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Editor's note: In this piece, a Lagos-based journalist and good governance advocate, Arogbonlo Israel, writes on the possibility of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to succeed President Buhari in 2023.
Ahead of the 2023 presidential election, many Nigerians have been wondering who the next president would be. As it stands, it is a political puzzle that seems difficult to unravel considering the events in recent times.
2023 presidency: Between Tinubu's 'lifelong ambition' and Osinbajo's 'Nigerian dream' by Israel Arogbonlo
While many social commentators are of the opinion that the next president should be zoned to the southern part of Nigeria, others believe the decision of who takes the baton should solely be based on competency (the most credible to lead). But the question remains, who is the credible Nigerian to lead the most populous black nation come 2023?
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Against the backdrop of who leads whom, there have also been permutations and several schools of thought following the comment of President Muhammadu Buhari during his most recent interview with Channels TV, where he was asked who would be his successor.
Intelligently, Mr. President answered:
“No, I will not tell you, because he may be eliminated if I mention his name."
It is logical to say, Mr. President concealed the identity of his anointed candidate for the safety of such a person.
The big question
Several questions as to who takes over from Buhari have been asked by political analysts and writers of reasoning, but there is still obscurity in terms of who the anointed candidate is definitely, leaving us with the big question, who is Buhari's successor?
Already, several presidential aspirants have emerged in the APC family. These include governor of Ebonyi state, David Umahi; his counterpart, governor of Cross River, Ben Ayade; former governor of Abia, Orji Uzor Kalu; former governor of Lagos and APC chieftain, Bola Tinubu; and more who are still waiting for the green light to join the race.
Among the aforementioned, Tinubu stands as the most viable candidate to take over from Buhari considering his political antecedents and role in the ruling APC. However, the battle looks like a two-horse race between him (Tinubu) and his fondly called "loyalist" or put succinctly "recommended candidate." You may have to find who is being referred to in this stance.
Going forward, some eminent Nigerians have been calling on Osinbajo to join the race. Though Osinbajo had not commissioned them to campaign for him nor has he openly declared interest in the race, however, the Vice President is their choice to become the next leader of the country and every other person has the right to support his/her preferred candidate as well. The most important of all is to strengthen our democracy by encouraging healthy competition between the aspirants.
After Osinbajo's declaration, what next?
Without mincing words, Osinbajo may make known his intention to join the 2023 presidential race in the coming days, according to reliable sources. Though some may criticize his action for reasons best known to them, it is a choice that can't be altered considering the calibre of people backing him.
Imagine having the likes of a king and his subjects backing you in spite of the noises coming from outside the palace. This is the case with Osinbajo who many believed has been highly favoured just like the Biblical David who came from the least tribe in Israel to rule over the Israelites.
While we wait for this revelation to manifest, we must commend the good gestures of Osinbajo in being able to manage the political tension in recent times, especially when his party leader announced his lifelong ambition of becoming president even though he is still consulting with Nigerians; this attribute is such exemplary leadership that should be emulated by politicians who would rather resort to politics of bitterness over intelligence. Nigerians need a leader of good character and qualities, not the one that divides us across ethnic lines.
Borrowing from the words of Osinbajo just before the elimination of Nigeria’s Super Eagles from the ongoing African Nations Cup in Cameroon.
"No matter where we come from, no matter the faith we profess or language we speak, we have Nigeria in us. We are Nigerians and indeed Nigeria is us.”
Hence, Nigerians must accept in good faith who becomes Buhari’s successor in 2023. It is a game of interest and not a war that should be allowed to tear us apart.