A bubbling unrest is quietly sweeping through the All Progressives Congress, APC, and President Buhari seem to be mostly affected by it.
This unrest has nothing to do with the widespread loathing with Buhari’s handling of the economy.
It has little to do with aggrieved party members who feel they’ve been schemed out of sharing in the national cake.
The unrest is about repositioning of political forces and building of strongholds against 2019.
In the ensuing repositioning, about four visible power blocks are at daggers drawn against each other.
Their fight seem to come from either of these: the economy; appointment into offices; and positioning for the 2019 primaries.
President Buhari had melted all these power blocs into a common pot; that was how won the 2015 presidential elections.
Here are the power blocs:
- President Buhari’s power bloc.
- Atiku’s power bloc.
- Rabiu Kwankwaso power bloc and
- Bola Tinubu’s power bloc
President Buhari’s power bloc comprises mainly of retired army generals of northern extraction. Others include die hard faithfuls of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC.
The Atiku bloc was not originally taken seriously and hence largely ignored. But when he became outspoken on restructuring the nation, the President’s bloc felt threatened.
Atiku had to be invited by the party leadership to explain his outbursts. They cautioned him to down-tone his utterances.
To curtail his growing influence, Buhari’s bloc sought for Nuhu Ribadu’s return. Atiku kicked, Buhari did not budge.
The Rabiu Kwankwaso bloc is subtly throttling his campaign structures and has not shown any overt interest in the Buhari administration.
The realignment of northern forces behind Buhari is geared towards checkmating Atiku and Kwankwaso.
Enters the Tinubu bloc.
Recall that Tunubu, Oba Sikiru Adetona, and Chief Bisi Akande had visited Buhari in London with an AIG of Ijebu extraction who they proposed to step into the shoes of retiring Solomon Arase.
Despite positive assurances, Buhari failed to deliver.
On June 3, another error was committed when the president hosted members of the National Assembly to dinner.
Senate President, Saraki while observing protocol referred to Tinubu as “the national leader.”
Buhari rebuked Saraki, saying “Senator Bola Tinubu, even though the senate president referred to you as national leader, you are not the national leader, but one of the national leaders of the APC.”
Also, Tinubu criticized the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu over the lingering fuel crisis.
Speaking for the President, Femi Adesina rebuked Tinubu on live Channels Television. These issues annoyed and hurt Tinubu’s bloc.
In the Buhari’s blocs’ calculations, Tinubu is far less a threat to Buhari’s presidential ambition than is Atiku or Kwankwaso.
To appease Tinubu, a proposal is in the offing to enlist his support in the ousting of the Senate president, Bukola Saraki.
He will also be given the leeway to dissolve the sore issue of budget padding.
Buhari seem to be championing the cause of the North; a thing which has endeared him to Northern Muslims.
One major challenge the Buhari’s bloc is trying to figure out is the growing disquiet of hardship, poverty and dwindling political patronage.
The general expectation of change in the Buhari presidency is still farfetched.
As the things unfold, it is clear Buhari’s bloc will need Tinubu’s bloc come 2019.
Will he realign with Atiku’s bloc or back Buhari (who will be 76) in 2019? If Atiku picks Tinubu as his deputy, will he accept it?
If he does, BUhari will loose the 2019 presidential elections. But again, can Tinubu and Obasanjo trust an Atiku Presidency?