Did President Buhari Just Pull Off a Masterfully Executed Political Move?

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Nigerians are yet to fully recover from the National Assembly (NASS) elections that took place last week. There have been several reactions trailing these elections. PDP and their supporters have been spotting wide grins, believing they executed a smart coup right under the noses of the APC. With all the different reactions that have followed this not soon to be forgotten event, one voice is beginning to sound louder and louder.

This voice started as a whisper but has been growing both louder and more insistent as the days go by. While many shake their heads at what they regard as President Buhari’s political naivety, this voice gasps in awe at the genius it claims was displayed by the “people’s General.”

Some of the presidents ardent supporters have come out to laud the general on a job well done in handling the “Tinubu factor” that wanted to have some control over the NASS. It is no hidden matter that Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu has a huge stake in the APC. His stake is so huge that some people he intends to be the power behind the throne.

Prior to the NASS elections, the president said he would not be involved in the choosing of the principal officers of the NASS. He wanted to be seen as being fair and willing to allow the NASS be independent from the executive. However, as pressure from different quarters started getting stronger regarding the party’s choice of a senate president and speaker of the house of assembly, he had to do something.

President Buhari openly supported the candidacy of Senator Ahmed Lawan for senate president over that of Senator Bukola Saraki and Femi Gbajabiamila as speaker of the house of representatives. This move is now being seen as smart feign by the President to throw Tinubu off his real intentions.

One thing that has given this line of thought more confidence is the absence of the President from the meeting he purportedly called for. This meeting was to take place at the International Conference Center (ICC)at the same time the inauguration of the NASS assembly was to take place. There are now talks that the President requested that the inauguration be delayed to allow for the meeting to hold. The inauguration was not delayed and the meeting did not hold because the president did not come and according to Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu who is now pointing an accusing finger at Mr President blaming him as the cause of this state of affairs, there was no communication from the office of the presidency to the 51 APC senators who were waiting his arrival at the ICC.

According to Tinubu, before they could leave the ICC to race down to the NASS complex, the harm was already done and Senator Saraki and Senator Ike Ekweremadu had emerged Senate President and Deputy respectively. President Buhari is now being lauded as political genius who through his seeming neutrality allowed for the emergence of his through choice – Saraki – thereby breaking the intended hold of Tinubu over the NASS. One strong supporter said “Buhari showed the wisdom of old age.”

Surely a few questions can be asked here. Was the emergence of Senator Ike Ekweremadu a compromise he allowed? Secondly, how did he pull off the coup at the house of representatives since there was no meeting keeping the APC representatives away?

These are yet early days and the president will have more opportunities to show his political mastery and awareness. As he navigates the political waters ahead, his supporters are waiting for smart political moves that will give credence to the claim that he masterminded the outcome of the NASS while his detractors will be waiting to bounce on any mistake he makes. As the days go on, it will become clearer if the NASS arrangement is to the benefit of APC and Mr President.

Angelina Jolie

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