It’s that season when politicians battle for positions. And the fight for Nigeria’s highest office will be an interesting watch. In this piece, our Head of News, Ufuoma Egbamuno takes a critical look at some of the candidates he believes are the country’s best options.
Let me be clear from the very onset, I believe in justice, fairness and equity.
And that’s why there’s no politician from Northern Nigeria on my list.
Bauchi governor and prospective presidential candidate, Bala Mohammed has a valid claim when he suggested that the North has had less time running Nigeria from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) point of view.
“We are aware of the agitations of the southern part of the country because the leader of the country today, President Muhammadu Buhari, who is from the North, will finish his tenure in 2023, so power should rotate to the South,” Mohammed is quoted as saying.
“But I want to say that I am in PDP, I am not in APC. It is the APC that has this burden.
“In my party, the last president was from the South and he was my president, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
“During this period, my party was at the centre for 16 years; 14 of those years were led by the people from the South. So where is the justice and the justification? Therefore, it is the turn of the North,” the Bauchi governor insisted.
But PDP - as large as they are - isn’t Nigeria. The fact remains that we are about to witness eight uninterrupted years of a president from Northern Nigeria.
To suggest yet another candidate from that region runs afoul of fairness and equity.
However, politics is a game of numbers.
And the hard truth is, the PDP’s best chance of reclaiming the Presidency is to field a Northern candidate, as difficult to swallow as that may sound for people down South.
The Tinubu Conundrum
For the ruling party, it is almost a given that after almost eight years of President Buhari, power will most likely shift to the South.
For now, the most formidable candidate to formally declare his intention in the party is the former governor of Lagos, Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT).
Make no mistake, Tinubu is one of two politicians alive today who has the name, wealth, experience, and structure to be president. The other is a certain Atiku Abubakar.
Asiwaju, as he’s fondly called, has left no one in doubt that he covets the highest office in the land.
"I have never seen where it is written in the rule book anywhere in any country that a kingmaker cannot be a king – unless you commit murder,” Tinubu told State House correspondents after meeting President Buhari last month.
“So, whatever is your attribute [of me] is your own opinion. Me, I want to pursue my ambition without the title of a kingmaker.”
I personally admire Tinubu. He’s a different breed to the average Nigerian politician. He plays the long game and that’s why 15 years after being governor, he remains a colossus.
After surviving the PDP wave of 2003, Asiwaju systematically built a political empire that has seen him dominate South West politics from then which resulted in a move to the centre since 2015.
He understands the politics of give and take and the power the media has.
He built the foundation for the successes (and there are many) of his successors - Fashola, Ambode and present governor, Sanwo-Olu.
However, as much I love BAT, I’m well aware 2022 isn’t 2015.
First, despite what his handlers will say, his seeming health challenge will continue to be the focus of his detractors.
After having one president die in office and another spend his first five or six years in and out of hospital, a Tinubu Presidency will remain a hard sell for the average Nigerian.
Let’s not even mention the alleged corruption - which by the way has never been proven but perception they say is everything - and the menace of Agberos, a group many believe was emboldened under his administration.
More importantly, President Buhari’s almost eight years of divisive rule, security challenges and crucially, a worsening economy, has made a Tinubu Presidency more unacceptable to the average Nigerian now than it would have been in 2015.
One of President Buhari's biggest achievement is in infrastructure.— Ufuoma Egbamuno (@Foskolo) April 21, 2021
Unfortunately, his actions/inactions which have fueled more divisions/ethnic/religions crises have made them almost irrelevant.
Almost like doing 9 good and 1 bad. People only remember the 1.
Bad Legacy! https://t.co/ukfwtUraRS
Make no mistake, if the APC conducts a primary today, Tinubu has got the structure to get the party’s ticket. That’s how formidable he is.
Question is, will he? If you ask me, Tinubu isn’t what the average Nigerian wants at this time.
But does the average Nigerian get to decide these things?
Enter Yemi Osinbajo
It is no longer a secret that the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, wants to succeed his boss.
The fact that Osinbajo, who was Tinubu’s pick for the position the former Lagos governor so wanted badly in 2014, is about to go head-to-head with his mentor isn’t lost on anyone.
Osinbajo is intelligent!
He’s shown he can be a great leader in the few instances he’s acted instead of his boss.
His decisiveness in sacking former DSS boss, Lawal Daura as well as forwarding Justice Onoghen’s name to the Senate for confirmation as Chief Justice of the Federation, drew the ire of a few but gave him out as a man who isn’t afraid to take the difficult decisions.
Unlike Tinubu, he doesn’t have health challenges.
However, just like Tinubu, you cannot extricate him from the debacles of the last six and half years.
Oh, don’t get me wrong.
President Buhari has done brilliantly in infrastructure. I’m sure years after he’s gone, many of his detractors today will grudgingly accept this fact.
But his divisive tendencies, seeming nepotism and the downward spiral the economy has had in his tenure cannot be overlooked.
Peter Obi.— Ufuoma Egbamuno (@Foskolo) February 2, 2022
My Top 3 picks for The Presidency.
Bola Tinubu would’ve been one of my top picks in 2015.
But we’re in 2022.
And Osinbajo, no matter how we want to say it, is a part of this mess.
However, I have gathered from very reliable sources, that the VP is one of two possible candidates favoured by President Buhari.
And to a large extent, the President still has a huge say in whoever will get the APC’s presidential ticket.
So, who’s the second possible Buhari candidate?
To be continued…