Some of the presidency sources said loyalists of President Buhari are unhappy that Tinubu, who was appointed by the president to head the party’s reconciliation team, has not uttered a word since the defections began.
The lawmakers’ defection was followed by the exit of Senate President Bukola Saraki; Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State; Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto; Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara and Bolaji Abdullahi, National Publicity Secretary of the ruling party.
Others who dumped APC include Alhaji Musa Ibeto, Nigeria’s former Ambassador to South Africa, as well as some members of the state Houses of Assembly in Kwara and Sokoto states.
Daily Independent source, an official in the presidency, who was the first to reveal last week that President Buhari will be embarking on vacation in the United Kingdom (UK), said the president’s men believe Tinubu’s silence in the midst of the crisis “is an indication of tacit support for the renegades”.
According to him, “Buhari’s men are angry that Asiwaju Tinubu and his men such as Papa (Bisi Akande), Segun Osoba have not uttered a word in the midst of this national crisis. It is a national crisis because key stakeholders, including the number three man in the country, state governors, federal lawmakers and others are leaving the ruling party in droves.
“The National Assembly has been shut because of the selfish motives of some people till September while party primaries will begin later this month, according to INEC timetable. INEC is complaining that the shutdown of the National Assembly will affect its smooth operations because its request for the fund is still pending yet Tinubu as the party’s national leader and head of the reconciliation team has not said anything.
“One of them told me it is unusual of Tinubu not to make comment when serious issues like these are happening. Recently, during the governorship primary in Ekiti, there were reports that Segun Oni has dragged Fayemi to court, Tinubu alongside Akande, Segun Osoba, Niyi Adebayo issued paid advertorials condemning Oni’s actions and pledged loyalty to Fayemi. If he and his lieutenants can bare their minds on Ekiti APC primary, why have they chosen to keep mute on these defections as if it is something insignificant”, he said.
Another source in the presidency alleged that there are reports Tinubu may have met with Saraki privately few days to the defection of the Senate President.
He, however, said those who got wind of the report are not sure of what was discussed. He said it may be a last-minute intervention by Tinubu to persuade Saraki not to dump the party.
“There are even strong speculations that Tinubu privately met with Saraki few days to the defection of the Senate President. What was discussed at the meeting is not known. If Tinubu actually had the meeting with Saraki, maybe in a last minute attempt to persuade him not to leave APC, he should come out and let the world know. His silence over this very important issue in the party he laboured to build is totally uncalled for”, he said.
When Daily Independent contacted Tunde Rahman, Tinubu’s media aide, he promised to give a comprehensive response after seeking clarifications from Asiwaju.
Reacting on the defections, the PDP said more APC stalwarts including governors, National Assembly members and members of President Buhari’s cabinet are joining the opposition soon.