Jonathan, Tinubu Battle For Southwest Shifts to Alaafin's Palace
Preparatory to the 2015 elections, a fierce battle for the control of the South-West geopolitical zone has broken out between President Goodluck Jonathan and Senator Bola Tinubu, national leader of the largest opposition party in the country, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Senator Bola Tinubu.Although President Jonathan has told Nigerians he would make his intention about the 2015 contest known in 2014, events have been pointing in the direction that he will throw his hat into the ring in the 2015 presidential election.
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, in popularity contest over the South-West region.
A presidential delegation, led by the Olugbo of Ugbo Kingdom in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State, Oba Fredrick Akinruntan, conveyed the president’s sympathy to the Oyo monarch over the incident during a visit two Saturdays ago.
Barely five days after the presidential delegation’s visit, Jonathan invited the Alaafin to the Villa for a closed-door meeting that lasted a few hours.
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.
The ongoing merger talks involving chieftains of the ACN, Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) also formed part of the discussion.
But sensing high-wired politics at play over the razed palace, Senator Tinubu led a high-powered ACN delegation to the Alaafin’s palace on Wednesday.
He was in company with the national chairman of the party, 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 Oba Adeyemi over the incident, described the paramount ruler as a honest, courageous, constant and effective leader in Yorubaland.
Ostensibly referring 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.
Speaking with journalists after he and others were conducted round the burnt portion of the palace by the Alaafin, Tinubu promised that the ACN leaders and well-meaning Yoruba indigenes would come together to rebuild and modernise the palace, with a view to preserving the culture, tradition and customs of the Yoruba people.
But just before his charge to Oba Adeyemi, the ACN national leader also had a word for Governor Ajimobi. He said: “Governor, I greet you. I pray you will not derail. You will stay long in office. But governance is not what you can hand over to your children; it is not a family thing and, therefore, not inheritable. You will end well and hand over to a responsible person.”
In his response, the Alaafin said he would hold Tinubu to account on the assurance given that Governor Ajimobi would hand over power to a ‘good’ person, saying “we are going to quote you when the time comes.”