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Politics and Policy

Buhari Has Sided With Tinubu To Preserve Himself And The APC. What Will Oyegun’s Next Move Be?

President Buhari, at the APC NEC meeting on Tuesday, called for a reverse of the motion to extend the tenure of the current set of party executives by 12 months after their tenure expires on June 30.

In a statement he read himself, the president cited possible legitimacy crises that could arise from judicial injunctions filed on the basis of the deviation from the mandates of the party’s Constitution as regards the nomination and elections of principal officers. The John Odigie-Oyegun led ExCO was set to remain in the helms of the party’s affairs till after the elections next year, overseeing the primaries that will produce APC’s nominees, including, we can assume, Buhari himself.

Hence, the decision to roll back support for the February 27 motion is principally a move in preserving the validity of his candidacy come 2019. An illegal ExCO overseeing and appending signatures to the nomination forms of intending candidates could provide legal ammunition to discredit and disqualify candidates of the party. Such a scenario would certainly be an embarrassment of the highest proportions, capable of ripping the party apart as aspirants would have to port to legitimate platforms to see through their electoral ambitions.

Of course, it is also a decision taken to show solidarity with Bola Tinubu and re-align with the former Lagos Governor’s indispensable political capital. Despite standing by Oyegun as the unopposed choice to lead the party as chairman in 2014, the relationship between “Chairman” and “national leader” has soured past its point of no return. The public letter to Buhari to allege Oyegun’s sabotage of his efforts was Tinubu’s show of force to publicly denounce his party’s chairman and draw the line for Buhari to choose between them who he values more. That Buhari would not be president without Tinubu’s support is common knowledge and anything short of the same level of enthusiasm and mobilization from the Jagaban will, more than anything else, effect Buhari’s return to Daura.

The reverse is a swift uppercut to Mr Oyegun whose competence ratings will likely take an hit. But it should not spell his end; he has only been denied an easy pass to remaining in charge, not totally excluded. Should he desire to fight on, it would be within his rights to re-contest for the position of the Chairman as the party’s constitution provides for a second term.

Conscious that the President’s interests going into re-election year are more in pleasing Tinubu than in having him retain his place, Oyegun’s disincentive to play the cards he holds outweigh the ambition to prove himself an elite politician. But that is if he is still an APC man, as per putting the interests of the party and the Buhari re-election before his. Otherwise, the governors who supported his motion may be actually willing to keep him in charge.

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