The battle for the 2023 presidential run is beginning to embrace some new thinking amongst the active players, such that could force the emergence of one of the outgoing governors as successor to President Muhammadu Buhari.
Already, these permutations had thrown up a Northwest governor and one of his counterparts from the Southwest, whose ambitions were reckoned, could help get the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, out of the way by installing a new executive that might be favourable to them.
But the snag in their plot against Oshiomhole is that the first term governors of the APC are believed to be on the side of their national chairman in the survival battle and also boasting sufficient number to help him keep his job.
Directly connected to the moves, Thisday gathered, was the plot to put forward a former governor of Zamfara State, Abdullazizi Yari as replacement to Oshiomhole, in the event that the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party bought into the removal plot against the national chairman.
According to Thisday, however, learnt that a majority of other members of the coalition against Oshiomhole were opposed to the choice of Yari for different reasons, chief amongst which was the fact that he could be worse than Oshiomhole especially, considering how he allegedly mismanaged Zamfara.
Even more central to the plan, report further gathered, was the move to truncate the presidential aspiration of a former governor of Lagos State and one of the national leaders of the ruling APC, Bola Tinubu.
APC sources claimed Oshiomhole might have become a major casualty in the scheming by some entrenched forces, allegedly determined to derail Tinubu’s presidential bid.
The forces championing the move against Tinubu, sources claimed, included serving and former governors as well as those from Edo State, who had put aside the fact that both Tinubu and Oshiomhole too were governors of Lagos and Edo States for two terms each.
“If Oshiomhole remains as national chairman, then you can be sure that Tinubu’s chances are 50% of getting the presidential ticket of the APC,” a source privy to the plans told report.
It was against this backdrop that second term governors and some immediate past governors were said to be canvassing the idea that Tinubu might be an “old school” and that a governor fresh from office or who might have just left office is better to succeed President Buhari, because of his understanding of what the issues are.
Curiously, the governors, who were said to have been contacting themselves on the issue, come from the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Yet, the desperation to ensure that a governor of their choice succeeds President Buhari in 2023, the source said, might see the governors sacrifice any of the National Chairmen of the parties involved in the anti-Oshiomhole movement, because the APC national chairman was seen as the main obstacle in their plot.
“A governor should succeed Buhari and the idea of having someone, who has not governed a state governing Nigeria must never be allowed again,” the source further disclosed.
Among the current governors and former governors being touted as likely to run in 2023 are Kayode Fayemi, Ibikunle Amosun, Nasir El-Rufai, Abdullahi Ganduje, Kashim Shetimma, Rotimi Amaechi and Babatunde Fashola.
Another factor that seemed to be going well for the governors was that a part of the presidency, which had not been disposed to Tinubu’s aspiration, had begun to detach from Oshiomhole as a way of stopping Tinubu’s ambition.
Interestingly, while that might be true, what is not being factored into account deservedly is that the president, Muhammadu Buhari, is still sympathetic to the national chairman, thus complicating the plot to remove him even as members of the cabal, who are disposed to the plot, are said to be treading with caution.
Some of the disciples to this group from the PDP included the party’s governors from the Southeast especially, the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, who sees himself already as a potential running mate.
The calculations of the second term governors from both PDP and APC, report was told, was to consider the possibilities of a former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, of running, even though his associates were already asking that he flies the PDP ticket again in 2023.
This was why their plan was to ensure that both Tinubu and Atiku were frustrated out of the presidential race in 2023, whilst pushing a better candidate, that they would be comfortable with and from amongst them.
Inside sources have also claimed that the cabal in the presidency “Are watching keenly and will key into it, depending on the forces that have the upper hand in the fight for supremacy. The governors are seen as the foot soldiers”.
The belief of the second term governors stemmed from the fact with one of them as president, his understanding of the issues particularly, the challenges they face in the states, would not be in doubt, adding that the implications of that would be the kind of camaraderie required to address serious issues of governance, politics and development.
They were quick to cite the era of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua as a handy example of why a governor should emerge president, insisting it was the only way to get the nation out of its many challenges.
Meanwhile, the move to first get Oshiomhole out of the way might not come as cheap as it is being made to look, because according to sources, whilst he did not stand any chance with the two terms governors, the first term governors had resolved to stand with him because they owe their emergence to him.
Although there were said to be more second term governors on the assignment to oust Oshiomhole than their first term counterparts, sources feared the assignment might not fly at NEC, a development which could afford Oshiomhole the opportunity to buy time and rally support to save his job.