Some Northern elements are planning to pull the rug off the feet of Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila in his speakership bid, when it will be impossible to save his candidacy, Sunday Tribune has reliably learnt.
A source close to Aso Rock Presidential Villa disclosed that the plot might not be unconnected with a political storm gathering against the national leader of the ruling party and Gbajabiamila’s main sponsor, Senator Bola Tinubu.
The source said the parliamentary leadership politics appeared to have become so overwhelming for the Lagos strongman that he wasn’t even showing expected interest in the much-discussed ministerial politics regarding the South-West.
Gbajabiamila, the current House Leader, is the front-runner for the speakership seat, but the combination of zoning and godfather apron attachment is reportedly threatening his chances in the North, where two governors on the platform of the ruling party are said to be coordinating the last-minute surprise package, to again, thwart Femi’s ambition.
Both governors are very close to President Muhammadu Buhari, whose support for Gbajabiamila, is perceived by the other camp as being passive.
While one of the governors is allegedly using subterfuge to relate with the Tinubu camp, the other doesn’t plainly care.
They are carrying a candidate who they plan to carry through the contest. Expectedly, their candidate isn’t from the South.
An ally of one of the governors told Sunday Tribune that “the battle is just beginning. You will see what they (Tinubu’s camp) will see in days ahead. We know Femi (Gbajabiamila) is just another instrument in his (Tinubu) hands.
“But we will ensure that he (Tinubu) loses all steam even before 2023. They (Tinubu’s camp) have no strategists. They don’t always know the battle to fight. You will see the real battle soon.”
The Villa-connected source had earlier revealed that Lagos technically producing Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and trying to grab the speaker seat would not sail through both at home and elsewhere.
“Are we the only one in the South-West trying to corner everything. VP is from you, your wife is bidding for something in the Senate. Your boy wants to be Speaker. Is it only Lagos that is doing APC and is it only oga that is playing politics,” the source sarcastically queried.
Another source introduced a different dimension into the alleged one-man power-grabbing agenda when he went rhetorically: “How much did he (Tinubu) even contribute to the election?
“There was even no account rendered for the money we contributed. The time is almost here for the whole truth to be told the world. What was their (Tinubu’s camp) contribution that they want to corner everything?”
It was learnt that Gbajabiamila is attracting more enemies because his aspiration is being seen as just a stepping stone for his godfather to build a nationwide network for his rumoured presidential ambition in 2023, when political power is expected to return to the Southern part of the country.
Though Tinubu is yet to declare such an ambition, his close allies have confirmed they talked him into giving the presidency a shot when Buhari’s constitutionally allowed two terms are done.
Tinubu is allegedly supporting Gbajabiamila and by extension, Ahmed Lawan for Senate presidency seat to deploy supporters of the duo in the National Assembly as coordinators for his presidential project, in their constituency and senatorial domains.
Those from the lower chamber, allegedly to be known as constituency coordinators, are said to be of greater factor to the success of the project, hence the utmost importance of ramming Gbajabiamila into the speakership seat.
Meanwhile, more facts are emerging on why loyalists of Tinubu and his erstwhile honcho, former National Legal adviser of APC, Muiz Banire are side-stepping the armistice entered into, in the course of the last general election to resume hostilities.
Following the perceived attack on Tinubu by the Kaduna State governor, Nasir el-Rufai recently in Lagos, Sunday Tribune learnt that Tinubu’s camp has since been unloading on Banire over his perceived support for the rumoured presidential project of the governor.
A source close to Banire, however, dispelled such a notion, saying that those who want to make more enemies for Tinubu are behind the conjecture, adding that “they (Tinubu’s camp) are now saying Muiz (Banire) is coordinating for el-Rufai in the South-West.
“You can see the way these our people think. Instead of seeking one house ahead of their oga’s 2023 campaign, they are busy scattering everywhere. The Arisekola fellow writing against Muiz is not even a factor. They were the ones who sought cooperation before the election, see what they are doing now.”
Banire, in a post on Thursday, promised to come after his traducers soon, threatening an exposé, complete with documents on hitherto yet-to-be-made-public secrets.
Quoting him, “For now, my admonition to them if they love their sponsor, is to note that he who lives in glass house must not throw stone. Our maturity seems to be challenged these days and hopefully we won’t lose it. In my subsequent interviews, I shall address all their lies appropriately. For now, let me remind the latter-day workers of The Nation and TVC that some of us are custodians of the origin of these establishments and at the right time, they will learn more with documentation”.
Aside Banire, another personality being reportedly caught in the 2023 presidential drama, is the embattled chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Services, Babatunde Fowler.
His current travails at the hands of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged official corruption are being linked to his perceived sway in lending support to a particular camp.
Fowler, seen by many as a nominee of Tinubu, is actually a long-standing friend of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who was said to be instrumental in his emergence as the chairman of Lagos Inland Revenue Service (LIRS), the job he was holding before his “promotion” to Abuja.
A deep source in Lagos APC politics disclosed that Fowler was “helpful” in the 2019 election and the fears that his support in 2023 may be crucial in favour of a perceived presidential aspirant, reportedly ramped up the move against him.
The public official who is being tipped to enjoy crucial help from Fowler, if the latter retained his money-spinning job till 2023, is yet to make any move to show he is interested in succeeding Buhari.
But there is a widespread notion that Buhari may prefer him to others, if the North is conceding to the Southern part of the country in the next four years.
While the intendment is said not to oust Fowler using the current EFCC probe, Sunday Tribune learnt those behind his travails would shake him so much, to show where the real power lies in the current political equation.
A party chieftain who works closely with the public official being rumoured of having Buhari’s back for the top-job in 2023, told Sunday Tribune that when enquiries were made at the appropriate quarters on Fowler’s case, a top-dog of the intel community, told them that it was an inside job and both sides in the Fowler saga, should please not drag him, into it.