The ruling All Progressives Congress’ efforts at facilitating reconciliation among feuding members began earnestly at the weekend with consultative visits to key members of the party’s national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State, heads a consultation, reconciliation, and confidence-building committee set up by President Muhammadu Buhari on February 6 in an attempt to foster unity in APC.
Tinubu was said to have promised to use the next 10 days to consult with party leaders over his assignment and, then, constitute a full reconciliation team at the end of the consultations.
Last Thursday in Abuja, he held separate meetings with Senate President Bukola Saraki and former Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State, who is now a senator for Kano Central.
It was gathered from a reliable source, who was privy to the meetings, that Tinubu first visited Kwankwaso and they held discussions for about two hours before he left for Saraki’s official residence, where they met till late hours of Thursday. The source said the main subject of the two meetings was how to settle the differences between the party leaders and reunify political forces ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Although the outcome of the meetings was not publicised, it was learnt that Tinubu, Kwankwaso and Saraki agreed in principle to pursue peace and dialogue as a means of strengthening the party.
Kwankwaso had come second, after Buhari, at the APC presidential primary ahead of the 2015 general election, and it was widely believed that Tinubu’s support for Buhari was what cost the former Kano State governor the presidential ticket.
It was also learnt that the former Lagos State governor had prioritised efforts to mend relations with his own political enemies in the party as a first step towards the badly needed reconciliation among APC members.
During a recent meeting with the National Working Committee, one of the members was alleged to have suggested that in order to engender trust and confidence, it was better for Tinubu to first reconcile with those he had issues with.
“Tinubu requested to be provided with a dossier of all areas of cracks within the party, including what the problems were and the level of reconciliation so far achieved,” the source added.
Tinubu, the source said, agreed with the suggestion of the NWC member and explained that he had already embarked on fence-mending measures with his kinsmen in the South-west, where a stakeholders’ meeting was held, with most of the leaders in attendance. Though the stakeholders’ meeting was held a year ago, it was attended by Minister of Power, Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Solid Minerals Kayode Fayemi, governors elected on the APC platform in the zone, and other party chieftains. Tinubu had come out to seek a settlement with those he had a difference with.
A source gathered that the APC South-west stakeholders’ meeting held in Ibadan was a full and frank discussion, where members vented their grouses and sought reconciliation.
Last Thursday’s meeting with Saraki was seen as an attempt to not only resolve longstanding supremacy battles between some members of the National Assembly and their governors but to also restore good relations between the former governor and the Senate president. Tinubu had fiercely opposed Saraki’s emergence as Senate president in 2015 and the frosty relationship between them had subsequently manifested in a serial rejection of principal officer nominees favoured by the APC national leader.