There is no doubt that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu's declaration to run for the presidency come 2023 elections will be a way of testing the level of loyalty some of his proteges and allies have for him.
Already, while some bigwigs in the All Progressives Congress (APC) are drumming support for the former Lagos governor who prides himself as the kingmaker, some other prominent politicians in the ruling party have their interest somewhere else.
Needless to say, this divide will affect how Tinubu's presidential ambition will thrive or suffer a shipwreck if the worst happens.
This piece outlines and x-rays some pro-Tinubu APC chieftains who are throwing their weight behind him and those who, despite being members of the party, are heading in a different direction.
Over the years, Nigeria's minister of information and culture has remained a dyed-in-the-wool supporter of the Jagaban. Mohammed has been Tinubu’s chief of staff when he was the governor of Lagos state.
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Mohammed's political career has risen along the lines of the APC leader's prominence and sway. Thus, one can assert that the Kwara-born minister will lend his undying support to see his ex-boss emerge as president.
Governor Umar Ganduje
The political bond between Governor Umar Gnaduje of Kano and Tinubu has grown stronger. This is reflected in the fact that Tinubu has made more visits to the northern state recently than in the past.
Added to this, the political romance between Tinubu and Ganduje who is undoubtedly influential in the northern state is robbing off on other state governments in the region.
Prof Yemi Osinbajo
Many political scientists and analysts in Nigeria understand that although Vice President Yemi Osinbajo appears as an opponent of Tinubu as long as the 2023 presidential election is involved, he is never oblivious of the fact that he owes much of his success as a politician to his former boss.
There is a reason to believe that this age-long loyalty to Tinubu will play out in the events leading to the next general elections.
For more reasons than one, the current minister of works and housing will remain indebted to Tinubu under whom he rose to become governor in Lagos.
Fashola was one of those who disclosed that the Jagaban would be making his presidential bid known in January.
Femi Gbajabiamila, the speaker of the House of Representatives, is a die-hard supporter of Tinubu. To an extent, he could be said to owe his position in the Nigerian legislature to Tinubu’s goodwill.
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Gbajabiamila is listed as one of those who are drumming support for the Tinubu 2023 dream.
Governor Kayode Fayemi
Although a member of Tinubu's political family, the Ekiti governor's eye for the presidency may bring him to face his godfather eye-ball to eye-ball at the ballot in 2023.
Having been the director of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Campaign Organisation (BATCO), which spearheaded the victory of Tinubu in 1999 as governor of Lagos, the minister of interior is clearly one of the aspirant's allies.
But some opine that the recent friction between Aregbesola and his successor in Osun, Gboyega Oyetola, over the control of APC in the state would put to test his support for Tinubu in 2023 based on the kinship between the ruling party's leader and the governor.
Orji Uzor Kalu
The Senate's chief whip, who can be counted among Tinubu's friends has openly stated that he will match the Jagaban himself grit for grit in the coming election because of his track records.
Governor Dave Umahi
The Ebonyi state governor may be a new and loyal member of the APC, he seems to have carved a political path for himself with no cowardly fear for what some might call his superiors.
Umahi has even declared that God instructed him to run for the presidency.
He said this days after meeting President Buhari to inform him of his interest in the presidential seat.