- Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is, no doubt, a leading contender in the race to pick the presidential ticket of the APC but there is no 100% guarantee he would win
- The former governor of Lagos state may take some crucial political steps should he fail to clinch the presidential ticket
- Among other steps, Tinubu, if he feels the election is not free and fair, may hurt the party by choosing to work with a presidential candidate from another party
With the changing dynamics in Nigerian politics ahead of the 2023 general elections, there are increasing doubts that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu will get the presidential ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
There are reports that President Buhari does not want him as his successor. Some stakeholders are also afraid that Tinubu, who already has a huge political influence, may become too powerful with presidential power.
Should the former governor of Lagos state fail to clinch the APC presidential ticket, there are three different actions he may take:
Remain in APC and support the winner
Defections are very common in Nigerian politics. However, unlike many of his peers, Tinubu is not known for jumping from one political party to another. Rather, he builds political parties and forms alliances.
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Thus, judging from his antecedent, Tinubu may choose to remain in the APC and support whoever wins the APC presidential ticket if he loses fairly.
Recently, the former Lagos governor spoke about what he would do if he loses the primaries.
In a video shared on Twitter on Wednesday, May 11, by Jubril Gawat, a media aide to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Tinubu who spoke in the Yoruba language said he will accept defeat if he loses.
"If they defeat me, I will return home," the former governor of Lagos state said in Yoruba language.
Babachir Lawal, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), said Tinubu and members of his campaign team would lick their wounds if he fails to secure the APC's presidential ticket.
“He (Tinubu) is a democrat, every politician should not be afraid of election because the probability are two; either you win or loss. So, if we lose at the convention, we will go back home, we will lick our wounds and prepare to support the winner if he wins in a free and fair manner,” Lawal who is one of Tinubu’s key supporters said.
Remain in APC but work with PDP's Atiku underground
Being a big stakeholder in the APC, a party he helped to form, finance and nurture into what it is today, Tinubu may decide not to defect even if he feels cheated in the primaries.
However, he may decide to work for the victory of a candidate from another party as a way of punishing his party.
If Tinubu decides to go this route, he may find a good ally in the presidential candidate of the opposition PDP, Atiku Abubakar.
The duo have been a long time political ally; Tinubu gave Atiku the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) platform to Atiku to contest the presidency in 2007.
If Tinubu decides to work for Atiku while still maintaining his APC membership, it won’t be the first time the former Lagos governor would do that.
Defect to another party
If Tinubu fails to clinch the APC presidential ticket, he may feel strongly betrayed and decide to join another party to pursue his “lifelong ambition”.
There had been reports that the APC leader had a Plan B and would defect to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) if he doesn’t get the APC ticket.
Nevertheless, an unnamed associate of the former Lagos governor said he may explore other options if the APC presidential primary is not free and fair.
“But if that process is compromised, I can tell you for free that we will encourage him to explore other options.
“Yes, a lot has been said about SDP and Asiwaju. When we get to that bridge, we will cross it.
“SDP offered him a platform to become a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria years ago but, for now, he is in APC and will remain there until circumstance dictates otherwise,” the unnamed associate was quoted by Vanguard as saying.
Presidency 2023: Governor Yahaya Bello advises Tinubu
Earlier, Legit.ng reported that Yahaya Bello, the governor of Kogi state, advised Tinubu against contesting for presidency in 2023.
"Senator Tinubu is one of our leaders and I respect him so much. He has played a very significant role in Nigeria’s democracy and has built a lot of people.
"He has paid his dues, and with all respect, as a son to him, my simple advice is that it is time for him to allow his children take over the mantle of leadership and do it to the glory of God and his admiration," Governor Bello who is also contesting for the APC presidential ticket said.