With the 2023 Presidential election exactly 761 days away from today, Politicians across the two major political parties, the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have begun moves, secretly and openly, to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.
Although the Independent National Election, INEC, is yet to declare the next Presidential election open, it had last year, fixed the 2023 Presidential run for February 18, 2023, thereby preparing intending Candidates for early groundings.
Page 36 learnt that among those currently positioning for the nation’s top job, are former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, and a former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu.
However, after failing to defeat President Buhari in 2019, in a fiercely contested election, Atiku faces a big hurdle, as the two main political parties are inclined towards zoning their tickets to the Southern part of the country, for a balance of the rotational idea of power between the North and South.
Curiously too, within the ruling APC, the opposition against Tinubu also thickens by the day. Undaunted, Tinubu, his Associates say, believes he has what it takes to secure his party’s nomination, and will not back down.
Yet, there are likely Presidential contenders that are hopeful of beating both Atiku and Tinubu to the tickets.
The long list includes Governors who are preparing to join the race, and have been engaging in deft political maneuvering, crisscrossing States, forming alliances, and also reaching out to Politicians outside their zones, solely to have one of them emerge as the next President of the country.
Among the Governors believed to be considering a Presidential run, are the Ekiti State Governor and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala-Buni; who is also the Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee; and their Sokoto State counterpart, Governor Aminu Tambuwal.
Quietly in the race too with ongoing consultations, is a former President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who his supporters have described as the bridge between the North and South, Muslims and Christians, young and old, as well as the private and the public sectors.
Also, the Minister of Transportation, a staunch loyalist of President Buhari, is reportedly planning to seek his party’s nomination for the Presidency, banking on the South-East appeal.
Investigations have also shown that the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, as well as the Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu, are considering the possibility of throwing their hats in the ring.
However, for each Aspirant, there are different kinds of hurdles they have to scale before eventually securing their political parties’ nomination.
The opposition against Tinubu is no doubt gathering momentum, mostly from within the APC, as some of the party’s stalwarts are allegedly not disposed to him.
However, in spite of the obvious obstacles, both Atiku and Tinubu have remained undaunted.
While Atiku is believed to have continued to consult, even though he is mostly outside the country, Tinubu, who is currently also outside the country, has emerged a frontrunner, and has already set up political and contact groups across the country, many of which have continued to consult for him. Clearly, Tinubu is revving his political machine in readiness for the 2023 Presidential bout, and he is sparing no effort towards this goal.
On their parts, much as the Governors are constrained by the fact that they still have a mandate to fulfill as States’ Chief Executives, they are surreptitiously reaching out to members of the political class to build their networks.
Last year, for instance, Governor Tambuwal visited former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in his Abeokuta, Ogun State home, a visit many considered was more political than social.
In the same vein, Fayemi was in Kaduna State, last year, to deliver the 50th Anniversary Lecture of the Centre for Historical Documentation and Research (Arewa House), a political legacy of the late Sardauna of Sokoto, Ahmadu Bello.
More news later…