The ambition of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023 may clash with the aspiration of his protégé, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who is also nursing the same ambition.
While it is still believed that Tinubu’s presidential ambition is still a rumour as he has not publicly said declared, Dele Momodu, a former presidential candidate and publisher of Ovation International Magazine, said Tinubu, who is currently in Saudi Arabia with President Buhari, has already began the race for the highest office in the land.
Momodu, who tweeted a picture of Tinubu in Saudi Arabia, wrote, “Nigeria’s next President in 2023? The race has started. Best wishes to one of Nigeria’s most influential politicians ASIWAJU BOLA AHMED TINUBU”.
Since Momodu’s post, many Nigerians believe that the likelihood that Tinubu will run for the presidency in 2023 is very high especially given the fact that the position will likely be zoned to the South after the completion of the North’s eight years.
However, speaking with Daily Independent on the development, a credible source in APC said while it is true that Tinubu will throw his hat in the ring in 2023, his ambition may clash with that of Osinbajo, who also believes that President Buhari may anoint him as successor in order to continue the programmes of the Buhari administration.
He said aside serving in acting capacity when President Buhari was abroad on medical grounds, Osinbajo’s commitment, loyalty and visits to markets nationwide to promote the TraderMoni scheme has endeared him to many Nigerians who believe he has what it takes to succeed the president in 2023.
According to him, the only way there may not be a clash between the duo is if Osinbajo declines pressure to contest due to his loyalty to Tinubu, adding that Tinubu will never sacrifice his ambition for Osinbajo.
“Yes, I think the coast is becoming clearer by the day on whether Tinubu will contest for the presidency or not. At least, Dele Momodu is an authority in the media profession and he is very close to Tinubu. Don’t forget that it was Dele Momodu that first hinted Nigerians that Saraki will likely contest for the 2019 presidential election, which he did but lost in the primary.
“One thing I know is that the vice president is also nursing the ambition. I don’t know the mind of the president but naturally, he will want Osinbajo to succeed him having understudied him and demonstrated that he is a loyal, honest and trustworthy helper.
“One thing is clear. The Osinbajo of today is no longer the one that was nominated four years ago when he had no political experience aside serving as Attorney- General and Commissioner for Justice under Tinubu. He is now a full-fledged politician and that could be seen in the way he ensured that Governor Ibikunle Amosun was humbled in Ogun governorship election.
“Tinubu may be popular in the South-West where he holds the ace but Osinbajo is more popular across Nigeria, especially with the masses given the manner he handled the TraderMoni scheme. So, it will be interesting times ahead”, he said.
In a related development, Afenifere, Yoruba socio-political organisation on Tuesday said the agitation for which region will produce the president will be greatly reduced if Nigeria is restructured and regions are allowed to develop at their pace.
Yinka Odumakin, the group’s National Publicity Secretary, said while it is normal to zone the presidency to the South after the completion of the North’s eight years reign, nothing will be achieved with the current structure of the country, even if the presidency is zoned to regions on a monthly basis.
“For us, the most fundamental issue is that Nigeria should go back to proper and true federalism. If we go back to true federalism where every region can manage their affairs, the struggle and agitation for where the president comes from will be less.
“People have forgotten that in the First Republic, Ahmadu Bello chose to be the Premier of the Northern region, instead of becoming Prime Minister of Nigeria.
“He preferred his lieutenant, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, to be Prime Minister of Nigeria, while he as leader, chose to be Premier of the Northern region because that is where the powers are. The reason for all these noise about which zone should produce the president is because Abuja has taken over virtually every area of our life.
“In terms of rotating the presidency, the normal thing is that after Buhari’s eight years, the presidency should come to the South but rotating the presidency every week, if we don’t do the right thing in the proper structure, the presidency will only benefit whoever is the president and his cronies just as we are doing now.
“What special benefit did eight years of Obasanjo brought to Yoruba? What special benefit did six years of Goodluck Jonathan bring to the Ijaws? The north has ruled Nigeria more than any section of the country and based on all indices today, the North is the worse in everything- poverty, children out of schools and so on. So, what we are doing now cannot work for anybody”.