The election of Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara as the senate president and speaker of the House of Representatives has the feeling of signalling the death rites for the career of Bobo Chicago Bola Tinubu as a major player on the national political scene.
Tinubu was being widely acclaimed as a master tactician and kingmaker when the coalition of varying interests he put together in the All Progressives Congress (APC) swept Buhahari into power, in the process turning the ruling Peoples Democratic Party into the minority party in the National Assembly.
Our source in Lagos said that Tinubu had hoped to use the APC’s control of the National Assembly, with his puppets as senate president and speaker of the House of Representatives, to ensure he held sway in the Buhahahari goverment. But he had enemies within his own party.
The party was made up essentially of three caucuses. The first was the Tinubu faction of former Action Congress Nigeria (ACN) members. The second was made up of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) members, under whose banner Buhahahari ran for (s)election in 2011. The third caucus involved former members of the PDP that switched to the APC.
The ex PDP caucus included the likes of former president Olusegun Obasanjo. Obasanjo, according to our source, “hates Tinubu’s guts”, “sees him as a small boy” and is involved in a long-running battle with him for “supremacy in the southwest”. Obasanjo believes that Tinubu stopped him from “controlling” the southwest when Obasanjo was president.
The two caucuses – ex PDP and ex CPC – ganged up to ensure that the Tinubu-anointed candidates for senate president and speaker Ahmed Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila were defeated.
First off, Obasanjo told Buhahahari that “if you allow Tinubu to control you, he will finish you, he will kill you”. The president has a lot of time for Obasanjo from their time in the army and in military regimes. Our source claims that “Buhari does not joke with OBJ”. Buhahari agreed with Obasanjo about the need to neutralise Tinubu. The source said that Tinubu is now seen as an “enemy of the government”.
Obasanjo, along with other ex PDP men such as former vice president Abubakar Atiku, then convinced the president to go along with their plot to ensure that the chosen candidates from their own party were not elected senate president and speaker of the House. The plan involved concocting a meeting with the president and APC parliamentarians that did not take place because the president didn’t show up (and never planned to do so), but served the purpose of diverting the APC members away from the National Assembly for enough time for Saraki and Dogara to be elected in the absence of APC members.
Buhahari’s pretence of neutrality, saying he was willing to work with the elected senate president and speaker, infuriated Tinubu. The former Lagos State governor is said to be regretting his support for Buhahari’s candidacy and is “very bitter” that his “investment” in getting Buhahari into Aso Rock is not paying any “dividends”. Tinubu’s opponents like the Lagos State PDP chieftain Bode George rubbed it in by describing Tinubu as just a “local champion”.
Our source claims that Tinubu and his puppet, the vice president Yemi Osinbajo, struggle to get an audience with the president. Whenever Tinubu tries to see the president, Obasanjo is said to arrive first and brief the president, keeping Tinubu waiting. On one occasion the vice president tried to see the president and was kept waiting for 30 minutes, while other favoured visitors went in.
The vice president’s only hope of gaining favour with the president is now to abandon his godfather Tinubu.
Our source claims that “the most Tinubu is going to get now is two ministers”. Bobo Chicago had earlier game-planned how the most lucrative ministries like petroleum, works, finance, aviation, etc were going to be filled with his “boys”.
The source said that “Tinubu is now finished”.