Recently, two notable leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, from the Southwest, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Dr. John Kayode Fayemi had a closed-door meeting where undisclosed issues were discussed.
The meeting, which took place on Wednesday 12th January, however had no third party present and had nothing to do with the presidential ambition or otherwise of either of the two political leaders.
It was a family meeting of minds. It is therefore disingenuous of the spin doctors who were no where near the venue of the meeting to begin to second guess discussions at the meeting.
In a democratic setting like ours with so many issues begging for attention, discussion will go on daily among political leaders at various levels. Political leadership plays an indispensable role in foisting great responsibilities on people, thus both formal and informal discourses cannot be wished away.
Creating a fictional social media frenzy out of such meeting where issues of national discourse are discussed would thus amount to an ill wind that blows no one any good.
Asiwaju Tinubu is a former two-term Governor of Lagos State and national leader of the APC, while Dr. Fayemi, also a chieftain of the party, is the governor of Ekiti State and current Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum.
Meeting between the two leaders, dates as far back as their days in exile, when they were both involved in the struggle to wrest the country away from military jackboots, and has since been a regular occurrence both within and outside the country’s political space. So there should not be any big deal in seeing them meet, except someone has opted to create a mischief out of it.
While the details of their recent meeting remain undisclosed, seeing the two of them who are being rumoured as potential presidential aspirants from the southwest together may naturally give way to speculations that the 2023 presidential election could form part of their discussions. This may have been further fuelled by the fact that Asiwaju Tinubu said he had informed President Muhammadu Buhari that he would be coveting the presidential seat in 2023. Dr Fayemi on the other hand; has yet to give any visible sign in that direction.
However, both Asiwaju Tinubu’s declared ambition and Fayemi’s undeclared ambition have now been taken up and given verve by some spin doctors, particularly those who believe such could rev up their relevance in the eyes of either of the political leaders.
What makes the matter worse is that such spin doctors, surreptitiously scrambling for relevance have been weaving, not half truths, but blatant lies into the Tinubu-Fayemi meeting, saying it signposted Dr Fayemi surrendering his undeclared ambition to Asiwaju Tinubu’s declared one.
Specifically, they have been dishing out barefaced and unsubstantiated lies that Dr Fayemi at the closed door meeting “debunked the raging rumour of his 2023 presidential ambition and pledged support for the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”
This, no doubt, is a reckless and untruthful spin. First, since the perpetrators were not present at the meeting and none of the leaders could have divulged what transpired, one wonders from where they got their narrative.
Secondly, the spin doctors, were so consumed by their fictional hogwash that they could not consider it an impossibility for Fayemi to drop a rumoured, yet undeclared ambition, even when Asiwaju Tinubu said he was still consulting as to whether to run or not.
The story by the spin doctors thus stands logic in the head and stands not only disclaimed but condemned. It must have been sourced from the rumour mill, or as a beer parlour gist. At its best, it is a mere conjecture.
If and when Dr Fayemi chooses to declare his interest in running for the 2023 presidential ticket, he would not be embarking on an ego trip that would warrant going into unhealthy contest with Asiwaju Tinubu or anyone else. Fayemi sees Tinubu as his leader in politics and reserves respect for him as a national leader of his party. Neither will he run the race with the intention of using it to negotiate with anyone. Rather he will run because he is convinced it is desirable for him to do so.
Perhaps the spin doctors are unmindful of the fact that Fayemi currently remains focused on finishing strong and well the assignment in his hand as two-term governor of Ekiti State. They also fail to realise that there is still a sitting President equally focused on finishing well his second term in office. Neither Fayemi nor Buhari would like to be distracted by such inanity at this juncture.
Should Dr Fayemi eventually choose to run in the 2023 Presidential race at all, he would not hide his intention to do so, neither will he involve himself in any clandestine meeting to discuss his chances, since he would have been x-rayed and classified among the preferred aspirants based on his credentials, even before he makes such declaration.
The masterminds of such fable are therefore advised to desist from doing so any further as it will not give them any political or social mileage. Rather it will wreak serious havoc on their personality, without reducing the worth of either Asiwaju Tinubu or Governor Fayemi who are respectable and respected leaders in their own rights.
*Yinka Oyebode is the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor