By Kunle Adedoyin
National Leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, met in Abuja over weekend and agreed to reconcile their political differences.
The meeting on Sunday appears to be aimed at the duo working together in the 2020 gubernatorial election in the state.
The said peace meeting between Akeredolu and Tinubu is coming a week after the rumoured suspension of the governor by the NWC for his role in the last general election which allegedly cost the APC the presidential and National Assembly elections in the state.
The meeting in Abuja is expected to be followed by a series of meetings in Ondo State to further cement the new alliance and possibly help smoothen Akeredolu’s re-election bid next year.
The Tinubu group led by a former deputy governor, Ali Olanusi, and supported by Isaac Kekemeke, who was the former state chairman of the party, had called on the NWC to ensure that Mr Akeredolu was denied the party’s ticket for a second term for his alleged “anti party activities” during the last general elections.
An aide to Mr Akeredolu, who would not want to be named, said the first phase of the agreements was for “media aides to the parties to cease fire and maintain the peace.”
He said all the parties are interested in ending the feud and want peace to reign.
“As I speak with you, other meetings will be held in Ondo State, so that other players within the state would be actively involved in the peace moves,” he said.
It was gathered that the reconciliatory meeting was initiated by a former APC National Vice Chairman South-west, Pius Akinyelure, who had made several attempts to bring the duo together.
He got his opportunity late last week when Akeredolu flew to Abuja to honour Akinyelure’s invitation to meet with the former Lagos governor. Akinyelure is close to both men.
Although the details of the meeting were still shrouded in secrecy, it was gathered that both men expressed their grievances and resolved to work together in the overall interest of the party particularly in Ondo State.
Meanwhile, the governor’s Special Assistant on New Media, Allen Sowore, confirmed the reconciliatory meeting, adding that “peace had been achieved between the two leaders.”
Tunde Rahman, Media Aide to Tinubu, also confirmed the meeting but refused to give details.
“You have seen the picture of Asiwaju, the governor and the former Vice Chairman, South-west and you know pictures don’t lie and that means the meeting held,” Rahman said.
Since 2012, both politicians have worked at variance. Then Akeredolu had emerged as the gubernatorial candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) but lost the election to the Labour Party’s Olusegun Mimiko, the incumbent governor then.
The bitterness became pronounced during the struggle for the APC ticket for the 2016 governorship election with Tinubu backing Dr. Segun Abraham against Akeredolu. Akeredolu eventually defeated Abraham and Olusola Oke to become the APC flagbearer, and went on to triumphed at the polls to the irritation of Tinubu and his associates in Ondo State.
Tinubu however, had his pound of flesh in the build up to the 2019 general elections, when he ensured, with the backing of the APC NWC that Akeredolu was denied the privilege of having his men fielded for the National Assembly and state Houses of Assembly elections.
The development resulted in what is now tagged “anti party activities,” where the governor tacitly supported some of his favorites to contest the elections on the platform of the Action Alliance, (AA).