A Lagos-based lawyer and rights activist, Mr. Fred Agbaje, has said that the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, is no longer a force to reckon with in the politics of the South-West geo-political zone.
Agbaje premised his argument on the loss of Ekiti State governorship election by the APC to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
According to him, the era of taking voters for granted and imposing candidates on them had gone and that if care was not taken, the APC would also lose to the opposition in the states controlled by the party in the South-West.
Presently, with the loss of Ekiti, APC now controls only four states in the region – Lagos, Ogun, Oyo and Osun; with elections coming up in Osun State next month.
Speaking in an interview on Thursday, the legal practitioner said, “With the revelation coming from the South-West, the people are saying they are tired of one man dictating the affairs of an entire region.
“People are not fooled anymore in this part of the country. They are no longer blind. Tinubu is like an iroko tree which cannot make a forest. People can no longer accept one person dictating the political and economic fortunes of this region.
“Nigerians need genuine leaders who place the interests of the people above their personal aggrandisement, especially in the aspect of parties imposing candidates on the electorate”.
Agbaje added that the Ekiti election also proved that the power of incumbency was no longer a determining factor in Nigerian politics.
He said, “This also shows that the President could not be sure of re-election in 2015 if he does not meet up with people’s expectations. Incumbency is nothing when the people’s will is strong”.
In a response to debunk the insinuation of his waning influence in South-West politics, Tinubu, who spoke through his media aide, Sunday Dare, said it was impossible that the loss of Ekiti State governorship election to the PDP was an indication of his irrelevance.
“It is illogical”, he said.
Dare said the APC chieftain became a force to be reckoned with after the PDP lost five states to it, adding that the loss of one state meant nothing to the party.
He said, “Do not forget that this is a democratic dispensation; the will of the people must be respected. Tinubu has repeatedly said that as long as elections are free and fair, there is no need to fight”.
The media aide, however, said President Goodluck Jonathan and the Independent National Electoral Commission had questions to answer over the Ekiti election held a fortnight ago.
He said, “There are still many issues arising from the Ekiti State election. Why did the President victimise the opposition leaders? What role did INEC play in the election that gave a win to PDP?
“These and many other questions need to be answered before we can say APC lost in Ekiti”.