Tinubu is banking on three factors. First he expects to hold firm on his southwest support base.
Secondly he expects president Buhari to return the favour he did the president by supporting him to clinch the APC ticket and turning the huge support the president enjoys in the north to him.
Thirdly he stands ready to deploy the massive financial muscle at his disposal to oil his presidential campaign. Can these expectations add up and will it guarantee him success in his bid for the presidency in 2023?
Pertaining to Tinubu’s support in the southwest, this can at best be described as dodgy. Of the six states in the region, he can only be sure of two, namely Lagos and Osun where his nephew is governor and where Tinubu himself hails.
Lagos is critically important for many reasons not least being due to its role as Nigeria’s economic hub, but also because of the massive votes it commands.
Lagos is where Tinubu looms large and his political network in the centre of excellence is extensive and unimpeachable. But the same cannot be said of Tinubu’s influence in Oyo, Ogun, Ondo and Ekiti. However, if the APC presidential ticket is yielded to the Southern part of Nigeria, then for reasons of group solidarity it can be expected that the southwest will rally round Tinubu overwhelmingly.
He will clinch the APC ticket under such circumstances beating any other southern candidate from any of the three regions handsomely with some considerable distance to spare. As for expected support from president Buhari and the northern votes, there are no guarantees here for Tinubu.
From antecedents, president Buhari has never been known to “anoint” any political candidate. Knowing full well that the issue of 2023 presidency is a politically sensitive one, we can expect president Buhari going by antecedents to want to hide behind the need to observe legal provisions to evade supporting Tinubu.
“Asiwaju’’, he is likely to say to Tinubu, ‘’let us go by what the law and the courts say’’. Despite his best wishes, Tinubu should also not expect to have a full guarantee of northern votes even in the unlikely event of president Buhari endorsing and campaigning for him in the north.
First of all the massive support president Buhari enjoys in the north is not necessarily transferable to any other political figure whether from the north or elsewhere. And more tellingly, as a result of failure to live up to the expectations of northerners generally, the unquestioning reverence president Buhari enjoys in the north has suffered what economists would term ‘’the backward leaning supply curve’’.
Quite frankly there are places in the north today where president Buhari’s presence will be met with either hostile reception or ironic cheers of derision. For president Buhari under the circumstances to seek to introduce Tinubu as his successor will amount to the northern masses as provocation and hence counterproductive.
The situation is compounded by Tinubu himself and his lack of direct political connection with the northern grassroots. It is particularly instructive to note that Tinubu has hardly been seen or heard empathising with the northern masses battling with the scourge of terrorism, banditry and other existential survival challenges.
Unlike the late venerable Chief MKO Abiola who would as soon fly into northern communities and commiserate with them in the aftermath of a disaster bringing along tons of aid materials and in situ monetary donations and provision of amenities even before the government wades in, Tinubu hardly does that.
Tinubu prefers to outsource his connection with the north rather surreptitiously through proxies who he expects to deliver his presence among the northern masses.
This is perceived in the north as manifestation of inner contempt and disregard for the people of the region. How then can Tinubu hope to get the support of the north in 2023 with this cavalier political attitude?
Perhaps Tinubu figures that money which he has in almost limitless amount will be his ultimate joker in the 2023 race. He may not be far off the mark if he thinks so because Nigerian politics is majorly about money not political ideology.
I believe with this mindset Tinubu is most probably thinking to ‘’nairanize’’ and where possible, ‘’dollarize’’ the critical stakeholders and enablers of the 2023 elections to a state of stupor including even the opposition, such that the elections will merely be his coronation.
But again given the prevailing mood in the country which is likely to build up to 2023 and with Tinubu’s own glaring political limitations it is a toss-up if the approach of spending his way to the presidency will work. Perhaps this is what has emboldened the “young Turks’’ to have a go at Tinubu sensing that his strength and weaknesses are just about even Steven.
But their chances are hardly up to scratch. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state had to be heavily assisted by Federal might to win the governorship of the state. And his influence beyond that state in the southwest is zilch. Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna will struggle to keep a political toe hold in that state not to talk of the northwest.
Rotimi Amaechi has been effectively bounced out of Rivers state by Nyesom Wike his erstwhile political protégé. Nobody even considers Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as being of any political relevance. But because for their own political survival post Buhari, the ‘’young Turks’’ will not relent at their plots to keep Tinubu at bay, the APC faces a very combustible future ahead with very serious consequences for its survival. Like him or not then the APC remains stuck with Tinubu.
He is not only their political fixer, he is the single most important political figure in the party. And realising this fact, Tinubu will stick in there and duke it out no matter what. And from that vantage position he will send silent but ominous signals that he will either have his way or sink the party whose patent he holds.
source: Daily Trust
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