Barely 154 days after taking office, there is growing discontent in President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s camp, especially among his close allies and party elders, with his style of governance and some of his policy decisions.
According to findings by our correspondent, the situation has become more precarious with the alleged inability of his allies and party elders unable to have access to the President, advise him on their observations or even register their displeasures with some of his actions and inactions, reports The Guardian.
This development has led to insinuations that President Tinubu might be going through a similar scenario as his predecessor, former President Muhammadu Buhari, whose government was allegedly hijacked by a cabal, which controlled access to him.
The long list of disenchanted stakeholders include, All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders, especially from the Southwest and Northwest, Muslim stakeholders and Yoruba stakeholders, including elders and young professionals, as well as traditional rulers.
A series of policies introduced by President Tinubu since assuming office have left Nigerians facing varying degrees of economic hardships. Recall that only few days ago, the apex Yoruba socio-cultural body, Afenifere, called government’s attention to the state of insecurity across the country, urging that something be done to stem the ugly development.
Feelers from the president’s allies have it that they believe there is a compelling need for him to cautiously begin to look inward with a view to engaging with the people and assuaging their pains.
Within the political circle, especially among members of the ruling APC and regional stakeholders, there are deep-seated grievances that President Tinubu’s appointments have been lopsided and largely in favour of the Southwest geo-political zone.
Leaders of the party, especially from Southwest and Northwest, are said to be currently unhappy that their political interests have not been taken into consideration in all the appointments made so far by him, such that some of them have decided to remain silent and keep their distance from the presidency.
One of the political blocs said to be discontented with Tinubu’s style of appointment is the Southwest and Northwest Muslim stakeholders in the ruling party.
They allege being short-changed in spite of their votes giving Tinubu victory in the presidential poll.Specifically, there are concerns within the APC that President Tinubu might have abandoned some of the party elders, who are known to be his allies since 1999, and other party adherents who went to the trenches with him during the presidential primary election and campaigns.
Making further allusions to a new cabal in Aso Villa, which determines who gets what and who sees the President, party sources close to the presidency told our correspondent that this situation might be more devastating to governance than what operated under the immediate past administration.
Besides, this paper also reliably gathered that the excruciating high cost of living occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal, the exchange rate and other indices that are making life unbearable for Nigerians, is seriously unsettling some of Tinubu’s allies, who believe that things could be done differently to bring succour to the masses.
They expressed fears that should the economic crunch continue, aside from the incumbent administration losing credibility, the situation would rubbish the long-term integrity of the Southwest zone in terms of governance.
Within the APC, the discussion in some quarters is the current disposition of the likes of former Governors of Osun and Ogun states, Chief Bisi Akande and Aremo Segun Osoba, other elder statesmen and Yoruba sons and daughters, who served in the immediate past government, to President Tinubu’s administration.
While our correspondent observed that some of them have deliberately kept a distance from the government, sources close to the party said Chief Akande and Osoba and others who were considered as Tinubu’s Man Friday, are today more or less treated like outsiders under the incumbent administration.
Chief Akande, perceived as one of the closest allies to the president, is alleged to have lamented to party stalwarts on how difficult it has been for him to assess the Villa, let alone, having opportunity to discuss issues of importance or convey the feelings of Nigerians to Tinubu in recent times.
While it is not clear whether Akande is currently in the country, part of the octogenarian’s lamentation to close friends is that he has not even been consulted on some far reaching decisions of the administration.
For instance, a party source claimed that Akande was not carried along about Tinubu’s decision to use former Governor of Kano State, Umar Ganduje, as APC’s national chairman just as the former Osun State governor was said to have feigned ignorance of the selection of Ajibola Basiru, a senator, as the national secretary of APC.
Even the former governor of Ogun State, who happens to be one of the first elders to commend President Tinubu for having the boldness to remove fuel subsidy, may have also withdrawn.
Although the former managing director of Daily Times commendation on subsidy removal was seen as an honest anticipation the decision was well thought out and would break the monopoly and greed of oil barons, he is said to be finding it difficult to fathom how the economic situation is turning out today.
On another hand, members of the Lagos State APC Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC) are also reeling in pain, not just over appointments, but the way the country is running. One of them lamented how his children asked him, “Is this all that your Tinubu has to offer?”
Another party stalwart told our correspondent that instead of the expected enthusiasm that federal power has eventually shifted to the Southwest and is particularly in the hands of Tinubu, members of the ruling party in the region are unhappy.
For instance, the Oyo State chapter of APC is not pretending over how it has been short-changed in terms of ministerial appointments.A party member, who didn’t want his name in print, said, “What belonged to the chapter in terms of ministerial appointment was ceded to a member of another party, who in turn picked his aides even outside the party. There is no sign that such people are even making plans to return to the party to rebuild or organise it?”
It is the same feeling within the Ekiti, Ondo and Ogun state chapters of the APC. However, some party men are convinced President Tinubu will soon turn the table around, said whatever any of the Yoruba elders are experiencing under Tinubu now, serves them right.
According to one of the party faithful, because the majority of the elders have benefited unduly, “they cannot face the president to tell him the truth.”
Another member of APC, however, called for more time for President Tinubu, saying, “it is too early to criticise his government based on ethnic sentiments or economic performance.” He said though it may be true that several members of APC were disillusioned about Tinubu’s appointments, which according to him favoured more Christians than Muslims, “they are not enough reasons to fault or condemn Mr. President.”
He added: “The issue is that Tinubu is only trying to run away from the Muslim-Muslim ticket blackmail. But if you do a critical observation, the Southwest and Northwest Muslims, whose votes made Tinubu president, are really not benefitting unlike the South South and Southeast Christians, who contributed less to Tinubu’s victory. It is unimaginable that Tinubu offered the Ministry of Works and FERMA to Southeast despite the kind of antagonism he faced from that region.”
He also faulted the northerners, who are claiming that Tinubu is trying to Yorubanise governance. “If you take a critical look at Buhari’s government, the critical positions were given to Katsina State. Under Jonathan, the South South people also dominated the entire place. But that’s not the case under Tinubu.”
On the economy, a former General Secretary of Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Dr. Kunle Olajide, said the crisis of economy is a global challenge and Nigeria is not exempted.
He advised APC members to do away with sentiments over appointments and, instead, put the country above all other considerations. He assured that the incumbent administration would turn Nigeria around for good over time.
The President of Yoruba Ronu Leadership Forum, Akin Malaolu, is of the opinion that the economy today has exposed Tinubu administration’s inability to handle the mess.
He said, “we have studied his economic policies, his grandstanding and we have been proven right after critical assessments done, that both President Tinubu and his advisers are ignorant of the processes they are driving.
“The first error President Tinubu made was to completely ignore the areas of comparative advantage before liberalisation of the energy sector and our currency. He destroyed first what he should have secured, which were energy security with subsidy and national currency, the Naira. Primarily, he should have focused on productivity, particularly, in the area of energy security, domestic production of energy sources, increasing agricultural activities and securing the export platforms, and fighting insecurity in a decent order.”
Yoruba Ronu added that the main focus of productivity is industrialisation, putting money into the private sector, creating foundries and starting machine tools factories to assist industrialisation and employment. “This area of comparative advantage will assist the economy, increase the activities of small and medium scale industries and earn foreign exchange through exports,” it added.