2023: What Next for Southwest After Buhari Shuns Tinubu? By Oluwafemi Popoola

2023: What Next for Southwest After Buhari Shuns Tinubu? By Oluwafemi Popoola

Editor's note: Oluwafemi Popoola, a public affairs commentator, in this piece, warns chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from the southwest to be wary of who gets the presidential ticket of the party in 2023, especially as the person would likely be seen as a representative of the Yorubas.

The ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) remains the centre of focus for political watchers. The clamour for the southeast to produce Nigeria's president in 2023 is understandable and plausible but no serious political party would pitch its tent with a particular region that has refused to play mainstream politics.

The outcome of the 2015 and 2019 general elections remains a testament to this fact. It will remain a big risk for the APC to cede its presidential ticket to a region where their people have sympathies for the long-forgotten "Biafra Republic" reminding us again of the "Biafra War," the needless killings of the mass of innocent Nigerians, its gory scenes, loss of property, emotional torture and the untold hardship foisted on the generality of Nigerians.

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Popoola says the southwest APC should unite and present Osinbajo as the candidate of the region. Photo credit: @nighealthwatch
Source: Twitter

As it stands today, the southwest remains the best bet for the ruling APC. Apart from the fact that it held the ace for the party in the 2015 and 2019 elections, undoubtedly, it still remains the only region from the south that is capable enough to form a solid alliance with the north to produce Nigeria's next president. It is worth saying that by the virtue of the party's rotational arrangement, the presidency should rotate to the south, and arguably, the southwest merits it.

The ruling APC is now left with a state of choosing between two southwest presidential candidates being touted as its best. One, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who has already made his intention known, and two, Nigeria's vice president, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, who has not shown any interest in the office but may enter the race any time soon amidst different calls from many support groups who have sprung up rooting for him and begging him to contest.

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There are ominous dark clouds hovering over the presidential ambition of the former Lagos state governor, Tinubu. The more he keeps pushing his luck, the harder it gets to hit the rock. While it was earlier believed that the national leader of the ruling party stands tall among the APC contenders due to his influence and position and being a master political strategist and kingmaker, events of the past weeks have shown that those who we thought had the lead may indeed be struggling to play catch-up.

If Tinubu had reflected more deeply, he would have known he was confronted with several hurdles in his quest for the presidency. And I am sure he is oblivious to the sad reality. There are strong indications that both President Buhari's inner circle and bigwigs in the APC are not favourably disposed to Tinubu presidency. A situation that might not sit well for the actualization of his lifelong ambition.

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The southwest APC must come together and be formidable in their quest for 2023 presidency. Presidency won't be served 'a la carte,' you have to work for it regardless of the player from any region. Your participation in national politics remains a meal ticket to be served political power.

Agitations, self-determination, and struggle for power, of tribal, sectional, and regional interests have been what define the political space of different sovereign jurisdictions anywhere in the world. It is the reality of any democratic setting most especially in a heterogeneous society like Nigeria. In the developed nation political movements, affiliations, or parties most times find their roots in pursuing a common tribal or sectional goal.

Any attempt to field a candidate with a weak electoral value and one with too many pieces of baggage will put a dent in the chances of the southwest presidency. Nigerians are getting wiser by the day. Yes, money remains a big factor in Nigerian elections but it may play a lesser role in 2023. Now is the time for the people of the southwest to stick to that Yoruba adage that says: "A good name is worth more than a home of riches."

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Now is the time to look into the antecedents of all potential candidates from Yorubaland. Yoruba has never for once been lacking in good personalities that can turn the fortunes of Nigeria around.

With different names being thrown around over the past weeks. Only one of them appears to remain a very good sell to every part of Nigeria, and that is current Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. He has over time shown himself as a man that has a deep understanding of the problems of the country.

In every part of the country, he remains one candidate that is loved by all. Osinbajo is more like a break from the norm. He is a symbol of the new breed of politicians Nigeria needs to face the challenges of the 21st Century. Urbane; Liberal; and Intelligent. A Professor of Law. His oratory skills are what Nigeria needs to affirm its dominance in Africa and relevance on the global stage.

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The vice president's integrity remains intact despite different attempts to shatter it. For the first time, the Yoruba race has an opportunity to present to Nigeria a man with the intellect of Obafemi Awolowo and his eloquence can be likened to that of Bola Ige. Call Osinbajo whatever name you want but one thing is certain, he is not a thief!

A man who has had his heart set on the downtrodden in society. He remains the fulcrum that balances complex things in the government and the brain box behind most of the successful populists' programmes and policies of the Buhari administration.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Legit.ng.

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