I have been reading about the supposed disagreement between President Muhammadu Buhari and Bola Tinubu, including the proxy wars that seem to have been started on several fronts as part of this fight between the two. It’s beginning to get annoying now because large sections of those in charge of our country seem to have forgotten what leadership is about.

Here’s the thing: Forget whatever your opinion is of President Buhari, the APC presented him and he did what was asked of him, which was to win them the presidency against all odds. We can accuse him of not preparing to govern properly as we continue to run the rule over his government’s policies to support our view. True, the buck stops at his desk, but does that mean his party and their leaders have no responsibility?

The first thing everyone in the APC ought to have taken to heart is the fact that this is and has to be a collective leadership. They all govern with the president and fall and rise together. There can never be the excuse that the president is being ‘tribalistic’ in his appointments or that he is not carrying other leaders along barely a year after taking over. I mean, why this whole public display of disagreement with the president? Are the leaders of the APC so petty that they cannot find a way of resolving their internal differences within the party away from the press? Why is every Salako, Chike, Abdullahi and Osaze in the APC running to the press to show support for this or that leader within the same party? Why are some people now shouting wolf about some ethnic hegemony and calling on all of us to support Tinubu to stop the Armageddon they see coming? Why is everyone talking about divisions already at a time the nation needs a united front in its leadership to see us through these hard times?

Okay, I’m not discussing here the merit or otherwise of any accusation against Buhari or Tinubu neither should this be considered a support of one side against the other. I’m concerned here about Nigeria and the fact that the APC is today running the nation as service to the Nigerian people. President Buhari is the elected leader and true, we cannot expect him to get things right all the time. But leaders of the APC would not be helping by openly showing disagreement with him and raising factions within the party opposed to him, not on ideological or policy levels, but simply for the sake of grabbing power or serving the selfish interests of personalities. Already, we see them fighting over 2019 when the first term isn’t halfway yet.

I think Tinubu, being the lightning rod of most of these controversies, has to play the role of a statesman. He needs to call his troops to order and let them understand what is at stake. Whatever the situation, he cannot afford to publicly disagree with the president or raise surrogates who go out there to indicate there is a disagreement between them. He has to understand that he was the biggest surrogate of the president before and during the election and his party’s biggest guarantor amongst voters, even though he wasn’t on the ballot. Nigeria is suffering economically, politically and socially. If he has any ideas for the president, he knows he has access to him. He should boldly go to him and have a frank talk about things. He must call off his hounds because destroying the APC just because he cannot get his way or because of some assumption that some ethnic hegemonists are taking the party away from its supposed progressive and centrist roots will not give him any credibility with Nigerians. True leadership means he douses this fire now; true leadership means he should be rallying his people to help his party and the president and his government to find solutions to the problems facing the nation now.

Of course, I get the point that it might be a case of the president or the leadership of the APC not listening to Tinubu anymore, but there is nothing in public space to indicate that this is the case apart from tittle-tattles we get in the press. I mean, what we have in public space are all these stories of disagreements over his attempt to garner more influence than he already has with a lot of party men and women accusing him of selfishness and control freakery. Nigerians need to see him talking policies with members of his party and its leadership in government with the aim of finding governance solutions to our problems as a nation. Anything short of that will confirm the claims of those who accuse him of trying to be a spoiler only because he’s not having his way. Nigeria is bigger than anybody. Tinubu must do more than anybody now to hold his party together and help deliver on the electoral promises they made to Nigerians. Time is running out. President Muhammadu Buhari needs all the help he can get from his own people.

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu

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