- Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Legit.ng spoke with a young APC chieftain, Obidike Chukwuebuka, about his party’s chances
- Among others, Obidike commented on Afenifere’s endorsement of Peter Obi and what it means for the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu
- The former APC national youth leader aspirant also revealed why he is not backing Obi even though they are both from Anambra state
FCT, Abuja - Campaigns for the 2023 general election in Nigeria officially started on Wednesday, September 28, according to INEC’s guidelines.
As Nigerians gear up to elect new leaders, Legit.ng speaks with Obidike Chukwuebuka, a young vibrant APC member, over some trending political issues, especially those that revolve around the ruling party.
Political endorsement from Afenifere won’t transcend into votes
Recently, the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, announced its decision to back the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, for the 2023 elections.
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Being a Yoruba group, one would have thought Afenifere would throw its weight behind the frontline candidate from its ethnic extraction, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the ruling APC.
However, Afenifere’s leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, at a press conference in Lagos, said the group would not compromise the principle of justice, equity and inclusiveness because Tinubu is a Yoruba man.
“The southwest has produced a President and currently sits as Vice President; the south-south has spent a total of six years in the Presidency, but the Igbo people of the southeast have never tasted presidency in Nigeria, and now that the power is due back in the South, equity demands that it be ceded to the Igbo,” Adebanjo said.
The 94-year-old Yoruba leader added:
“Peter Obi is the person of Igbo extraction that Afenifere has decided to support and back; he is the man we trust to restructure the country back to federalism on the assumption of office.”
Asked if Afenifere’s stance will affect the APC’s chances in the southwest, Obidike, with a touch of confidence, said “south-west is totally in APC’s pocket”.
He said Afenifere’s endorsement of the Labour Party presidential candidate will not give him an edge against Tinubu in the Yoruba-dominated geo-political zone.
“Bola Tinubu has control of southwest politically, so any political endorsement from Afenifere will not transcend into votes.
“Remember, Afenifere has not installed any government since the democratic dispensation, but you and I know how many governors of southwest since 1999 came from Bola Tinubu’s political college,” Obidike told Legit.ng.
Meanwhile, like Afenifere in the southwest, there is also a socio-political group in the southeast that political stakeholders in the zone also rever: Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
Asked which presidential candidate he would predict Ohanaeze Ndigbo to support, the APC chieftain simply said:
“Ohaneze Ndigbo will be neutral in this election. Watch out as the campaign unfolds.”
Obidike: Why I’m not backing Peter Obi though we’re both from Anambra
Obidike, a former APC national youth leader aspirant, hails from Nnewi North LGA in Anambra state. The LP presidential candidate, Obi, is also from Anambra.
Despite being from the same state, Obidike told Legit.ng he won’t back Obi for president.
Hear him out:
“Peter Obi is my father, I respect him so much, he did well as our governor years back. His presidential ambition is a good one.
“It is important to note that 2023 is about Nigeria, not Anambra state. If you come to Anambra, Bola Tinubu has more political students than Peter Obi, so note that this election is not on sentiments but on the need to get Nigeria more united.”
Southeast’s presidential bid: Presidency is not a turn-by-turn business
As Pa Adebanjo noted, since Nigeria’s return to civilian rule, the Igbo-dominated southeast is yet to produce Nigeria’s president.
Thus, there have been strong agitations that it is the zone’s turn in 2023.
However, recently, one of the heavyweight politicians from the southeast, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, said it is not “feasible” for the Igbos to produce Nigeria’s president in 2023.
The Chief Whip of the Nigerian Senate added that the Igbos will have to wait “for another time to see how Nigerians will agree to zone the presidency to the east”.
Obidike appears to also share the same sentiment with Senator Kalu.
“Senator Kalu is a political mathematician, he sees from different angles. Bear in mind that the presidency is not a turn-by-turn business, it’s pure politics. Southeast will produce the president. I’m not a prophet to tell the turn of the southeast, but certainly, someday.”
Will Governor Wike and his allies back Tinubu?
As the crisis in the opposition PDP lingers, the camp of the Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike recently withdrew from Atiku Abubakar’s campaign.
This fuelled speculations that Wike and his allies may decide to work for Tinubu or Obi.
Obidike, however, appears to be indifferent about the prospect of Governor Wike supporting the APC presidential candidate.
According to him, “APC is prepared to win the election and with or without Wike.”
“Governor Wike is not a member of APC. But if he decides to support Bola Tinubu, it will not be a bad one,” the Anambra-born young APC member told Legit.ng.
Controversies over the APC campaign council membership
The ruling APC a few days ago had postponed the kick-off of its campaigns earlier slated for Wednesday.
There are reports that the postponement was a result of the crisis emanating from the composition of the campaign council.
Obidike asserted that the APC presidential campaign constitution didn’t breach any laws of the party.
“All interests may not be covered in the committee, but as a party man, if it’s not your turn today, it will be your turn tomorrow. The summary should always be, let’s win the election,” he said.
How Tinubu will handle the crisis in the southeast if elected
The Biafra agitation, led by Nnamdi Kanu, has practically turned the southeast, a zone known for business enterprise, into a war zone.
Rounding up the conversation, Legit.ng asked Obidike what he would advise Tinubu to do to stop the violence in the southeast if he becomes president in 2023.
“The killings in the southeast are multi-faceted, I believe strongly that there will be a round table discussion when Bola Tinubu wins. This will certainly solve the issues we are facing,” he responded.
2023 presidency: EIU predicts Tinubu's victory
Meanwhile, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) predicted victory for Tinubu.
Tinubu's choice of Kashim Shettima, a former governor of Borno state and a fellow Muslim, as his running mate has continued to generate controversy in the APC and across Nigeria.
However, the EIU said it does not appear that the same-faith ticket would affect the chances of the former Lagos state governor in the 2023 presidential election.