2023: Battle Of Two Political Giants,Tinubu Describes Atiku As A Worthy Opponent

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By Suleiman Umaru

The ruling All Progressive Congress, APC,  may have achieved its purpose by waiting for the Opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, To hold its  Special Convention  to elect its Presidential  Candidate on Saturday May 18, 2022 and Sunday , May 19, 2022.

 The Iyorche Ayu, led PDP, described in political circles as the government in waiting had elected Atiku Abubakar , a former Vice President , during Olusegun Obasanjo’s Administration. He had contested the 2019, general elections on the ticket of the PDP, but lost to President Muhammau Buhari of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC. 

The Katsina born Nigerian President may have known that the Adamawa state born politician is not a pushover that barely a week to the APC Presidential Primary at Abuja, the Federal capital Territory, FCT,  he was said to have had several meetings  with various interest groups within the party, ranging from APC governors across the country ,  northern governors elected on the platform of the APC,  the 23 Presidential aspirants jostling to take over from him after the 2023, general elections, APC elected National Assembly Lawmakers to the Senator Abdullahi Adamu, led National Working Committee, NWC.

This may have given opportunity to remote the APC Presidential primary and decides on who emerges as the party flag bear for the 2023, general elections. This may have informed why people that the emergence of Tinubu, popular, Jagaban, the former, governor of Lagos state did not come as a surprise, though he had given the impression that he never expected to win the party primary, let alone become its Presidential Candidate because of the powerful forces against him.

As a prelude to ensuring that the APC delegates elected a Presidential Candidate who would guarantee ‘’the party  third consecutive win in 2023 elections’’ , may have informed why the party Leadership  had to go back  to the drawing board  to throw the contest open to the party 23 Presidential aspirants instead of zoning the Presidency to the south east. The south east. The decision may have factionalised the party as there were disagreements amongst the contestants, particular, those from the south east and the south west geopolitical regions.

Atiku: PDP presidential Flag Bearer, Ready For Tinubu

Signs that the APC National Leader, who is as rugged as Atiku, would win the APC Presidential ticket emerged when the northern governors elected on the Platform of the  Party  recommended the APC National Leader,   Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers state , who had been conferred with the Dan Ammana meaning trusted  son , of Daura Emirate, in Katsina, Buhari home state by Farouq Umar, Emir of Daura, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President, Kayode Fayemi, governor of Ekiti state and Chairman, Nigerian governors Forum, NPF to the party NWC, to select its consensus Presidential Candidate. But Tinubu had consistently made it clear to the party Leadeship that if there should be a concensus , he must the one because he  has contributed immensely to the growth and stability of the party between 2013 and now.

 The northern governors may have further brightened his chances of winning the party primaries to contest the 2023, general elections which he had repeatedly said was his life ambition with the matching order given to the northern Presidential aspirants to withdraw from, which may have made the coast clear for him  to beat other other aspirants from the south including Amaechi and Oinbajo, described as the faoured  aspirants in the Presidency. Ahmad Lawan, the Senate President, who was initially picked a the party consensus Candidate by the party Leaders, was rejected by the northern governors  elcted on the ticket of the APC.

The northern governors who were angry that the Presidential aspirants from the region were not ready the allow the APC Presidential primary to be an all south affair may have decided to quue behind Tinubu, the party National leader and one of the founding chieftains of the party in the Presidential race to humiliate the northern aspirants.

  Mohammed Badru Abubakar, governor of Jigawa state, who had consistently assured Tinubu, that his friend, referring to the Katsina state born Nigerian President, would want to hand over power to him after the 2023, general elections ,may have read the handwriting on the wall that the 13 other Presidential aspirants slugging it out with Tinubu, an’’ old war horse in politics’’, may not make an impact in the party primary because he has  done his homework and did the needful,  which may have won the heart of majority of the  delegates.

 He had stepped down for the Jagaban and urged his delegates to vote form. Goswell Akabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom state and Immediate past minister of Niger Delta, Senator Ajayi Boroffice, Dimeji Bakole, a one- time Speaker of House of Representatives,  and Uju Ken-Ohanenye, a female Presidential aspirants  were said to have also stepped down for him, looking forward to getting ministerial position or possibly nominate any of their lolalysts for ministerial Board appointments if the party wins the 2023, general elections. A good deal, you may say.

The victory of Tinubu, in the party Presidential primary may have informed why the Nigerian President had urged the party members to unite  and throw their full and unwavering support on him. ‘’We must build a united front’’, he had told party members on Wednesday, June 8, no soner Tinubu, was declared the APC flag bearer for the 2023, general elections.

   The Katsina state born Nigerian President may not h not bothered about Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra state who had picked the Presidential ticket of the Labour party, LP, after dumping the PDP, three days ahead of its primaries or Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, a former governor of Kano state and the Nigerian National People’Party, NNPP, Presidential Candidate while in search of his successor in the APC for the 2023 general elections. He may not have seen the duo as threat the ruling APC but the PDP.

Atiku may have known that the game is up that he had met the PDP governors at the party Secretariat in Abuja recently at Abuja.There are indications that Nyenson Wike, governor of Rivers state and his closest rival in the Presidential primary, Emmanuel Udom, governor of Akwa Ibom state , who had contested the party Presidential primary and Bala Mohammed, governor of Bauchi state, who also contested the Presidential primary were at the meeting.

 Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue state  Ifeanyi Okowa, Delta and Aminu Tamubuwal, a former Speaker of  House of Representatives and governor of Sokoto state, who had made Atiku’s victory possible at the party special convention, were also at the all the importantant meeting   to restrategise for the 2023, general elections.  This is in addition to governors Ifeanyi Ugwanyi, duoye Diri, Ahmadu Fintri and Dairus Ishaku, governors of Enugu, Bayelsa, Adamawa and Taraba states respectively were also at the meeting, initiated by Atiku, who sees himself as unifer. Ayu, the patry Chairman, according to informed sources was not left out. The meeting may have   been held at the instance of Atiku to select the Vice Presidential Candidate for the 2023, general election.

 Recall that he had earliercongratulated Tinubu, in preparation for their meeting on the election lday. The former Nigerian Vice President had praised the former Lagos governor for his ‘’hard-fought contest and and still prevailed confirming  his tenacity in politics”.

Tinubu may have known that he will be win the APC primary to clinch the party Presidential ticket  when he congratulated  Atiku, for beating his closest rivals Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers state Bukola Saraki, forme Senate President, to emerge the PDP, flag bearer for the 2023, general elections.

 Jagaban  had told the PDP  Flag bearer that the upcoming 2023 general  elections  should be about  issues  that will improve  the quality of life of Nigerians, bring peace, progress, political stability an solve  the myriad  of socio-political  challenges  and insecurity  currently facing the country’’. 

‘’I look  forward  ‘’to squaring  up  with you as  a worthy opponent  in the forthcoming 2023, Presidential election’’, he told Atiku.  True to his words, he was won the APC, Presidential primary and now ready to meet Atiku, Obi and Kwankwaso and other Political parties Presidential Candidates at the polls. Note that Professor Mahmood Yakubu led Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had registered 18 political parties to contest the 2023, general elections.

This may have informed why he has charged Atiku, the PDP, Standard Bearer and all other political actors across party lines   that they should  make the 2023 election season one that  is ‘’devoid  of bitterness, rancor and strife’’.  Tinubu, who could not hide his feelings  had said that Atiku, the PDP Candidate  will be burdened  ‘’to explain  why Nigerians should  give it  another opportunity , to regain power in 2023 afer squandering  16 years at the Federal level with nothing to show for it’’.

Acording to him,  Nigerians are  yet to recover from the national ruin and mismanagement of the country’s resources by successive PDP Administrations for 16 years.

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