Navigating Political Turbulence: Unmasking Fifth Columnists In President Tinubu’s Administration – By Seyi Olorunsola

PRESIDENT Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s political journey has been marked by strategic alliances and calculated moves. As the helm of the nation, his leadership is pivotal not only for the All Progressives Congress (APC) but for the entire nation. However, recent developments within his administration have raised concerns about the unity of his party and the fidelity of key supporters.

This op-ed aims to shed light on the emerging challenges, particularly the intricate relationships between President Tinubu, his Chief of Staff, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, and other key party supporters.

A significant undercurrent within the administration involves the President’s Chief of Staff, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Gbajabiamila’s longstanding connections with northern members of the House of Representatives, particularly those now aligned with the NNPP, have raised suspicions about his loyalty to the APC’s agenda.

These people such as Honourable Abulmumini Jibril, Hon. Tijjani Jobe, Senator Kawu Samaila and Hon. Kabiru Rurum and others in concert with other northern politicians are allegedly hatching a northern agenda to undermine the Tinubu administration and they are reportedly using the person of the Chief of Staff to the President to further their plan.

It is these persons, working with the Chairman of the National Peace Committee, former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar and the National Security Adviser, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, using the Chief of Staff, who has the ears of the President, who allegedly ensured that the APC Candidate in the last gubernatorial election in Kano lost to the NNPP candidate, Governor Abba Kabir.

The theory sold to the President is to the effect that if the APC candidate wins at the Supreme Court, the same way his case was proven to be true at the Tribunal and Appeal courts, Kano would come under a huge security challenge as youths will take to the streets and things will boil over.

It was therefore reasoned that the APC candidate can be sacrificed in Kano “in the interest of peace”.  It is very disturbing to know that with the levers of security command structure at the behest of the President, he would allow anyone to sell him such a funny theory.  The belief that yielding Kano to the opposition strengthens their position in challenging President Tinubu directly in 2027 underscores the strategic implications of such actions.

The repercussions of the Kano loss are evident as disillusioned APC members in the state are defecting to the NNPP. The perceived weakness of APC National Chairman, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, further exacerbates the situation, with party members fearing disintegration.

The parallels drawn between Ganduje’s predicament and that of the smear campaign against the former Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai indicate a pattern of attempting to discredit key figures within the party, especially those loyal to the President.

The difference between Dr. Ganduje and Mallam El-Rufai is whilst the latter succeeded in installing a successor after his likeness in Kashim Ibrahim House in Kaduna, the former couldn’t achieve that objective with his protégé, Dr. Nasir Gawuna in Kano. But these kingpins already succeeded in shoving Mallam Nasir El-Rufai out of the administration of President Tinubu. Urgent action is needed to address these concerns before the APC loses its grip on Kano politics.

The reasoning of these hatchet-men of those against Mr. President is the fact that if they can hold on to Kano, it can be a huge bargaining chip to determine who becomes the next President of Nigeria come 2027 in view of the pattern of the last election wherein President Tinubu lost his home state of Lagos to the Labour Party and other key states that would have swung the presidency against him.

President Tinubu must seriously watch his back by sacking the Chief of Staff, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila now.

The other immediate step to take is to strengthen the hands of the APC National Chairman and to also appoint Dr. Nasir Gawuna, the party’s gubernatorial candidate in Kano State in the last elections into the Tinubu administration to forestall any further losing of grounds of the party in Kano State.  It should be noted that Dr. Gawuna scored the highest number of votes in the last elections of any gubernatorial candidate in the country; over 800,000 votes was scored.

Dr. Ganduje is obviously and by far the greatest supporter of Mr. President in the entire north.  It was very clear that the previous administration was opposed to the emergence of President Bola Tinubu and it was the reason most of the election-time policies like the Naira Redesign directly targeted the undermining of the process so that another candidate of northern extraction would win.

However, the way Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje stood firm alongside individuals like Mallam Nasir El-Rufai for the Tinubu candidacy, they became targets of victimization by the northern establishment and that has continued to plague them till today.  President Tinubu must therefore ensure that no harm in terms of political loss comes to former Governor Ganduje who is now the Chairman of the APC.  That is the only way for the majority of Kano and northern votes can be for him in 2027.

On the economic front, President Tinubu’s successful governance of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007 is acknowledged, where he implemented progressive reforms with a team of technocrats known as the “Lagos Boys” as successful administrations in that state worked on the template and this has caused the development indices of Lagos to be on the upward trajectory.

However, it must be noted that running Lagos and leading Nigeria require distinct approaches. The critique revolves around the notion that the current economic team, largely composed of the “Lagos Boys,” may not be effectively steering the nation’s economic ship. I am therefore calling on the President to form a broader, more diverse team to ensure the recovery and growth of the national economy.

In conclusion, President Tinubu faces a delicate balancing act to secure the unity and success of his administration. There is the need for vigilance against perceived fifth columnists within his ranks, with specific attention to the alleged role of Chief of Staff Gbajabiamila.

The Kano election fallout and the growing disillusionment in the party demand urgent attention. I am making a more passionate plea for a diversified economic team to ensure effective governance. As President Tinubu charts the course for the nation’s future, navigating these challenges will be crucial in maintaining the APC’s cohesion and achieving his political aspirations.

Olorunsola, an APC chieftain, writes in from Abuja.

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