2023 and Godwin Emefiele’s Vantage Point by Stanley Ebube

2023 and Godwin Emefiele’s Vantage Point by Stanley Ebube

Editor's note: As permutations on where the two major parties should zone their presidential ticket to in the 2023 presidential election continue, public affairs commentator, Stanley Ebube, in this piece, says the Central Bank of Nigeria's governor, Godwin Emefiele, has the brightest chance if the position is zoned to the south-south region of the country.

As expected in an election season, political twists and turns are occurring at a nerve-racking pace. Eleven months to the general election when Nigerians will decide who takes over from President Muhammadu Buhari, nothing is cast in stone yet. 

Godwin Emefiele
Stanley Ebube posits that Emefiele has the brightest chance if the presidency is zoned to the south-south. Photo credit: @cenbank
Source: Twitter

Within the two major political parties, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), there are contentious issues that are giving the parties a headache. Because those issues are not peculiar to either the ruling party or the opposition, both the APC and the PDP seem to be waiting for each other’s solution template to copy from.

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Interestingly, the biggest nuisance of them all, which is where the next president of Nigeria should come from – north or south, appears to have been resolved, albeit by silent consensus, because the voices for southern candidates in both the APC and PDP have so far been distinct, loud and clear on the matter.

If the general feeling is that the major political parties should and will field southern candidates, the next question is: From what part of the south? Former Lagos state governor, Bola Tinubu, who has since declared his intention to run for president, is banking on the belief that his party will favour the southwest. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s potential candidacy might also be premised on that conviction. 

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But if the presidency is heading south, should it head westward? Since 1999, the southwest has produced a two-term president (Olusegun Obasanjo) and another two-term vice president (Osinbajo). The argument from some quarters is that, since the south-south had a one-term shot at the presidency by providence, it should be allowed to complete its turn. It is based on this suggestion that former President Goodluck Jonathan’s name is being mentioned as regards 2023. Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi is also rumoured to be interested in the race, based on this argument.

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Indeed, those in support of candidates from the south-south have a strong point, especially since the two major parties don’t seem to be keen on candidates from the southeast. However, the choice of either Jonathan or Amaechi could narrow the argument down to a mere attempt at political correctness.

A much more suitable candidate, if the south-south card is on the table, is the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele.

While Emefiele has not officially declared an interest in vying for the highest political position in the land and has been under severe attacks to declare or submit his head for spiking, his eligibility, competence, and track record are not in doubt.

If he decides to run, it will be from a vantage point, because there have been permutations around certain demographic distributions and social considerations ahead of the 2023 elections, especially in the ruling party. Emefiele, who is from DeltasState, perhaps represents a workable option of a southern candidate without the extra burden of whether that south has ‘west’ or ‘east’ as a suffix.

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