There are strong indications that a fresh power tussle is brewing in the All Progressives Congress over the chairmanship of its Board of Trustees.
Saturday PUNCH reliably learnt on Friday that the tussle was between former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and a former Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande.
Investigations showed that the tussle was part of moves by the power blocs in the APC to influence decisions in the party by taking control of its various organs.
Saturday PUNCH had last week reported that two power blocs led by Atiku and a National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, had engaged in a fierce battle to control the party.
It was learnt that the two camps believed that the BOT chairmanship would go a long way in assisting them to control the party.
The chairman of the BOT, according to Article 13.2 of the APC constitution, shall be elected by the board members.
Both camps, investigations showed, had started reaching out to members of the board, who would elect the chairman.
It was learnt that Akande was being backed by Tinubu, who is not happy with Atiku’s role in the National Assembly leadership elections.
The struggle for the chairmanship of the APC’s BOT, investigations revealed, became intense following the National Assembly leadership elections on June 9.
Atiku was reported to have supported Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, during the elections.
Tinubu and the party’s National Working Committee were said to have backed Senator Ahmad Lawan and Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila for the senate presidency and the speakership.
Both candidates lost to Saraki and Dogara during the elections.
Investigations revealed that the emergence of Saraki as the senate president would enable the Atiku camp to take control of the party’s National Executive Committee.
The Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives are members of the NEC.
Tinubu is believed to be in control of the party’s NWC as many of its members are said to be close to him.
The contest for the control of the BOT is still open to the two camps.
The media aide to Tinubu, Mr. Sunday Dare, could not be reached on the telephone as it indicated that it was switched off while a text message sent to his telephone was not replied to as of press time.
But a close associate of Akande, Mr. Adelani Baderinwa, told one of our correspondents that he was not aware that the former governor of Osun State was being nominated to be the chairman of the BOT of the ruling party.
Baderinwa, who was the former chief press secretary of Akande when he was the governor, spoke on the telephone with our correspondent in Osogbo on Friday.
He, however, said his former principal had everything needed to function very effectively in the office if he was elected the BOT chairman.
He said, “Chief Bisi Akande is eminently qualified to be BOT chairman of the APC. He was a chairman of the Alliance for Democracy; he was the chairman of Action Congress of Nigeria and was the Interim Chairman of the APC.
“Before this, you will remember that he was a deputy governor and later he became the governor of Osun State.
“If you are talking about Nigeria, he knows Nigeria very well and his integrity is unquestionable and he is an experienced politician.”
When contacted, the Managing Director of the Atiku Media Office, Mr. Paul Ibe, said he was not aware that the party had announced a vacancy for the position in question.
He, however, said the former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, had all the qualities to occupy the position should the opportunity present itself.
He said, “Like I have said elsewhere before, we are not aware that the APC has thrown open the race for the chairmanship of the party’s BoT.
“But if in the wisdom of the party, it elects to appoint Abubakar as the Chairman of its BoT, the Turaki Adamawa will be amenable and well disposed to it because he is eminently qualified to offer his services to the party at that level.”