Tinubu and Fayemi have endured a frosty relationship behind the scenes. You just have to look close enough
It was from Olayinka Oyebode, Special Assistant on Media to the Minister of Solid Minerals and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi.
“Dr. Fayemi subscribes to the highest moral and ethical standard of the Yoruba and as such would not speak evil or seek to demean Asiwaju Tinubu or any of our respected leaders under no circumstance whatsoever,” the mail read tersely.
It continued:“For the avoidance of doubt, Dr. Fayemi has always held and will continue to hold Asiwaju Tinubu in high esteem.
“The bond that exists between them dates back to decades of cordial relationship and no peddler of falsehood or group of blackmailers hiding under the guise of politics can put asunder.”
The mail was a response to a story posted by an online news platform, insinuating that Tinubu had fallen out with Fayemi.
According to Oyebode, the statement was a reaction to “a false report on a website, with the headline: “Tinubu as a leader is responsible for his misfortunes, says Fayemi.
“It must be stressed that Dr. Kayode Fayemi never granted any interview where he made disparaging comments about the person of our highly revered leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.”
We can wager that Fayemi never granted that interview. He's too genially sophisticated and well groomed to use the words ascribed to him in that fictitious report.
But stories of this kind do not just emanate from nowhere.
Smoke and fire. Fire and smoke.
There’s no denying that Fayemi fell out with Tinubu shortly before the 2014 Ekiti Governorship election.
Fayemi lost that election to rabble rouser Ayodele Fayose.
In Fayemi's camp, Tinubu didn't do enough to stop the Fayose onslaught.
Tinubu boasts a track record of spotting and grooming political talent.
Fayemi is a graduate of the Tinubu political school alongside Babatunde Raji Fashola, Akinwunmi Ambode, Rauf Aregbesola, Yemi Osinbajo, Adams Oshiomhole and a host of others.
To his credit, Asiwaju places plenty of faith in his fledglings, sires them through the cutthroat terrain that is Nigerian politics, before unleashing them on the national stage.
Fayemi was a dyed-in-the-wool Tinubu protégé.
In 2015, grapevine sources told Pulse that Tinubu wasn’t in support of Fayemi and Fashola’s nominations as prospective Ministers into President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet.
Both men had fallen out with their Godfather for reasons ranging from imposition of candidates to differences in perspectives.
It was public knowledge that Fashola’s choice of a successor in Lagos wasn’t Ambode. The Power Minister was backing Supo Shasore.
In the end, Tinubu had his way—his handpicked candidate, Ambode, was enthroned as Governor of Lagos.
Fashola and Fayemi emerged Ministers in the face of Jagaban’s resistance. Buhari wanted both men in his team, in spite of what Tinubu felt about them, a few sources familiar with the developments at the time, had revealed to Pulse.
Tinubu had to issue a widely circulated statement to say he wasn't behind the fusillade of attacks that trailed Fashola's nomination as Minister.
"Born of this motley stew is the recent gossip mongering that I have willfully instigated false and negative reports against former Governor Fashola to thwart him from being appointed to a major post in the Buhari administration", Tinubu wrote.
He added that: “I want to declare clearly and categorically that these rancid attacks do not come from me nor do I endorse them. Neither my hand nor my heart is in these mean submissions. I deplore them.
“An attack against the performance of Governor Fashola is indirectly an attack against me".
Sources close to Tinubu and Fayemi have told Pulse that ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ have been keeping a “frosty relationship under wraps".
They've managed to paper over the cracks.
Tinubu associates will tell you that the ‘Godfather’ of South West politics—like every other Godfather out there—can be a tad overbearing.
As seen in the wake of the Ondo APC primary contest, Tinubu is capable of throwing fits and tantrums if not allowed his way.
Just ask APC Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun.
That statement from Fayemi denying an attack on Tinubu was the correct version of events.
The former Governor of Ekiti State won’t go out of his way to disrespect Tinubu—at least in the public domain.
But the rebuttal from the Minister should tell you there’s some story of a relationship gone sour, in there somewhere.