The Three Horse Race 2023 – The Sun Nigeria


Jhe The emergence of former Lagos State Governor and All Progressives Congress (APC) national leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the party’s presidential candidate in the 2023 general election has reinforced the belief that the party in power has not abandoned the power-sharing agreement between the North and South, even though some party members and some worried Nigerians have called for the presidency to be micro-zoned in the South East, the only region in the South that hasn’t produced a president since our fledgling democratic exercise that began in 1999.

With the emergence of virtually every presidential standard bearer from the parties, the 2023 presidential race is a titanic battle between three big contenders for the presidency, Bola Tinubu of the APC, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP ) and Peter Obi of the Labor Party. (LP). The New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso, will also look good in the battle royale. The presidential primary of the APC, which produced Bola Tinubu as the party’s candidate, cannot be said to be significantly different from that of its closest rival, the opposition PDP. Allegations of raining dollars to the tune of $25,000 or less according to the midshipman’s war chest, and other inducements from delegates dominated the stories emanating from the colorful event. He also witnessed a great resignation drama for Tinubu in particular, which was started by Senator Godswill Akpabio, former Governor of Akwa Ibom State and quickly followed by Governors Kayode Fayemi of Akwa Ibom State. ‘Ekiti and Abubakar Badaru from Jigawa State. Others were Senators Ibukunle Amosun, Ajayi Boroffice, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, and the only aspirant and lawyer, Mrs. Uju Kennedy Ohanenye. Tinubu’s victory in the primaries can be attributed to his shrewd political strategies, his heavy war chest, his zoning and this uncommon re-enactment of Tamuwal’s ‘heroic’ melodrama in favor of Asiwaju, the strongman of Lagos politics. and by extension that of the South West, while only one aspirant, Nicholas Felix, resigned for Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.

As usual or may I say as was the situation in the PDP special convention, the Southeast aspirants did not perform well in the exercise which was from the beginning planned against the area. While Emeka Nwajiuba boycotted the event after buying the expensive N100 million nomination form, Senator Ken Nnamani did not step down for any aspirant. Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi got 38 votes, Dr Ogonnaya Onu and Emeka Nwajiuba got one vote respectively. Former Imo State Governor, Senator Rochas Anayo Okorocha and Ikeobasi Muokelu had zero votes respectively. As in the PDP presidential primaries, the Southeast delegates to the APC convention voted for their own interests and no one can blame them.

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When I came out last week, I wrote that the PDP delegates betrayed the Igbo quest for the presidency and voted as dictated by commerce or the Igbo sense of commercialism or the individualistic nature of the Igbo ethos. Let me edit it further by saying they didn’t betray anyone. They choose the ones they love, regardless of their reasons for doing so. They have this right which they had exercised in accordance with democratic principles. The results of the two presidential primaries revealed so much about Igbo politics. First, there is an apparent disconnect between Igbo politicians and those they represent. Second, Igbo politicians or rather some of them are part of the transactional nature of Nigerian politics. Third, they still see politics as an investment that will yield big profits. Fourth, Igbo politicians do not consult with the people they govern or represent and do not build bridges between sects and languages. These are the major factors that militate against Igbo residential aspiration apart from the larger Nigerian politics against Ndigbo in general.

It is not yet late for Igbo politicians to review their policy and make the necessary amends to move forward. Going forward, they must redefine their politics to reflect Ndigbo’s aspirations which include a fairly restructured Nigeria where the backbone units must be free and equal, the quest for an Igbo to be the President of Nigeria and whether the two ci- above fail, Ndigbo should have the freedom to exist on their own. We have witnessed since 1999 that the presidency has rotated between South West and North West with only a slight South-South interjection occasioned by the death in office of President Umaru Yar’Adua. I want a Nigeria where the presidency rotates between the six geopolitical zones of the country. It is the only way for a person from the South East to hope to one day preside over the affairs of Nigeria. The idea of ​​excluding the Southeast or any other area from the presidency will have disastrous consequences. If not now, it will be in the future. Let the politicians not rejoice that they can do these things without Ndigbo and go home and sleep well under the heavy weight of the great injustice against the Igbo.

This is exactly what Dr Ogbonnaya Onu captured at the convention of the APC, a party of which he was a founding member when he spoke out against the injustice of denying Ndigbo from the South East the presidency. An embittered UN remembers having sacrificed his presidential ambition in 1999 for Olusegun Obasanjo and Olu Falae of the South West. UN did not understand why Nigeria refused to extend the same gesture to the South East in 2023. Senator Ken Nnamani also hinted at the injustice of abandoning zoning, especially when it is the turn of the South East . He warned that the abandonment of zoning will have implications for the principle of federal character enshrined in the 1999 Constitution. If there can be no rotation of powers in the Constitution, the article dealing with federal character must be removed from -field. I say this because it would be hypocritical to have a federal character in the constitution and to prohibit the rotation of power in politics. That those who amend the constitution see the need to include the rotation of power between the six areas of the constitution. This is the only way to ensure justice, fairness and continuation of this federal arrangement called Nigeria. The inability of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to emerge as the APC candidate showed that Buhari may not have had a preferred candidate and may not have anointed anyone to succeed him, even though he had made such an undemocratic request to the governors. He further showed that no Nigerian leader is yet ready to see his deputy succeed him. This is happening even at the governor level. It’s a shame for our politics because we elect people who will always take the time to learn on the job. That’s why we don’t have continuity in governance.

Some of the APC convention hopefuls used the event to eulogize Buhari instead of telling the delegates why they should be elected. And they lost. I have yet to understand those who bought the 100 million naira form to come and quit for another person. Is this a new method of political investment? Now that the primaries are over, the CENI must demonstrate its independence and ensure a free, fair and credible exercise. Nigerians are watching and members of the global community are also watching. INEC should not compromise or fail in its duty. Candidates must start telling Nigerians what they will do in the next four years if elected and not what they will not do. They have to tell us how they are going to reach them. Candidates must tell Nigerians how to ensure justice and fairness in the political system, fight poverty and unemployment, raging terrorism and frequent attacks on Christians, how to restructure the country, among others.

I urge all eligible Nigerians to register and get their PVC. Young people should be reminded that this election will not take place on the Internet. When campaigning on the internet, bring your permanent voter’s card and be sure to vote for your favorite candidate in the polls. This is the only way for voters to change the texture and tone of Nigerian politics. Your vote is your only power to determine the future leaders of the country, do not play with it.

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