2015: Tinubu, Jonathan Test Popularity With Burnt Alaafin Of Oyo’s Palace

tinubu-jonathanThe major gladiators in the race to 2015 – President Goodluck Jonathan and Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, have commenced subtle but heightened battle for the control of the South-West geopolitical zone.

Although President Jonathan has on countless occassions stated that he would make a definite comment on whether he will contest in the 2015 elections in 2014, not a few already know that he is interested in contesting.

The duo used the recent fire disaster that affected 21 rooms in the 640-acre 200-year-old palace of the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, to test their popularity in the South-West region.

While preisdent Jonathan not only sent a high-powered delegation, led by the Olugbo of Ugbo Kingdom in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State, Oba Fredrick Akinruntan, to convey his sympathy to the Oyo monarch over the incident, he also invited the Alaafin to the Villa for a closed-door meeting that lasted a few hours.

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The president, it was gathered, told the Alaafin to engage a contractor and forward a quotation for the rebuilding of the palace to him for further action.

But the ever foxy and deciphering Senator Bola Tinubu, whose party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), is the largest opposition party in the country, sensed the high-level political intrigues at play, decided to play his own cards by leading a high-powered ACN delegation to the Alaafin’s palace on Wednesday.

In Tinubu’s entourage were the national chairman of the ACN, Chief Bisi Akande; its chairman in the South-West, Alhaji Tajudeen Olusi; national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; and the governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.

In his speech, Tinubu, who sympathised with the Alaafin over the incident, described the paramount ruler as a honest, courageous, constant and effective leader in Yorubaland.

Making veiled reference to President Jonathan’s meeting with the Alaafin and the pledged assistance to rebuild the palace, Tinubu said, “Kabiyesi, you are not a chicken that anybody can bait with grains of corn. We in the ACN are here to tell you that we are with you.

“Kabiyesi, fire did not burn your palace; you only sent us a message and we have got the message and interpreted the signal accordingly. You are not known for jumping ship. You are a constant and dependable leader,” Tinubu said.

After the visit, the Alaafin led Tinubu and his entourage round the burnt portion of the palace with the bespectacled former governor pledging the assistance of the ACN leaders and well-meaning Yoruba indigenes to rebuild and modernise the palace, with a view to preserving the culture, tradition and customs of the Yoruba people.

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