Can Bola Tinubu Lead The All Progressive Congress (APC) To Victory In The 2023 Presidemtial Election?
After months of intense horse-trading among various power blocs within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, was Wednesday declared the winner of the presidential primary of the party.
At the presidential primary concluded in Abuja Wednesday, Mr Tinubu, who polled 1,271 votes, defeated 13 others in the race. His closest opponent was the former minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who scored 316 votes.
Mr Tinubu, while declaring his intention to run for the presidency of Nigeria in January, said it has always been his lifetime ambition.
He disclosed this at the State House shortly after visiting President Muhammadu Buhari. He was also the first of the aspirants to officially make public his intention to run.
Mr Tinubu, whom seven of the aspirants stepped down for at the convention ground, was almost muscled out of the race by stiff opposition to his aspiration by other power blocs in the party.
An intra-party war between some politicians and businessmen close to President Muhammadu Buhari, the so-called ‘Aso Rock cabal,’ and some northern governors over the control of Nigeria’s political lever had almost cost the party’s national leader his aspiration.
The faces behind the ‘cabal’ mask, represented by Mr Buhari’s nephew, Mamman Daura, according to multiple sources, are men who exert a great influence on the president.
Mr Tinubu’s ambition also received opposition from some of his erstwhile associates including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who polled 235 votes.
His recent outburst in Abeokuta, Ogun State, the home state of Mr Osinbajo, was also rumoured to have further widened the existing gap between him and the president. Mr Tinubu had publicly claimed to have helped to secure victory for the president, even as he boasted to have helped many political leaders in the country. He specifically mentioned Mr Osinbajo and the governor of the state, Dapo Abiodun, insisting that he stood by the latter when he was rejected by the then outgoing governor of the state, Ibikunle Amosun.
Many criticised Mr Tinubu for the outburst, and the president on Tuesday criticised the stance via a statement signed by his media aide, Garba Shehu.
Meanwhile, Mr Tinubu’s aspiration received a boost with the support of some governors, particularly those from the northern part of the country, who insisted power must shift to the southern part of the country.
The northern governors’ position countered the position of the national chairman of the party, Abdullahi Adamu, who announced to other members of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) that the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, had been chosen by President Buhari as the “consensus aspirant.”
Mr Adamu said the decision was a product of wide consultation with relevant stakeholders including Mr Buhari.
While the majority of the northern governors wanted the presidency zoned to the south, the Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello, rejected the stance and insisted he would remain in the race.
But the withdrawal from the race by the Jigawa State governor, Abubakar Badaru, and the declaration of his support for Mr Tinubu, further confirmed the northern governors’ commitment to the pledge.
Mr Tinubu will now challenge the candidates of other parties in next year’s presidential election. His opponents will include Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, Peter Obi of the Labour Party and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party.