Nigeria: 2023 elections in perspective, by Bulama A. Lamba
Bulama A. Lamba
The emergence of Dr Iyorchia Ayu as the National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has closed and opened many gateways leading to who emerges as the presidential contender of the PDP and also the winner of the 2023 presidential elections,
Party differences notwithstanding will kick start the beginning of the process of the machinery that will usher in the new President of Nigeria, come 2023.
The success or failure of any of the two major political parties in Nigeria – All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to produce the next elected president is being cooked within the two political parties as the arrangement, or lack of it, achieved by one party will directly affect the success or failure of the other party.
Recent political manoeuvres in Nigeria have shown a great and strong intra-party fighting more than inter-party political jigsaw because becoming the flag bearer of any party is even harder than winning the general election.
Mr Ayu’s profile is what will cause a great stampede or favour in PDP in choosing who becomes the party’s flag bearer.
In Nigeria, despite religious and ethnic differences, we go to school together, we go to the same market, we celebrate occasions together, we travel together – by road, sea and air, work in the same offices together, we manage businesses together but when it comes to elections, that is when you will see one tribe accusing another and one person neglecting another because of differences of religion. So, religion and tribe (or region) are the two main impediments to good political trustfulness and fair election procedures, because however you try to play your role, opposing tribes or people with different religions will demean you and the main sufferers are the politicians themselves.
In Nigeria, when it comes to national politics, you are either a Christian or Muslim, northerner or southerner but beyond this, a northerner is always assumed to be a Muslim just like a southerner is always taken or must be a Christian. You can confirm this if, for example, one party nominates a Muslim Igbo or a Hausa Christian to be their presidential candidate, his failure will be announced even before the election day. The only exception to this strong but unwritten rule are the Yorubas who do not discriminate along religious lines but strongly on tribal.
Back to PDP’s inner wrangling; many people want to vie for the presidential ticket under the banner of PDP but majority of them are from the north, with one or two from the south.
The major problem at stake is, most of the contenders are the very persons that are financing the operations of the party with some supplement from the governors of the party and majority of them don’t have a good political structure on ground.
In the case of PDP, since the national chairman is from the north-central, and they have a little stake in the south west, their presidential candidate may likely emerge from North-East, North-West, South-East or South-South as already, majority of the prospective candidates (as at now) are from these mentioned zones: NE- H.E Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (Wazirin Adamawa); H.E Bala Mohammed (Kauran Bauchi and Governor of Bauchi State) and H.E Sule Lamido (former Governor of Jigawa State). From NW, there are H.E Dr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (former Governor of Kano State) – H.E Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (Governor of Sokoto State) and H.E Barr. Kabiru Tanimu Turaki SAN. SS- H.E Nyesom Wike (Governor of Rivers State), while others are: Dr Sen. Bukola Saraki (Former Governor of Kwara State and former Senate President) – NC and Dr Doyin Okupe (former Presidential Spokesman) – SW.
In general, the presidential contest under the umbrella of PDP is narrowed to four geo-political zones of North-East, North-West, South-East and South-South, and if Nyesom Wike truly stands by his words of non-interest, then the presidential candidate of the party will be produced from either North-East or North-West geopolitical regions of the north since North-Central region has already produced the national chairman.
In APC, because of the respect to constituted authority and hierarchy, there are a lot of differences to that of PDP as APC has fewer independent candidates than those seeking to be anointed. The analysis on APC cannot be easily made now since they are yet to hold their national convention, that notwithstanding, APC affairs is mainly those of the northern region (which comprises of North-Central, North-East and North-West) and South-West zone.
The war to produce APC’s presidential candidate started a long time ago with the Yorubas waiting for the party to ask them to produce the presidential candidate from within themselves or to anoint one of them, which up to now the APC did not say anything on the mode or criteria that it will use to produce its presidential candidate for the much-awaited 2023 presidential election since it is yet to hold its national convention/congress. It is the outcome of the national convention that will signal the process of production of its presidential flag bearer. If the national chairman happens to come from any of the northern states, then the way is being paved for its presidential candidate to come from the South-West (Yoruba States). If, on the other hand, the national chairman is from the South-West, then it is an indicator that the presidential flag bearer of the party will come from any of the northern states; an exception to this opinion is where the national chairman of the APC is produced from either South-East or South-South as this will make it more competitive and will embrace the South-East and or South-South regions into its fold and with the massive defections recorded from the South-East region, giving them the national chairmanship slot can be significant and will even weaken the agitation for a Biafran state.
Two candidates have already shown their strong interests to vie for the presidential ticket of their party, APC – Professor Yemi Osinbajo (Vice President of Nigeria) and Bola Ahmed Tinubu (Nigeria’s APC National leader), and they have even started making reconciliatory moves should in case the ticket is thrown to their zone or tribe.
The majority of the northern aspirants are only waiting to be anointed or waiting to be runner-ups, in case the ticket is clinched by a southerner as there are some northern APC politicians whose attributes, actions and credentials need to be noted, appreciated and make them suitable for next-level positions as some political analysts have given their opinion and made useful advice on the upcoming candidates in APC.
Hon. Mai Mala Buni- Ciroman Gujba And Chairman APC Caretaker And Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) is the sole person who has made meaningful changes in APC and therefore stands to be the number one person who will reshape the party to make it stronger in order to win the next presidential election. I do not know where to begin when it comes to giving details of Buni’s profile and the various successes achieved by him in the last two decades of his political career. Some political analysts are even clamouring for Buni to be given the presidential ticket considering how he can manage a growing state like Yobe and a strong national political party like APC simultaneously and achieve over 80% successes in all the two major projects he is handling.
Particular reference must be made on how he settled the grievances of those that left the party and made them return to the party, negotiated with different factions in the party and also strengthened the party by bringing other party faithful into the APC.
Buni was able to uplift Yobe State from the dilapidated condition he met it two and half years ago, where he recorded tremendous achievements in almost all the segments of the state and recorded a lot of successes during his fifteen months’ leadership of the APC in his capacity as the Chairman Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) which no other politician has achieved close to what he has achieved in the political history of Nigeria. Buni has collapsed many political parties into the APC by wooing politicians (political investors) into the APC in their thousands and has weakened the strength of almost all the rival political parties as it is now almost a daily routine to receive new converts into the APC.
Buni has dwarfed almost all politicians in Nigeria; this can be attested to seeing how he brought former and serving governors, former and serving senators, former and serving members of House of Representatives, old-time politicians retired politicians and many other Nigerians into the APC.
Seeing what Buni has achieved so far, some political observers are of the opinion that Buni will carry all Nigerians, should he be given the chance to rule the country and if circumstances did not permit so, then he should be given the presidential runner-up slot because Buni has passed the examination even before the examination date.
Apart from Buni, others worth noting or aspiring for one position or the other are; H.E Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum (Borno State Governor); H.E Nasir El-Rufa’i – (Governor of Kaduna State); Amb. Babagana Kingibe; Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, PhD – (Sardaunan Bade and Senate President); Yakubu Dogara – (Former Speaker, House of Representatives); Barr. Boss Mustapha – (Secretary to Federal Government) to mention but few.
Based on the above analysis and barring unforeseen circumstances, North-East and South-West have a brighter chance of producing the next President, Vice President or both, of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Only time will tell.
Bulama A. Lamba can be reached via email @ email@example.com and via telephone at 2348034085300.
Nigeria: 2023 elections in perspective, by Bulama A. Lamba