By Enenche Enenche
The party primaries for the 2023 general elections have come and gone, and winning in the general elections is a top priority for the winners.
Here is an analysis of likely political dynamics that will play out in the choice of vice-presidential candidates for the top presidential candidates.
In Nigeria, religion, tribe and money play major roles in elections, the tribe or religion of candidates are most times over emphasized than competence and potential. This problem is part of the inherited liabilities from colonialism that still wreak havoc in our lives as a people.
Here are the strengths and weaknesses, chances of the following candidates;
1. ASIWAJU BOLA AHMED TINUBU
Senator Bola Tinubu is the Presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC. He the current vice-president, who he presented for the post in 2014 is among the contestants he defeated in the primaries.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu in all fairness to him has paid his dues, his democratic credentials are deep. No politician in Nigeria today can match his records in terms of human capital and democratic developments in Nigeria.
He fought the military regime of Gen. Sani Abacha and ran into exile. He came back after the death of Gen. Sani Abacha, contested and won to be governor of Nigeria’s economic nerve centre, Lagos state. As governor, he fought the excesses of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime, he reinforced democratic values by reclaiming many governors and other electoral stolen mandates through the courts and our legal system. He was also instrumental in killing the tenure relocation bill of President Olusegun Obasanjo.
In 2015, his Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) was among the political components that merged to form the All Progressives Congress that defeated incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 presidential election.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu has the Senate President, the Speaker of Parliament, the Director-General Budget Office, and many Governors that spread across the country as men he helped to these positions. Until recently he had the party national chairman, Adams Oshiomole as one of his men in position.
Adams Oshiomole was unceremoniously removed to tone down his influence in the party, and the President’s Congress for Progressives Change (CPC), one of the political components of the merger, manoeuvred to take the position through a “consensus” at a national convention.
THE ODDS AGAINST BOLA AHMED TINUBU.
I will like to highlight the odds against him for the sake of time.
I. The issue of where his vice will come from? This is a big challenge for him. He is a Muslim from the south-west, and to win the support of the north who are predominately Muslims, he needs a Muslim vice, and this has not gone down well with the Christians. The liberal Christians think that there is no big deal since his wife is a Christian. Next week Friday we shall know who his vice will be. If I am in his position, I will pick a Muslim vice if truly I am serious to win the election. In the 1993 presidential election, MKO Abiola had a Muslim vice and he won the popular annulled June 12, 1993, presidential election.
II. Age and Health concerns; many believe that age and health are not on his side, this has made many young people rise in a renewed call for a younger candidate and are bending towards the vibrant former governor of Anambra state Mr Peter Obi of Labour Party.
III. His Party; the APC earlier announced the senate president as the consensus candidate through the national chairman. The opposition party PDP against the expectations of many produced a former vice-president (northerner) as her candidate and this put the APC in a tight corner. The party wanted to bring in the senate president who is from the same zone as the PDP candidate. The overwhelming support of Bola Tinubu overshadowed the move, and his emergence is like a victory of ACN over CPC within his party… The CPC component will produce the vice-presidential candidate.
IV. Source of his wealth; he is very wealthy and till this day, he installs the governor of Lagos state among others. A man with that kind of influence and affluence in a country like Nigeria where there is near system collapse will have his hands stained in the public fund, so many are questioning his source of money and tagging him as one of the corrupt entities in Nigeria that should not be allowed to take over the number one seat in Nigeria.
In my view and conclusion, with Peter Obi of the Labour Party likely to isolate the south-east votes, and Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Party (NNP) who I expected to have merged forces with Peter Obi, is in the north to split Atiku’s northern votes, Bola Ahmed Tinubu is sure of his south-west votes, with diligent work in north-central, north and south-south, his chances are bright if the current dynamics don’t change before the Election Day.
I will advise he selects his vice from the north-east, the same zone as the main opposition candidate and the likes of the Head of Nigeria’s Drug Law Agency, Gen. Buba Marwa, the former and current governor of Borno state Senator Shettima and Governor Zulum respectively among others are great candidates to select from, that is if the CPC component of the APC will allow it this way because none of the names mentioned above is a member of the defunct CPC.
To be continued… next is Peter Obi of the Labour Party.