2023: Nine Presidential Candidates Seek To Take Over  Buhari’s Job

 By Suleiman Umaru,

Barely one month after Aasiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the Jagaban and former governor of Lagos state, and Dave Umahi, the incumbent governor of the south-east state of Eboyi, declared their intention to run for the 2023 presidential race, after seeking President Muhammadu Buhari’s, a retired Army General, approval, the race appears to have been thrown up.

This is because more presidential aspirants, both serious and joking, from both the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which had ruled the country for sixteen years, have expressed their desire to be the next occupant of the Presidential Villa.

Tambuwal: Governor Of Sokoto State, Decalres His Presidential Ambition

Aminu Tambuwal, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives and current governor of the Caliphate state of Sokoto, is the most recent candidate to express interest in the position. Peter Obi, a former gover of Anambra state and PDP Vice presidential Candidate in the 2019 , general elections has also signified his intention to join the race if the party Zones it to south east. He disclosed that if it is thrown open ,” Nigerians will also hear from him”.

At present, while Tinubu, Umahi, Rochas Okorocha, and Orji Uzor Kalu, Senators and former governors of Imo and Abia states, respectively, are members of the APC, Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President who ran for President in the2019, general elections against Buhari, the incumbent President, Bukola Saraki, a former governor of Kwara state and one-time Senate President, Senator Ayim Pius Ayim, are members of the PDP.

Recall that the Katsina state-born Nigerian President had refused to assent to the 2021 Electoral Bill, passed into law by the National Assembly on the ground that the lawmakers had limited the choice of the parties selecting their candidates for elective positions to direct primaries, insisting that other options be included to give the parties a variety of options.

The retired Army General may have had the indirect primary and consensus options in the back of his mind in order to avoid throwing the selection process for candidates who may want to run for the money bags in the 2023 elections in the back of his mind.

The National Assembly may have bowed to the Presidential pressure to re-amend the Electoral Bill with the inclusion of other options for the parties to use in selecting their candidates during the convention for elective offices at the state, national, senatorial, house and assembly constituency levels.

Already, the National Assembly has transmitted the re-amended Electoral Act Amendment Bill to the retired Army General for his assent. The lawmakers may have speedily amended the Electoral Act to avoid giving room to the Nigerian President to come up with another reason why he may not sign it, which may further heat up the electoral process and throw the country into crisis.

There is no getting around the fact that virtually all Presidential hopefuls of the two dominant political parties in the country, APC and PDP, are in a hurry for their parties’ convention to test their popularity ahead of the main general elections in 2023.

It is instructive to note that, regardless of the option adopted during the Convention, only one of the nine Presidential candidates from the two mega parties who have declared their intention to run in the 2023 Presidential elections would emerge from either of the parties.

The PDP may have attracted more presidential aspirants because the parties do not appear to be in a rush to speak out on the strategy they used in selecting their Presidential Candidate and elective offices in order to avoid giving the APC an advantage and vice versa. As a prelude to ensuring that the APC makes the right selection in the 2023 general elections from the crowd of contestants, Mai Buni, governor of Yobe state and Chairman of the party, the National Reconciliation Committee, has submitted its interim report aimed at reconciling, harmonizing and integrating members of the party in order to further cement all cracks and seeming differences.

Buni: Governor Of Yobe State, Submits APC National Reconciliation Committee Report

The submission of the Buni report may have informed why Dapo Abiodun, governor of the south-west state of Ogun, said that Buhari will give the necessary guidance to the party leadership “to ensure that equity and justice are reflected within the party’s zoning formula”. Recall that he had said that the identity of the person who will be the party’s candidate in the 2023 general elections is still a closely guarded secret to avoid exposing the person’s life to danger.

Although the APC is still perfecting its plans to resolve its internal crisis, that may result if Tinubu fails to win the APC Presidential race during the party convention, to avoid factionalism in the party. There are indications that members of the Alliance Congress of Nigeria, CAN, one of the major parties in the formation of the APC, which had a good deal before going into the merger, may want to pull out.

The PDP National Leadership, on its part, is still weighing the option of zoning or throwing the race open to all candidates, irrespective of the region. Sokoto state governor, Mr. Tambuwal, had said that his decision to join the race was “based on calls by the state chapter of the PD, agreeing to begin a nationwide consultation on the pursuit of this ambition.”

Ironically, none of the Presidential aspirants has come out to tell Nigerians how they intend to reunify the already fractured country or address the security challenges it faces, instead vying to be the next occupant of the Villa in 2023.Security personnel must be non-partisan in order to do a good job of saving the country from a crisis, as the Presidential Candidate may resort to dirty tactics in order to fulfill their lifelong ambition of ruling the country.

Many believe that with the strategy adopted by Usman Alkali Baba, the Inspector General of Police, IGP, to ensure a hitch-free election in the last Anambra state governorship election that saw Charles Soludo, a Professor and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, emerge as the governor on the ticket of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, it would be difficult for any person that may want to foment trouble to do so and get away.

This is where the nine Presidential Candidates from the two mega parties vying for power in the country may have to warn their supporters and loyalists to sheath their swords and ensure peace at their respective party conventions and during the general elections in 2023.

Dangote: Arewa Youths Want Him To Join The 2023 Presidential Race

The Arewa Youths may have lost hope in the old politicians that they have called on, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a former minister of Finance and Coordinator of the Economy, at different times during Olusegun Obasanjo and Jonathan’s administrations, and now Director General, World Trade Organisation, Aliko Danogote, President of the Dangote Group of Companies, and Femi Otedola, a business mogul, to join the Presidential race.

As good as the Arewa Youths’ Call may be, Okonjo-Iweala may not want to leave at the international level to enter into the murky waters of Nigerian politics, nor the duo of Dango and Otedola, who are established businessmen in Africa and the world over, abandon their business to go into politics to compete with the professional politicians.

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