A leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, has expressed frustrations with developments in his party, declaring that the effects of the desperation of those he described as overambitious politicians exceeded the fatality of the raging coronavirus.
In a widely circulated statement issued ahead of the planned emergency meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC), Tinubu expressed dismay at the way the provisions of the APC constitution were allegedly being breached by some chieftains of the party due to their personal ambitions.
He lamented that the political misunderstanding between the suspended national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, and Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State had become a rallying point for “those desperate for 2023” to distract President Muhammadu Buhari from governance.
Tinubu stated: “It is no secret that the chairman and Edo Governor Obaseki are in dispute. This is unfortunate. However, the party has moved through proper procedures within the proper organs to hopefully resolve this spat.
“The chairman has been a tireless campaigner and mobilizer for the party. He has steered the party through difficult elections. His contributions should not be undervalued now that the bulk of elections are behind us. To do so would be an act of ingratitude.”
Tinubu disclosed that “the plotters launched their attack solely because they perceive the chairman as an obstacle to their 2023 ambitions,” stressing that “people went to court knowing full well that the party’s constitution prohibits such action because these people had not yet exhausted all internal disciplinary procedures.
“We even had a national deputy secretary improperly calling for an NEC meeting on the basis that he believed himself to be the acting national chairman. Clearly, this man would not have summoned the temerity to make such a move had he not been instigated by powerful individuals, whom he thought would reward or, at least, protect him for committing the wrongful act.”
The former Lagos State governor noted that due to alert responses of Lagos and Ogun states’ governments, actively supported by the federal machinery, Nigeria was able to quickly identify and isolate the two cases of the novel coronavirus 19.
“This action, thus far, has stopped the spread of the disease into the wider community as has been seen in other nations. We are grateful to God and to all those involved in the response effort, particularly the brave and committed medical teams on the frontline.
“While corona has been presently contained in Nigeria, we must be alert to another sickness that seems rampant within a certain segment of society. That sickness is old ambition-virus 2023. This illness afflicts many in the political class along with their allies in the media.
“Those touched by this malady find that their ability to tell time and discern the difference between the present and the future has been strongly impaired. The carriers of this sickness are confused as to the very season our nation now finds itself.
“They conflate things, which no sensible person would conflate. The primary symptom of their malady is the driving tendency to believe the events of 2023 will be decided before we even exit the year 2020,” Tinubu said.
The APC leader, who observed that all the things said and done under the circumstances were “geared toward obsessive jockeying for position to control and manipulate a race still three years away,” added that in doing so, the desperadoes recklessly undermined the very party, which they claimed to serve and weakened the administration of President Buhari to which they claimed to be loyal.
Alluding to Governor Obaseki and other APC stalwarts, particularly members of the South-South leadership caucus allegedly moving for the removal of Oshiomhole from office as national chairman, Tinubu said: “those engaged in these manoeuvres see themselves as clever or cunning.”
“In a well-structured society, people come to understand that the time for politics is seasonal; it is periodic. The responsibilities of governance are what are perpetual. Many of our politicians sadly have inverted this reality.
“Politics and electioneering are secondary to governance, for they are but tools of governance, the platforms by which one demonstrates his or her worthiness to lead a great people. The more a person obsesses over and constantly engages in political manoeuvring is a warning sign.
“Not only is he prone to the 2023 virus, he likely has little to offer in the way of good governance. He wants to hold public office that you might serve him not he serves you. For if he had adequately studied and been acquainted with the ways and means of progressive governance, he would be focused on that important task at the present moment. He certainly would not drown himself and all around him in harmful political intrigue,” Tinubu said.
To him, it is against that backdrop that the alleged ploys and plots to undermine the APC national chairman should be viewed. “The chairman is human; thus, he has his merits as well as his flaws. Yet his humanity cannot be grounds for his dismissal. If so, the position will forever go vacant.”
While insisting that those afflicted with the 2023 virus do a grave disservice to President Buhari and his administration, the APC leader lamented: “Many of us expended sweat, tears, toil and sleepless nights to build this party. Our personal sacrifices were not insignificant. We built this party not simply as a vehicle for personal ambition. We built the party because we saw it as perhaps the only enduring hope to bring progressive governance to this nation. Those who now seek to abuse the party by using it as their personal device do it great harm.
“They should not be allowed to sacrifice this collective enterprise at the altar of their self-aggrandizement. Somehow, some way they should find in themselves the bearing to adhere to the democratic spirit on which the party was founded. To be an APC member means more than merely carrying a membership card. It means to believe in a set of ideals and principles geared to our highest purpose as a party and a nation.”
The former Lagos governor said that the president was faced with many challenges, fighting hard on security to keep the population safe and pushing for economic reforms that would engender future sustainable growth, adding that his disdain for corruption remained unwavering.
“Add to it now the corona crisis and its resultant social as well as economic impact. Politicians express loyalty to him but the words of too many of our politicians are like butter under a burning sun; they melt quickly away. Better to be loyal in deed.
“Instead of trying to manipulate party and other mechanisms solely to their political gain, it is time to shelve political intrigue for the time being. It is time for all party members to truly see what is at stake and work with Mr. President for the collective good of the nation.
“This means we must rally around President Buhari. Instead of everyone saying they are working for the party and nation but going their separate ways based on their selfish designs, we must help him build a stronger national consensus on policies that will ensure safety and bring greater prosperity,” he appealed.
Tinubu remarked that he had said what was on his mind, hoping that “some people may leave the 2023 frenzy and commit themselves to the harder yet more rewarding task of improving progressive governance, whether within the party or at the local, state or federal levels.”