TINUBU, RIBADU CLASH
Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has set up a two-man committee made up of its National Secretary, Senator Lawan Shuaibu and the former national secretary, Usman Bugaje to meet its presidential candidate, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu to resolve the crisis over the choice of a presidential running mate.
Leader of the ACN, Senator Bola Tinubu had been engrossed in disagreement with Ribadu over the choice of a running mate to the presidential standard bearer. While the former Lagos State governor was said to be favourably disposed to the choice of former minister of finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonje-Nweala as running mate to Mallam Ribadu, the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had remained resolute, insisting that he should be given the free hand to choose his running mate.
It was the same scenario that emerged immediately after the emergence of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu as presidential candidate of the ACN during which he insisted on being allowed to choose those he would work with as members of his campaign team. He got his way.
However, at a meeting which took place last Thursday, at the national headquarters of ACN situated at Wuse II, Abuja and chaired by the party's National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, it was agreed that the brewing crisis between Tinubu and Ribadu would not augur well for the party and in particular Mallam Ribadu.
Akande stressed at the meeting that the party and in particular Tinubu must put every machinery in place and work for the success of Ribadu, adding that going against every suggestion and input of the party by the presidential candidate could spell doom for its chances at the April polls. According to Akande; 'the party did everything possible to ensure his (Ribadu's) emergence as its presidential candidate.'
The meeting, which was attended by Chido Onuma, Lukman Salihu, and Uche Onyeagocha observed that there was an urgent need to amicably resolve the crisis between the two leaders of the party to kick-start the campaigns.
A copy of the minutes of the meeting in the possession of Daily Sun revealed that Mr. Onuma, who represented Mallam Ribadu, noted that there was no remarkable difference between Ribadu and Tinubu, saying that the duo only spoke their minds. Onuma further said the arguments made by both Tinubu and Ribadu at the earlier meeting were valid, adding that the perceived misunderstanding was healthy since both leaders merely spoke their minds and not that they quarrelled as it was being insinuated.
'Some of our leaders and members contend that the party needs a political figure from the South-east political zone as presidential running mate while others think other wise. I think it is healthy,' Onuma said.
In his contribution, Dr. Usman Bugaje said he did not believe in the array of presidential running mates lined-up except for two he considered as credible deserving the approval of the party.
Bugaje further said such deliberations were better handled at a smaller meeting where the issues involved would be dissected and expounded for better understanding and appreciation of the issues. Accordingly, he suggested that a two-man committee made up of the National Secretary, Senator Shuaibu and himself should be given the opportunity to meet with the party's presidential standard bearer and to report back to the national chairman on decisions that would be reached at the meeting.