to make the APC stronger and more attractive for other generations to use as a vehicle for political emancipation.”

He said those causing trouble in the party or threatening to leave were not genuine members of the APC but only came to reap where they did not sow after causing trouble in their former parties.

Akande added, “Times like these call for sacrifice and service. Of note is the saying that a real man, a hero is known by where it stands in the time of adversity. Bola Tinubu, myself and President Buhari stand together in this effort to save APC from itself.”

 Ex-Lagos governor moves to reconcile party’s NWC

Meanwhile, fresh facts about what transpired behind closed doors at the meeting held Tinubu and the Chief John Odigie-Oyegun-led National Working Committee of the APC have emerged.

SUNDAY PUNCH gathered in Abuja, on Saturday, that the crisis of confidence among members of the NWC and the need for President Muhammadu Buhari to show greater interest in party affairs formed the crux of Wednesday’ meeting.

A leading member of the party, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told our correspondent in Abuja that the party chiefs “had very frank discussions.”

According to the source, complaints about the state of affairs within the party and issues bordering on party administration, which led to infighting among some members of the NWC, featured prominently.

The infighting was the subject of a disputed internal memo which recently featured in some sections of the media.

“We told Asiwaju how we felt. Some of the crisis we have in some of our state chapters can be traced to the poor handling of the situation by leadership,” the source said.

Another member of the NWC, who was at the meeting, said, “What we told Asiwaju were things he had heard unofficially. We knew he had all these information before he wrote the letter he earlier wrote to the party national chairman.

“We all know how much he (Asiwaju) himself has suffered since we formed the government (in 2015). Like the leader that he is, after patiently listening to us, what I could pick from what he said was that we all stand to lose if we don’t fix these problems before heading for the next elections.”

Asked if issues raised had been resolved, the source said, “Like we told you after our meeting, consultations are still ongoing.

“These issues are not issues you can resolve after one meeting.”

In response to a question on whether contents of a recent memo, written by some members of the NWC, listing a number of grievances against the party leadership, were discussed, the source said, “The memo itself was not directly the subject of discussions.

“However, there was no way we could avoid referring to some of the issues which border on party administration. I cannot give you details because it may jeopardise our peace efforts.”

The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdulllahi, while responding to enquiries by SUNDAY PUNCH on the subject, said those who purportedly signed the said memo had disowned it, adding that the matter was not discussed.

He said, “They have all denied it; so, why would we discuss it? Even if they wrote it, once they disown it, there is nothing to discuss.”

Also, the APC National Vice-Chairman (North-East), Mustapha Salihu, said while it was true that the party, like every human organisation, had internal issues, the party was dealing with those issues.

He said, “Some of the issues raised in the purported memo are not issues that are disturbing us. There may be issues we may want to discuss as times goes on, but some of the issues raised there are not even relevant because of the situation we are in.

“We know some people are trying to cause skirmishes here and there, to cause division. Because of that, you have to be very careful about the small, small papers that will come from here and there.

“Some of the issues raised in the said memo are germane and may be part of things we will be discussing as time goes on.”

Although Tinubu is yet to make public the list of those he intends work with on the peace panel, he has, since his meeting with the APC NWC, held a meeting with former Adamawa State Governor, Murtala Nyako.

A top ranking member of the APC explained that Asiwaju chose to meet with Nyako and some stakeholders from the North-East states to mitigate the possible damage that could be caused by the defection of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar to the opposition People Democratic Party.

When contacted, Tinubu’s Media Adviser, Mr. Tunde Rahman explained that the meeting his principal held with members of the NWC of the APC was not about the said memo.

On the meeting Tinubu held with Nyako, Rahman said, “Yes, he met with ex-governor Nyako in Abuja. And by now, you are aware he was in Sokoto yesterday (Saturday) where he met former governor Aliyu Wamakko and His Excellency, Gov. Aminu Tambuwal.

“Like Asiwaju said after the meeting, it was a family meeting. You see, he is taking things step-by-step. What is particularly heart-warming is wherever he goes and whichever party leader he meets, the response has been most encouraging.

“Most of the party leaders and members are saying given his pedigree, I mean his integrity, democratic credentials and political sagacity, he is eminently qualified to make a success of this daunting task.”

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