2019: Tinubu Begs Saraki, Tambuwal, Kwankwaso |The Republican News

By Felix Nwaneri

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There are indications that the presidency and the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have finally opted to beg chieftains and major stakeholders of the ruling party, who are threatening to dump the platform ahead of the 2019 general elections. New Telegraph exclusively learnt from party sources at the weekend that the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is reaching out to the aggrieved party members and doing everything possible to convince them to shelve their plan. In the past few days, Tinubu has been meeting and begging aggrieved party stakeholders.

It was particularly gathered that Tinubu, who heads the party’s National Reconciliation Committee, is not only appealing to the APC stalwarts to stay, but to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s government and the ruling party in the 2019 general elections.

Buhari had charged Tinubu to resolve disagreements among party members, party leadership and political office holders in some states of the federation. So far, Tinubu has met separately with the members of the APC National Working Committee (NWC); Senate President, Bukola Saraki; former Governors Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano). He also met with the immediate past governor of Sokoto State, Senator Aliyu Wamakko and his predecessor, Aminu Tambuwal, at the weekend.

Though details of some of the meetings were not made public, multiple sources said Tinubu is using the opportunity to appeal to the APC chieftains to stay in the party and support Buhari’s government. The party leaders lamented that Buhari alienated them from the government they sacrificed to enthrone.

“Tinubu is appealing that they should stay; not just to stay, but to support the President’s second term bid. He is also begging them to cease fire, come closer and that whatever it is, especially the issue of 2019, would be negotiated,” he said. When asked what have been the responses of those the APC national leader has so far met, the source said: “Most of those he has met welcomed him, but that doesn’t mean that the issues at stake have been resolved. Body language would be smile and ‘we are still with you,’ but don’t take that to the bank.”

He added: “Nobody will come out to basically tell you what his or her grievances are, but reconciliation is not a one-day thing. It cannot be at the first meeting and it is beyond meeting with state excos of the party. It requires oneon- one meetings with those involved. So, we are expecting that more meetings would be fixed, and where there are issues, would be discussed at length.”

On the conditions the aggrieved party chieftains gave for their continued stay in the APC, the source said they are open to negotiations, but that the last straw would be if the party leadership insists that there won’t be a convention to elect a presidential candidate for the 2019 elections. His words: “If Buhari says he will not run in 2019, they will stay in the APC and support whoever wins the presidential primaries. If he says that he will run and wants the party to endorse him as the sole candidate, they will move out.

If he says he will run and that the party will have primaries; they will stay and fight him at the primaries and that is what he is afraid of. You know that anything is possible in a primary election.” Expressing the fear that the Tinubu committee may run into hitches, another source said a lot of things have gone wrong within the ruling party and that most chieftains have made up their minds on the President before now.

His word: “Too many things have gone wrong and reconciliation, less than one year to the elections, is likely not to yield the desired result because people made up their minds about Buhari a year ago and it is difficult to heal the wound of three years.

“Those with the President are practically unmarketable. The expectation was high at the inauguration of this government, but the President has underperformed. So, I think Tinubu is just playing along because he was the first victim. He knows that the damage has been done.

“Tinubu also knows that he was sidelined and there is no guarantee that things will improve if the President comes back. So, except he (Tinubu) extracts something really big, he would just be doing a paper work. And I must tell you that he would have his Plan B. “How do you reconcile the various factions?

There are so many aggrieved people and how do you recruit them for the next elections? Even if you succeed in recruiting them, the tendency is that they will work half-heartedly.” Buhari, on his part, is said to have realised that a lot of party chieftains are not happy with him and has also resorted to appeal for their support. “Tinubu is begging aggrieved party chieftains who are not happy with the president and APC. These people sacrificed a lot to build the party and they cannot because of one man, who got it wrong, allow it to go down. But, now that he (Buhari) has realised his mistakes, the belief now is let’s rebuild the party for him to come back,” one of the sources said. (New Telegraph)

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