For a man who worked tirelessly to ensure an opposition party takes power at the centre to stay away from a crucial National Executive Council meeting is unusual, especially considering the fact that he had always been part of such high level meetings. However, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu was conspicuously absent at the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s NEC meeting, yesterday where the party’s Board of Trustees was inaugurated.
Former Interim National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, who recently warned of an imminent collapse of the party was also absent.
It is unclear why the two party leaders were absent but there is one thing that groups them together; they were both unhappy about how election of the leadership of the National Assembly played out. The issue was top agenda at the meeting.
Some interests in the party have in recent times tackled Tinubu, especially some former governors belonging to the party. Ahead of yesterday’s meeting, the ex-governors were said to have noted that the current crisis in the party was being stoked by a few from the South-West. They therefore allegedly planned to question Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s role as national leader based on claims that there is no provision for such in the constitution.
They were also said to have vowed that, should Tinubu, who many regard as the brain behind the party’s success at the polls, be allowed into the APC’s National Executive Council meeting hall, they would also insist on attending the meeting. However, Tinubu failed to show up.
When asked about the absence of Tinubu and Akande, the spokesperson of the party, Lai Mohammed said invitation to the meeting was at the discretion of the national working committee of the APC, or its executive committee. Since the leaders were not members of the party’s exco, it was the discretion of the APC working committee to decide who to invite, according to Premium Times.
A reporter, however, insisted that identification tags for Mr. Tinubu had been seen at the venue of the meeting, meaning the organisers never knew he would not show up. Chief Ogbonaya Onu and Chief Tony Momoh were two of the party elders present at the meeting.
The anti-Tinubu ex-governors have declared support for the current leadership of the National Assembly.
Speaking after the meeting, governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, said he was confident that the crisis facing the party was almost over.
“Many people think that there will be problems between APC members at this meeting. But I am assuring Nigerians that we have met and discussed what affects all of us and we have understood ourselves,” he said.