By Suleiman Umaru
The battle for the 2023 general elections, which will kick-start with the Presidential and National Assembly Elections on February 25, appears to have taken a new dimension. This is because former President Olsegun Obasanjo has endorsed his preferred Candidate for 2023 general elections’’.
He was said to have thrown his weight on Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra state governor and the Labour Party, LP, Presidential Candidate. Aswaju Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and Presidential Candidate of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, and Atiku Abubakar, who had served as Vice President in his eight years rule and the Opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, had approached him at different times for support but he was said to have refused to commit himself to anyone of them.
Akin Osuntokun, who is now the Director General of the LP Presidential Campaign Organisation following the resignation of Doyin Okupe, whom a Federal High Court in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, on Decembr 19, 2022, had found guilty of violating the money Laundry Act.
The Court had found him to have collected N240 million from retired Colonel Sambo Dsuki, a former National Security Adviser, NSA, to former President Goodluck Jonathan, which he had said was used to open a median office form the Administration to launder his image and pay the staff running the office on a daily basis.
The LP, Presidential Campaign Director General may have cleared all doubts on who the former Nigerian is supporting when he appeared on Cannels Television recently. Asked if Obasanjo, a former Nigerian President is fully supporting the Obi’s Cmpaign, to which he responded with an emphatic yes.
Many believe that that the father Nigerian President, described as ‘’ a father figure’’ by Osuntokun and whom President Muhammadu Buhari, had described in one of his birthday messages to him as ‘’my boss’’, may have suggested the the name of immediate zonal coordinator of the party Campaign in the south west and who had serve as former political Adviser of President Jonathan and also as a zonal coordinator of the former President Campaign in 2011 in the region, to replace Okupe because he is ‘’qualified and competent for the job to take the party to victory’’.
With his exit from the PDP, he may have sent a message to Senator Iyorchia Ayu, the PDP, National Chairman, who has been at loggerheads with Nyensom Wike, Okezie Ikpeazu, Samuel Ortom, Seyi Makinde and Ieanyi Ugwuanyi, the five PDP, governors from Rivers, Abia, Benue, Oyo and Enugu states respectively and Atiku, the party Presidential Candidate that they should no longer count on his support for the 2023, general electionsas he has transferred his loyalty to LP.
He had said that he was forced to decamp to the LP, because ‘’the party Capaign Organisation was confused for the party hierachy’’. He had told those that cares to listen that ‘’joing the Obi Campaign is a higher national priority than any other aspirations’’.
While Osuntokun, the new Director General of LP, Presidential Campaign Organisation, had opened up on Former President Obasanjo’s endorsed Presidential Candidate for the 2023, general elections, There are indications that the G5, dubbed Integrity, will endorse their Preferred Candidate on January 5, 2023, baring any unforeseen circumstance.
This may have informed why Wike, the governor of Rivers state had a member of the G5, had said that he will make known his Presidential Candidate in January 2o23. He had said that he will also Campaign for his adopted Candidate nationwide. He was emphatic.’’I will Campaign to the people of Rivers state whom they will vote for’’.
He may have sent a message to Senator Ayu and Atiku, the PDP, Presidential Candidate that the battle line had been drawn when he said ‘’not only will tell the people of the state who to vote for among the Presidential Candidates of the 18 registered Political Parties by Prof. Mahmood Yakubu led Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC but I will move from state to state with him for the Campaigns and tell Nigerians why they should vote for the person.
A close source to the G5, told The Value News that decision of the Integrity Group may not be different from Obasanj, Afenifere , the Yoruba socio-political Organisation , AREWA Consultative Forum, ACF and Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, who had not hidden his support for the Bandits Group, operating in the north, and describing them as ‘’our people’’, position
Recall that former President Obasanjo, had met with the G5 governors, dubbed Integrity Group and his Preferred Presidential Candidate, Obi, the south east born politician last August in London, United Kingdom, UK, last August, where they were said to have discussed for several hours on the state of the nation and the way out.The former President was aid to have advised the G5, to support Obi, the LP, Presidential Candidate to move Nigeria forward.
As a prelude to the Octogenarian Advice to the G5, Ortom, the Benue state governor, who had served as minister of state, Industry, Trade and Investment, during Jonathan’s Administration, has declared his support for Obi, the LP Candidate, for the 2023, general elections.
The Benue governor who may have corroborated the views of Sheikh Gumi, had said that the former Anambra state governor is ‘’the best person among the 18 Presidential Candidates jostling to take over from the Katsina state born Nigerian President after the 2023, general elections to solve the nation’s socio-economic problems’’.
He may have endorsed the LP Candidate because of his care for the suffering masses. He had ‘’praised the LP Candidate for visiting the Camps of the Internally Displaced People, IDPs to celebrate the Christmas with them’’.
He noted that ’’several Presidential Candidates have come to the state to Campaign but none of them have chosen to visit those IDP Camps and look at their plight to see how they are doing and give them hope that when they win , they will bring them succor, and help’’ .
Hear him him: For Obi to have chosen to visit the IDP Camps on a Christmas day that he should be celebrating with his family , for me as a Christian , I say , God will bless you and your aspirations.
‘’My prayer is that God will bless your aspirations to be the next Nigerian President after the 2023, general elections to take over from Buhari’’. He opined that he has seen the ‘’capacity, faith and hope and have seen someone who can bring the required, equity, Justice and fairness that he has been pursuing since he became governor of Benue state in 2015.
Unlike Governor Wike of Rivers state , who had said that he will Campaign for his Preferred Candidate once he makes it public in January 2023, Ortom, may have played safe as he had told Obi , ‘’ if I were not in the PDP, I would have been following you all over the place to canvass and vote for you’’. ‘’But because I’m in the PDP, I’m telling Nigerians that this man, referring to Obi, the LP, Candidate, can help deliver this country from its present socio-economic and security challenges’’, he had aid.
According to him, electing Buhari of the ruling APC, as the Nigerian President ,in 2015, and Whom Bishop Mathew Kukkah, of the Caholic Diocese of Sokoto, had said had done well in the provision of Infratructural facilities in the country was a big disappointment to Nigerians considering ‘’the high level of insecurity and biting hardship in the country’’.
Political Observers believe that Governor Ortom has set the stage for other members of the G5, to make their declaration endorsing Obi of the LP, in January 2023.
Tinubu , the aAPC , Presidential Candidate and Atiku, his Counterpart in in the PDP, who had thought that they have penetrated the ranks of the G5, may have seen that it is an impregnable Group that the duo may have been forced to go back to the drawing board to restrategise on winning the 2023, Presidential elections without them.
Peter Okoye, popular. Mr. P of the PSquare fame, had said that due to the popularity of Obi, among the Nigerian masses, some cabals want the LP Presidential Candidate for the 2023, general elections ‘’to withdraw from the race ,because he is a threat to years of their selfish subjugation of the Nigerian people’’. He had had said that ‘’the 2023 general elections is no longer about Obi, but about the millions of frustrated Nigerians especially the youths who want to take their anger to the ballot box’’.
Ahead of the 2023, general elections, Usman Mohammed, a Chieftain of the APC, and Managing Director, of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, had said most Political Parties, across the country and their Presidential Candidates do not seem’’ to understand the nation’s power sector’’. He was said to have described as a mirage ‘’ the plan by some of the Presidential Candidates to solve the nation’s power sector in four years and move the country’s power generation from a 4,000 mw to 25,000mw
. He may have alluded to Atiku of the Opposition PDP and Obi, the LP Candidate who had promised to increase the country’s power generation capacity to 25,000mw if elected President in 2023.
He may have spoken the mind of Buhari, when he said that ‘’the power industry is a slow one and takes time for the investments to manifest’’. Appealing to the next Nigerian President to resist vested interests, the NTC, Managing Director advised him not to expect money from the power sector to make progress.
In a related development, Nasir El-Rufai, a former minister of FCT and now governor of Kaduna state which is under the siege of the Bandits Group, has advised the politicians to take religion and ethnicity out of politics, urging Nigerians’’ to punish politicians who use it as tool to power’’. This bad news to the two mega parties, APC and the PDP.
He was said to have appealed to the Royal Fathers and Scholars across the country to communicate to the people in order to ensure that the 2023 general elections and future elections in the country do not ‘’center on religion but around what ‘’the person can do to improve the lot of the ordinary people’’.
Aware that the International Community will hold responsible if there is any problem in the conduct of the 2023, general elections may have informed why the Nigerian President had assured President Joe Biden of the North American country of the United States, US and other world Leaders, of leaving a Legacy of free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria and a stable West African sub region.
He may have taken advantage of the recent gathering of Economic of West African States, ECOWAS, parliamentarians in Abuja, to reiterate of his commitment ‘’to conduct a free, fair and transparent elections and smooth transitions in Nigeria in 2023’’.
‘’This is one Legacy that I want my Administration to bequeath, not only to Nigeria but the ECOWAS Sub-region as a whole’’, he had aid.