By Lateef Adegbite
The battle for the APC, Presidential Ticket in the 2023, general elections appears to have intensified between the trio, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and All Progressive, APC, National Leader, Yemi Osinbajo, the Nigerian’s Vice President and Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers state and minister of Transportation.
The trio who are close political allies of President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Army General, are said to have stepped up their consultation and using their connections and contacts both locally and internationally, to get the support of the Katsina state born Nigerian President to win the APC, Presidential ticket for the 2023, general elections.
. Tinubu, may have read the handwriting on the wall that it is not going to be easy battle at the party primaries to emerge the party Candidate for the 2023, general elections that his foot soldiers appear to be working on Osinbajo to step down and support the former Lagos state former governor’s Presidential bid. But Osinbajo is not likely to do so.
Only recently he had visited Lekan Balogun, a Senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria and Olubadan of Ibadan, as part of his nationwide consultations ‘’to receive the royal blessing to go into the 2023, and Presidential race’’. He was said to have informed the Oba in his Palace at Ibadan, Capital of Oyo state, of Presidential ambition and why he needed to receive his royal blessings to go into the 2023 presidential race on the ticket of the ruling APC.
The Oyo state revered traditional ruler was said to have in turn offered his traditional blessings to the Vice President and APC, Presidential aspirant. ‘’I conclude my contribution to you by handing you to Allah, let him protect you’’, he had prayed. He may have taken advantage of the visit to the Olubadan Palace at Ibadan, to meet with the APC, delegates for the party primaries next month and to solicit their support.
The Legal luminary, who had served as Commissioner of Justice and Attorney General of Lagos state during Tinubu’s Administration is ‘’confident that with his seven years in office as Vice President, and acting President for seven months, which gave much exposure. ‘’ was given very serious responsibility as acting President’’, he had said. Perhaps, this may have informed why he believes he is ‘’the best qualified him as the best among those gunning to rule Nigeria on the platform of the APC, after Buhari, in 2023’’.
He may have won the heart of the Oyo state delegates when he disclosed that he has spent the last couple of years in ‘’training and preparation’ to rule Nigeria’’. This is evident going by the comment of some of the Oyo state delegates who were said to have agreed that the Vice President who is gunning to take over from Buhari, as the next President after 2023, has gotten ‘’the ample experience to hit the ground running if elected as the next president in the 2023 general elections’’.
As part of his nation-wide consultation and meeting with the state delegates on a one –on-one basis, he has also taken it upon himself to reach out to the governors. On Monday, April 25, 2022, he had visited Rotimi Aeredolu, a Lawyer and governor of Ondo state and the stakeholders of APC, in the state, to solicit their support.
Indeed, the Nigerian Vice President and APC, Presidential aspirant, has a message to all the traditional rulers and party delegates in all the states he had visited of his intention ‘’to run for the office of the President of Nigeria, on the Platform of the ruling APC’’ in the 2023, general elections.
But Tinubu’s Camp believe Osinbanjo’s declaration of his Presidential bid and drive to reach out to the state delegates across the 36 states of the Federation,may split the delegates vote from the south west geo-political region, particular, during the party upcomingprimaries that may give an added advantage to Amaechi, a former rivers state governor, who is using his contacts in Daura, the President’s home town, and the north in general, to win their support and subsequently that of the Katsina state born Nigerian President.
Given the approach adopted by the Katsina state born Nigerian President to see to the emergence of Senator Abdullahi Adamu, a former governor of Nasarawa state and his Candidate for the National Chairmanship position of the party, there are indications that he may repeat same in the party primaries to select the Presidential Candidate in the 2023, general elections.
Many believe that whoever the retired Army General, who have firm control of the even north western states of Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Kaduna, Katsina, Kano and Jigawa, supports in the APC, primaries, will eventually emerge as the APC, Presidential Candidate in the 2023, and general elections.
Recall that the Nigerian President had urged Senator Adamu led APC , National Executive Council, NEC, ‘’to ensure that the primaries , both at the state and Federal levels are not’’ influenced by ”the highest bidders going into the 2023 general elections on the Platform of the party’’.
He may have alluded to Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos state, who many believe has the money ‘’to buy over all the delegates at the party primaries using his foot soldiers. His recent donations of N50 million each to victims of Bandits attacks in Zamfara, Niger, home state of Ibrahim Babangida, a retired Army General and former military President and Kaduna, speaks volume.
Political analysts had opined that he made such mouth watery donations to the three north western states Bandits attack victims to win the heart of their respective state governors in order to put in words for him with the state party delegates during the upcoming party Presidential primaries.
Although, the Nigerian President may have kept Nigerians waiting to name his favourite Candidate for the 2023 Presidential race on the ticket of the APC, but he has said in an interview with Channels Television that he will not do so. He has his reason: This is to avoid the person to danger of being eliminated’’, which clearly shows the high level of insecurity in the country. It is not surprising why he had repeatedly said that ‘’the 2023, general elections is not his problem’’.
He is optimistic that his favourite Candidate for the 2023, general elections, will win the 2023 Presidential elections. political Observers believe that he is still watching the the aspirants to know who to support. This is because he would want to support a Candidate who will be there for him at all times. He may have said that much in an interview with Channels Television, ”I don’t want the next government to invite me to come and present evidence in Court after the expiration of my tenure’’, he had said.
Many believe that he may have had Amaechi, the minister of Transportation in mind and not Osinbajo, who covered up for him several, during medical trips abroad, or Tinubu, who had worked together with him from the foundation to turn the APC, into a national party.
Last February, Amaechi, the minister of Transportation, described as’’ a very loyal son’’ by Umar Faruk Umar, the Emir of Daura was conferred with the title of ‘’Dan Amarnar Daura, meaning ‘’the trustworthy son of Daura’’, Chieftaincy title, by the revered traditional ruler.
The Emir had said that the traditional title was conferred on the minister because of his ”immense contributions to the development of the Emirate Council, Katsina state and the nation in genera”l. He noted that ‘’Daura Emirate Council, does not give titles anyhow but only to those who deserve it like the likes of Amaechi’. The Emir noted that the ‘’Amaechi’s title is ‘’to reciprocate the hand of fellowship extended to Katsina and the north in general through several projects’’.
One of such projects is the $1.8 billion dual carriage rail track contract being handled by Mota Engil, linking Nigeria and the neighbouring Republic of Niger, even when the Lagos-Calabar railway project with the subsequent inclusion of Akure had remained uncompleted. He knew that it was a political minus on him in the south that he has given his political proomse to Oba Adetoyinbo, of Akure, of his determination ‘’to ensure the completion of the railway in the state if elected President in 2023’’.
He was to have made the Oba of Akure to understand that ‘’there are few Candidates, Nigerians may vote as President in the 2023, general elections that will continue the railway project because it takes a strong and determined mind like the retired Army General to continue with the Chinese Loan for the construction of the railway’’. He may have alluded to Osin Osinbajo, the Vice Presidents in his remarks.
Recall that another major project that Amaechi had cited in Daura Emirate Council that may have won him the heart of the people was the $50 million or N18 billion, Federal University of Transportation , Daura, and additional Primary and Secondary schools projects in the Emirate Council, alone.
Amaechi had made Nigerians to believe during the ground breaking ceremony for the University of Transportation project on December 2, 2019, by the Nigerian President that ‘’the University project was obtained free of charge from the Chinese government as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility in Nigeria’’ but not many people many people took him serious as they believe that he was merely acting out a script of the the Nigerian President to cite the multi-billion naira projects in Daura to show that he attracted such developmentaal projects the ntown while in office.
This may have informed why Political Observers believe that ‘’Amaechi is the anointed Presidential Candidate of the APC, by Buhari, in the 2023, general elections. But Ali Ndume, Buhari’s political ally and Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Army, had said that he was one of those that had encouraged the minister of Transportation ‘to make his declaration to contest the 2023, general elections’’ because of the support from the north. He may have spoken the mind of Buhari.