The Oasis Reporters
November 29, 2017
Former dictator turned democrat, President Muhammadu Buhari is becoming more and more politically savvy, and in new rapprochement, gets chummy again with Bola Ahmed Tinubu and both of them departed Abuja for Abidjan Tuesday, ahead of the 5th European Union-African Union (EU-AU) Summit.
political observers describe this as a new rapprochement in view of the 2019 general election as fences are being mended, egos are being massaged and discarded friends are needed again.
Therefore it is time once again to call Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, “the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC)”, and make him very happy, for he as political strongman in Nigeria’s South West, is a veritable ticket to winning the national election. Ordinarily, apart from making new business contacts on the sidelines of the summit, Tinubu has no role to play there.
With the recent exit of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar from the APC, as much as President Muhammadu Buhari might scoff and make fun of, it is not unusual for him to be worried over the development because Atiku Abubakar is from the angry and boko Haram ravaged territory of Nigeria’s north east, that has always played second fiddle to Buhari’s north west.
If they pull out of an alliance with the north west, without the south west in Buhari’s kitty, he can as well kiss the presidency goodbye. The south south and the south east are no go areas for him politically at this time.
Even the North Central region that has borne the brunt of the murderous blood thirsty Fulani herdsmen terrorists have not ensured any robust love for President Buhari, because he has done nothing to protect the farmers of the North Central, neither has he been able to neutralize the terrorists , especially as they are viewed, rightly or wrongly as his kinsmen in search of free grazing land.
Like the terrorists, Buhari is also viewed as a Fulani man
Also on the entourage of the president are two state governors — Alhaji Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar (Bauchi) and Mr. Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom).
Buhari is expected to participate in working sessions and meet with African heads of state and their European Union (EU) counterparts during the summit.
At the recent National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting, APC leaders protested to the president, saying they had been marginalised in the APC-led federal government, especially in federal government’s appointments.
Buhari was said to have promised to make more appointments to pacify the party leaders and reach out to others who may have felt offended by his action or inaction.
Until recently, Tinubu was an unfamiliar visitor in the State House as he was not even part of the party delegation led to the Presidential Villa by APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, to welcome the president back to the country from his 50-day medical vacation in August.
But in the last one month, Tinubu had visited the Villa thrice, a development which had not been the trend since 2015.
Until last month, Tinubu’s only notable visit to the Villa occurred shortly after the advent of Buhari as Nigeria’s president along with former interim National Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande, ahead of the composition of his cabinet in 2015.
However, ahead of the national caucus meeting of APC last month, Buhari had invited Tinubu to the Villa for a closed-door meeting which lasted for about an hour.
After the meeting, he told journalists that insinuation of a rift between him and Buhari was fake news. He later returned to the Villa later that night for the caucus meeting.
Again, Tinubu was in the Villa on November 16, when he served as the keynote speaker at the launch of a book on the mid-term scorecard of the Buhari administration authored by his media advisers, Mr. Femi Adesina, Mr. Garba Shehu and Mr. Laolu Akande.
Much earlier, the former governor who was deeply traumatised by the move by his party hierarchy to allegedly short-change his candidate, Chief Segun Abraham, at the 2016 governorship primary election in Ondo State, had more or less led a solitary life since 2015.
The volume of the trauma resulted in his call for the resignation of Oyegun as the party’s national chairman at the time for allegedly deploying the party’s strong backing for the emergence of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu as the party’s candidate and his eventual election.
Also on the president’s entourage were the Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama, the Minister of Youths and Sports Solomon Dalung and his Interior Minister counterpart, Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazzau (rtd.); National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Munguno (rtd); and Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora Affairs, Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa.
The president, who was said to have arrived Abidjan at 6.16 pm Nigerian time Tuesday, was received at the Felix Houphet Boigny Airport by the Ivoirian President, Mr. Alassane Ouattara.
According to information, one Miss Emmanuella Ejim presented a bouquet of flowers to the president as an expression that he was welcome to Abidjan.
The presentation was followed by a cultural display by Ivorian drummers after which he proceeded to the Nigerian Ambassador’s residence.
He also met with the Nigerian community in Abidjan later Tuesday.
Buhari is scheduled to participate in working sessions during the summit on the theme: “Investing in the Youth for a Sustainable Development.”
On the margins of the summit, he is billed to meet with a number of African heads of state and their European Union (EU) counterparts.
Buhari is also prepared to maximise the opportunity of the summit to express Nigeria’s preparedness to work with African and European countries to address the myriad of challenges confronting both continents including peace and security.
The president is also scheduled to be hosted to an official luncheon by the government of Cote d’Ivoire along with other visiting heads of state and government and other delegations.
It was learnt Tuesday night that 83 heads of state representing 54 African countries and 28 European countries are gracing the summit.
Additional material sourced from ThisDay Newspapers