President Muhammadu Buhari is an honorable man, a principled soldier turned politician. Asiwaju Tinubu has been his most important partner in this successful rout of the PDP and soldiers like BUHARI do not betray their comrades. It is a badge of honor.
The same tenacity and boldness currently being exhibited by the national leader of the APC Asiwaju Tinubu were the qualities necessary to confront the PDP. Those who have benefited from it must continue to live with it. Buhari silently understands that. Those who are urging him to give the Asiwaju a bloody nose are being selfish. They were not at the table when both leaders worked out their rules of engagement. Buhari continues to preserve Tinubu’s role as national leader of the APC, second only to the influence of the commander-in-chief. The president’s position remains pre-eminent. He leads not just the APC but the greater majority of Nigeria including the PDP. Again BUHARI understands that. This is his second time around the block.
The president is right in his decision not to get his fingers soiled in the National Assembly-APC imbroglio. The APC leadership and the National Assembly leadership are simply negotiating their terms of engagement. After the temper tantrums, every one will come to terms with the reality. No one owns the commander-in-chief. No party can not dictate to the National Assembly. Parties can provide guidelines for their senators as long as the party leadership respects the fact that it does not own the party. Party leaders are stake holders just like their members in the National Assembly. Ultimately, it is more constructive for the party leadership to build consensus than to read the riot act. The fictionalization of the PDP in 2010 should have proved this. The APC leadership needs to democratize its terms of engagement with the leadership of the National Assembly. Bullying just won’t work.
The party leadership as led by the National leader Asiwaju Tinubu and the party chairman must realize that APC is not a communist party. It is not a dictatorship of the leadership. It must understand that the party is peopled by other heavyweight stake-holders who also delivered chunks of the Nigerian constituency to make Buhari’s victory a reality. To ride roughshod over them will ultimately be disastrous.
No matter what else may be said about the National leader of the APC, he remains the most creative force in the party. He has marched from beating back President Obasanjo’s designs when he was the governor of Lagos to building the ACN into the dominant party in South West politics and then advancing incredibly to raising a mega party in an alliance with Buhari ultimately overwhelming the unwieldy PDP and becoming the first national leader of an opposition party to achieve such a feat, many thanks to a president who lacked the heart and skills of a lion.
APC needs Tinubu. Buhari needs Tinubu but Tinubu must learn to share. It was the sacrifice he made as political leader of the Yoruba when he took ACN into the merger. He made the same sacrifice, giving up the VP ticket to ensure the Buhari’s success. It is time for another sacrifice. He can’t quite be absolutely the national leader though he will continue to leverage on the gratitude of the generalissimo. He saw the future. Now he must pay for it.