2019: Buhari woos Ajimobi, sends emissaries

Weeks after the Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, and other state officials boycotted a presidential campaign programme launched in his state, the presidency has sent an emissary to the governor
The South West zonal office of the Muhammadu Buhari Osinbajo (MBO) Dynamic Support Group, a campaign organisation for the re-election of the president, was launched in January in Ibadan.
The group is led by the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, who seeks to take over from Ajimobi as Oyo governor. Although both men are members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), they are political opponents in the state, thus, leading to the state official’s boycott of the event.
Some of the attendees at the launch, including former Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, and former Senate president, Ken Nnamani, called on president Buhari and the APC to mediate in the Oyo crisis.
Perhaps, in response to that call, a team of two APC governors and a national official of the party met behind closed doors with Ajimobi on Wednesday night.
The governors of Kano and Jigawa states, Umar Ganduje and Badaru Abubakar, respectively, alongside the Minister of Transport, Chibuike Amaechi, and the party’s National Secretary, Mala Buni, met with Ajimobi
The governors and party secretary did not address journalists after the meeting which was held at the governor’s office late in the evening.
It was, however, gathered that the meeting deliberated on issues affecting the forthcoming general election and the fate of the president in 2019.
A statement by the Oyo State Commissioner for Information, Toye Arulogun, confirmed that the delegation was an ‘emissary’ from the president.
Arulogun said they were in Ibadan to deliver the president’s message to Ajimobi.
Although he did not specify what the message was, he said the visit was important giving that Ajimobi would play a major role in deciding who occupies the ‘royal seat’ at Aso Rock and coupled with the fact that he ‘is the eye of Jagaban (Bola Tinubu)’ in the South West.
“Therefore, the two northern governors, a South South minister and director general of Buhari/Osinbajo 2019, with the party’s national secretary in attendance, delivered the message of President Buhari to our governor,” Arulogun said.
In explaining the relevance of the state to Buhari’s possible re-election, the commissioner said: “Oyo State gave the president the largest number of votes in the South west during the 2015 elections.”
Unlike in previous presidential elections, Buhari won in most of the six South west states in 2015.
The commissioner also linked the visit to Ajimobi’s closeness to Tinubu, a former Lagos State governor and APC leader.
“The emissary conveyed the president’s message to the man who has the ear of Asiwaju (Mr. Tinubu). Ajimobi, being a loyal party man and leader of the party in the state, promised to get back to the team soonest.”
Tinubu had earlier been appointed by Buhari to lead a team to resolve the crisis in various chapters of the APC. The former Lagos governor played a major role in Buhari’s election and nominated his former commissioner, Yemi Osinbajo, as Buhari’s running mate in 2015.
He has also pledged to support a Buhari/Osinbajo ticket in 2019, if the president finally announces his decision to seek re-election.

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