EXCLUSIVE | You are Not the National Leader Of APC, Buhari Downgrades Tinubu
President Muhammadu Buhari has told former Lagos State governor and chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu that he is not the national leader of APC, SIGNAL can report.
The development which occurred during a dinner event at the Aso Rock presidential villa while President Buhari was playing host to APC chieftains and members of the National Assembly may have finally put to rest controversy surrounding the actual status of Tinubu in the APC party hierarchy.
Prior to the election of Muhammadu Buhari as President, Tinubu was revered, regarded and addressed within the APC as “national leader of the party.”
Buhari’s declaration on Monday was said to have been ignited by Senate President Bukola Saraki who while observing protocol in the course of making his remarks, addressed Tinubu as “the national leader of APC.”
According to an informed source who did not want to be named, Buhari immediately seized the moment to “set the records straight” taking his turn to speak immediately after the Senate President’s remarks.
Buhari, SIGNAL gathered was blunt, brutal and straight to the point right before Tinubu’s eyes and to the hearing of all. “Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, even though the Senate President addressed you as the National Leader of APC, you are not the national leader of the party. You are one of the national leaders of the APC”, Buhari said to the consternation of onlookers.
Asked why President Buhari may have been forced to make such a comment at an open event, the source disclosed that it may not be unconnected to bickering within the APC over Tinubu’s increasing status as perhaps the most influential power broker in APC, a development close confidants of President Buhari are said to be uncomfortable with.
“President Buhari’s close aides and confidants are not comfortable with the idea of Tinubu parading himself as national leader of the APC. They believe only the President deserves to carry the full weight of that title. It is a silent cold war that has been brewing but nobody knew the President would take it that personal by actually voicing it out face to face with Tinubu. It appeared petty actually but again, you need to understand that the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar was also seated when this happened. The President may have been uncomfortable with allowing Tinubu get away with being addressed as national leader of APC in the presence of other senior leaders of the party like Atiku and then the national chairman, John Oyegun who was also present. Buhari’s silence on the matter may have been misconstrued as an acceptance of Tinubu as the national leader of APC and he didn’t want that to happen”, the source said.
The idea of ‘national leader of the party’ became a ‘big deal’ in modern Nigerian democracy during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo who invented the title and reserved it for the office of the President under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government. It soon became institutionalized within the party’s leadership hierarchy and has now filtered into the fabric of the current ruling APC.
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