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FACT CHECK: Are all Tinubu’s allies still loyal to him as Reno Omokri claimed?

Reno Omokri, ex-aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, has claimed that former governors of Lagos State who succeeded Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, are still loyal…

Reno Omokri, ex-aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, has claimed that former governors of Lagos State who succeeded Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, are still loyal to the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate.

Omokri added that everyone who served with Tinubu are still loyal to him.

He made the assertions on his verified Facebook page, Reno Omokri, and via his Twitter handle, @renoomokri, last weekend.

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On Facebook alone, the post had garnered over 5,000 reactions and comments and had been shared more 100 times as of the time of filing this report.

Part of the post reads, “Tinubu has been able to sustain the loyalties of Lagos Governors 15 years after leaving office. Everyone who served with him is still loyal to him.”

Has Tinubu “sustained” the loyalty of his allies?

While it can be said that former governor and incumbent Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) is still loyal to Tinubu, there is strained relationship between Tinubu and ex-governor Akinwunmi Ambode.

Fashola in an interview with Channels TV recently declared support for Tinubu to emerge president. Though, Ambode is still in APC, he has not publicly endorsed his former boss for the highest position in the country.

Ambode and Tinubu fell apart after the latter was against the former’s re-election bid in 2019. Ambode’s second term ambition was frustrated by the APC governing council in the state, backed by Tinubu. He eventually lost the party’s primary to Tinubu’s preferred candidate, Babajide-Sanwo-Olu.

Until he broke away from APC, Abdul-Azeez Olajide Adediran well known as Jandor was Tinubu and Fashola’s protégé. He was, however, aggrieved over the conduct of the APC ward, local and state congresses.

Jandor consequently led a faction of APC called Lagos4Lagos Movement and defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) whose 2023 governorship ticket in Lagos he won.

Similarly, Tinubu and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had maintained close relationship since the Professor of law was appointed as Attorney-General of Lagos State during the Tinubu administration.

Their relationship blossomed as Tinubu also played a major role in Osinbajo’s emergence as President Muhammadu Buhari’s running mate in 2014.

However, many questioned Osinbajo’s loyalty to Tinubu when they competed for the APC presidential ticket which Tinubu eventually clinched.

It was also believed that the ‘faltering relationship’ between the duo was responsible for the exclusion of Osinbajo from the Tinubu/Shettima Presidential Campaign Council list.

However, the Director of Public Affairs and the chief spokesperson for the campaign council, Festus Keyamo said the vice president was excluded on the request of President Buhari so he (Osinbajo) could focus on governance.

In the same vein, Senator Babafemi Ojudu used to be Tinubu’s loyalist. But Ojudu, who serves in the Office of the Vice President as Special Adviser on Politics to the President, declared that he was not in support of Tinubu’s ambition in the build-up to the APC presidential primary.

The former lawmaker, who represented Ekiti Central Senatorial District between 2011 and 2015, in a statement titled, ‘Principled Political Choices are not Betrayal’, said he could not in good conscience support Tinubu for the presidency.

He said, “I and Bola Tinubu have come a long way and we have been there for each other. So, let no one use my acknowledgment of his good deeds and my refusal not to support him in his bid for Nigeria presidency to portray me as a betrayer.”

Also, Tinubu seems to have lost a staunch loyalty in former Osun State governor and Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola.

Their ‘quarrel’ was partly attributed to the APC’s recent defeat in the governorship election in Osun State. Aregbesola did not support Tinubu’s annointed candidate, Gboyega Oyetola, during the July 2022 poll.

Addressing his supporters in Ijebu-Ijesha ahead of the gubernatorial election, Aregbesola in a veiled reference to Tinubu, said, “Honestly, we followed and served this leader with all our might. Our loyalty to him had caused some people to start wondering if we were no longer Muslims. But we served him with sincerity and loyalty. If you regard anyone as your principal, you must serve him wholeheartedly. Sadly we didn’t know that while we wished him well, he didn’t think well of us.

“Because we placed him higher than where he ordinarily should be, he started to think that he is our god. Unfortunately for him, we had sworn that we would beg God to bring down whoever compared himself to Him.”

Aregbesola had served as Commissioner for Works in Lagos State under Tinubu between 1999 and 2006. Thereafter, he went to Osun, his home state, to serve as governor.

Verdict:

Based on available evidence, Omokri’s claim that Tinubu’s successors as Lagos governor and everyone who worked with him are still loyal to him is false. Although Tinubu still retains majority of his loyalists, including Fashola, there are a few instances where the relationship between him and some of his protégés has gone south.

 

This fact check was produced in partnership with the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD)

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