Why Senior Lawyers In APC Ganged Against Tinubu
Nigeria News beams light on the love lost between Bola Tinubu and some of his former allies.
Apart from the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, most of the prominent members of the All Progressives Congress, APC who are lawyers are having frosty relationship with the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
From the time Tinubu had refused to endorse one of them Rotimi Akeredolu for the Ondo State governorship race, the lawyers had ganged up against their former mentor.
Prior to the APC primaries of the Ondo state, it was clear that Tinubu was in support of Olusola Oke, one of the aspirants, also a lawyer contesting against Akeredolu.
To Tinubu, Akeredolu was a bad product, having lost to the former state governor, Segun Mimiko in the previous election. The national leader would prefer Oke but met a stiff opposition within the party as the Senior Advocates within the party rose against him.
Among those who would not succumb to Tinubu’s imposition were the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Dr. Muiz Banire, the party National Legal Adviser, the Minister of Solid Minerals, Kayode Fayemi (not a lawyer) and many others.
Akeredolu was the former President of the Nigeria Bar Association, a senior advocate. To his learned colleagues, the best they could do was to give their moral and financial supports to their former leader during the primaries.
The primaries came and Akeredolu won but the other aspirants kicked, alleging that the primaries was a sham and should be cancelled and rescheduled.
While the noise about the fraud was becoming high, the electoral committee of the party set up a panel to probe the allegation but rather than waiting for the outcome of the investigative panel, the National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun went ahead to submit the name of Akeredolu to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC as the party candidate.
Infuriated by Oyegun’s action, Tinubu asked him to resign for flouting the party’s regulation and going against the party’s internal democracy.
The lawyers rose in Oyegun’s defense, threatening to expose Tinubu’s misdeeds while trying to impose Oke on the party. Their arguments were that Tinubu was angry not because of the alleged fraud in the primaries but because he did not have his way to impose a candidate on the party.
Eventually, Akeredolu won the gubernatorial election against another lawyer, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Though, Tinubu sent his congratulatory message and also attended Akeredolu’s inauguration as the Ondo State Governor, the cold war has persisted in the party.
As a matter of fact, the leadership of the APC in Southwest had to schedule a peace meeting at the Ogun State House, Abeokuta where the aggrieved members met, including Tinubu but findings showed that the crisis was never resolved.
At the meeting, the Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola and former Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi were said to have lashed out at each other.
Aregbesola had described some of the lawyers and Fayemi as ingrates whom after being brought into political limelight by Tinubu had decided to stand against the plan of the national leader.
It took the elderly advice of the former Governor of Osun State and the former interim National Chairman of APC, Chief Bisi Akande to douse the tension at the meeting.
Tinubu only apologized to all aggrieved members to forgive him if he had offended them in his effort to make the party better.
It was gathered that Fashola never uttered a word at the meeting as Tinubu drove off in anger.
However, the hostility became pronounced when Tinubu got to Lagos, only to praise the present Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode to high heaven and berated the former Governor, Fashola who ruled the state for eight years.
Tinubu said that Ambode met the state in debt incurred by Fashola. Though Fashola never replied, he refused to attend all events organized by Lagos State Government since then but preferred to pitch his tents with his fellow lawyers at the federal level.
While he has refused to talk, his ally and a fellow lawyer, Muiz Banire came boldly against Tinubu, asking him to stop his politics of imposition in Lagos.
He also condemned the workings of the present state Governor, Ambode, describing it is minor projects compared to what Fashola did in Lagos.