*Saraki, Tinubu, Atiku, Generals, ex-governors on the radar
*How Buhari is being forced to play along
By Olajide Fashikun
Except there is a superior reason, there are chances that the mega party that has been on the front burner ahead of the 2019 Presidential election may be coming out of the ashes of the current Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) may be known as the Action Democratic Party(ADP).
Politicians have started to map out all the terrains and realignment scheme. The name of the new party has been in the oven in the last couple of days and from our checks, reliably, this may be the new baby to be christened and used to run the battle for the control of power in the next Republic.
According to our source, the nucleus of the mega party drawn from all the six geo-political zones are converging in Abuja on Monday, 19th December, 2016 to firm up on a name for the new party. If the Action Democratic Party (ADP) which is the current proposal sails through, then, the structure, documents and other necessary functions would be forwarded to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to commence the process of full registration.
The source quipped to www.gongnews.net that, “we will determine who would be the pro tem Chairman. Our proposed party will come out from the ashes of PDP and APC. We did it to bring up the APC. We are set to do it again. This time around, we have concluded our home work.”
Major gladiators to drive the new party: This plan has been on the burner for almost a year plus and that has been the major factors for the dissonance within the two major political parties in the country. The first personality on the list ironically is the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, as the beautiful bride of the major agitators. His grip on the Senate is seen as a major plus. His record of ‘destroying the PDP in the run-up to the 2015 election is legendary and instructive.
Meanwhile, promoters of the mega party, are moving to ensure that the party has a complete national outlook with faces from all geopolitical zones on the long list of members. On the list are some former governors mostly of the former ruling party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
There is about a score and half of retired Generals and former military administrators with political bent also on the list.
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, were prominently mentioned. Though, Tinubu issued a statement last Monday insisting he would remain in the party he helped to build.
The hallmark of the political intrigues: Of significance is the fact that though no word has leaked from the Atiku camp on his disposition or otherwise but it is a fact that, Atiku and Saraki have a working relationship and collaboration just before the National Assembly leadership election in 2015. It would be recalled that his PDM supporters within the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) closed ranks to throw up Saraki as Senate President as against the inclination of the Tinubu/Muhammadu Buhari tendency in the ruling APC.
That collaboration measured against the current time bomb represented the stubbornness of Atiku’s boy, Timi Frank, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, is instructive. Two, Frank has repeatedly stood for defending all the attacks against Saraki.
Buhari’s associates, following the gubernatorial fallout with Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu in Kogi and Ondo States, have opted to work with Saraki towards ensuring the realisation of the President’s second term ambition in 2019. Towards that end, Saraki, it was learned, has become a key political strategist within the Buhari political tendency and was instrumental to the strategic political moves that helped win the Ondo State governorship election for the APC which produced Olurotimi Akeredolu (SAN).
Political pundits will see the prism of the positioning of Saraki in the APC. His political godson, Bolaji Abdullahi, was named to take up the position of National Publicity Secretary, a position vacated by Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
“Lai Mohammed, a lawyer and former guber candidate in Kwara, was former Chief of Staff to Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu in his first term in Lagos. When Mohammed moved upstairs to become Minister of Information, the implication was that Asiwaju and the Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN) bloc had no one left in the party’s executive hierarchy.
They also don’t want the Atiku boy, Timi Frank, who is the Acting Publicity Secretary, to step in. Rather, it is Saraki that now has his man as the voice and face of the party. The Tinubu camp, it was authoritatively learnt, are making regular contacts with the Saraki camp towards projecting a common front towards the 2019 contests.
Issue now is, where does all these intrigues leave the Muhammadu Buhari camp? Most of his associates are rallying round the old peg of the CPC bloc. They are studying the movements to determine the final onslaught. That is part of why the Saraki/Tinubu camps ensured the continued delay in the confirmation of Ibrahim Magu as the EFCC Chairman who may be used to railroad them into jail using the ‘anti-corruption toga’.
The Presidency has recently been tilting backwards to please the Senate President and sometimes make unusual sacrifices to please him. It would be recalled how Saraki railroaded the Senate to frontally attack Buhari’s choice without consultation and found a flimsy excuse to drop Pastor Yissa Benjamin, a former Speaker of Kwara State House of Assembly who was nominated to the board of the National Communications Commission (NCC).
Since that act, the Presidency kept mum. They turned the other way and pretended all was well. This is a deep political victory for Saraki and a massive slap on the Presidency. This act is likely to inform the next type of relationships in the future. The list of non career Ambassadors that the Senate rejected is also a second prism to look at how things will shape out. Good enough, the media glitz is not lost.