There is uneasy calm in the southern region over the 2023 election and plot to whittle down the influence of the national leader of the All Progressive Party, APC Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, following the unfolding political game plan of the northern cabal
Though the 2023 election is still far off, the state APC is said to be worried by recent developments which showed some northern powerbrokers are not willing to relinquish power to any southern leader who cannot be controlled.
The cabals are not only not only showing interest but also said to be poaching some key players from the south to weaken the structure ahead 2023 elections. These players are expected to challenge the authority of Asiwaju, who has been perceived as the major threat from the region.
Over the years since the beginning of the fourth republic, Asiwaju has been at the forefront of every political era and has played a key role in the decision of who gets what, majorly in the southwest and at the central.
The swelling rank of “disgruntled members” of the party in the southern region has become a major concern as most of the members who have enjoyed the benevolence of the party leader to consolidate themselves in power have found political convenience in the arms of the northern power brokers, thereby causing unease in the dynasty, at a time the opposition has vowed to checkmate the dominance of the APC leader in the state ahead of the 2023 elections.
As of today the schisms in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), have led to the formation of at least two different camps: Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna State, and Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transport on one side; and Tinubu, the national leader of the APC and deposed chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole, on the other.
Other factions within the party include senior party people such as Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu, Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, Works Minister Babatunde Fashola. For now they are discreet about their ambitions but many have their eyes on the succession in 2023
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is a master strategist, generalissimo, who has dominated the politics of Nigeria’s commercial capital for over two decades, Tinubu’s presidential ambition, has long been overdue and expected to make a run for the country’s top job.
His formidable political network, a propensity for deal-making and substantial personal wealth give him a head start over many other contenders.
In 2023 presidential elections, Tinubu has been coquettish. After the latest rumpuses in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), in which Tinubu and his allies seemed to have lost out, he mocked those pundits who purported to know his political intentions.
This is why it is believed that the northern cabals are devising political calculation to cut the wings of every possible threat from the south and further strengthening the unity of the north.
According to pundits, the appointment and swift confirmation of the new Chairman of the EFCC, Abdul Rasheed Bawa is a strong mechanism to distract southern power brokers and those they see as threat to the northern game plan.
No sooner has Bawa stepped in as the substantive chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, steps up his probe against the south.
The EFCC late 2020 wrote the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, asking the body to furnish it with more information on Tinubu’s asset declaration.
Recall that when Tinubu was the governor of Lagos between 1999 and 2007, the new EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, was then Zonal Head of the commission in Lagos, and he signed the letter to the CCB for the then Acting Chairman.
It is believed that the appointment of Bawa as EFCC Chairman will give him more power to probe Tinubu ahead of 2023, noting that the information in the letter is to probe into the eight-year reign of Tinubu as governor of Lagos State.
The EFCC had dragged Tinubu before the CCB during the administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan
But the bureau threw out the case as the commission did not have substantial information to nail the former governor. It is believed that the commission has now gotten more information to think of re-opening the case again, and cutting short whatever ambition he may have to either assume the rank of the presidency or handpicking a loyalist from the South. The mandatory NIN registration is another plot that most Nigerians have not noticed.
Whilst the southern region is having troubles getting validation for National Identification Number, NIN, the northern region registers people in hundreds of thousands every day.
There are also indications that citizens from neighboring countries are trouping in from Adamawa, Borno and Katsina to get their NIN registration done. These people, once the NIN registration is completed, qualifies them as Nigerians to vote ahead of 2023.
As of now the 3 key states that determine Nigeria’s elections, which are referred to as the 3 K states, are in the north; Katsina State, Kaduna State, and Kano State. In 2019, the APC scooped 993,445 votes in Kaduna, 1,464,768 votes in Kano and 1,232,133. The three results alone is way more than the results of votes in the southwest including Lagos (580,825), Ondo (241,769), Ogun (281,762), Ekiti (219,23}, and Oyo (365,229). The southeast and south-south had the least voter turnout
The NIN registration will further, increase the voting power of the north such that no form of unity, however formidable will challenge the intimidating election result that they intend to produce in 2023. So, while the southern region is losing interest in the NIN registration, the federal government keeps extending the deadlines as foreigners troop on to become Nigerians through in NIN registration.
The grand plot to defeat the south is the APC membership revalidation exercise. The northern cabal are wary of the indications that the aggrieved members of the party may plot the same scheme adopted to decimate former president Goodluck Jonathan, by converging members of all the string parties to launch the APC which has today become a ruling party.
In attempts to guard against mass defection before 2023, the party leaders adopted the membership revalidation to determine those who are leaving the party and those who chose to stay. No sooner had the exercise started, all eyes was on Asiwaju, to know his next step, if he will remain in the party.
In a shocking move that defines his strong grip of the party influence, Asiwaju, on the 7th February 2021, revalidates his membership status in the ruling APC and made photos available in the media space. This further confused his enemies within the party, knowing that there are provisions in the party constitution that may deter any decampee, to contest in any other party once he or she attempts to decamp after revalidation.
With the intimidating voting strength of the north, it is quite obvious that Tinubu cannot succeed with support only from the south-west, he needs northern votes as well.
Will the eight million strong voter block that Buhari tapped into stay with the APC, regardless of the candidate, or will they go to a northern candidate, regardless of party?
For example, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the North-East state of Adamawa is likely to contest again for the PDP and fight for those eight million Northern votes,
The collaboration between Buhari and Tinubu in 2015 involved the latter being tasked with bringing in the south-west votes and providing a southern technocrat as the vice-presidential candidate. When the APC vote count from the south-west for Buhari slipped, it seemed that Tinubu had become less important for him.
It’s unclear how far Tinubu and Buhari trust each other. And whether Buhari would support Tinubu as an APC candidate for the next presidential election. Buhari plays his cards close to his chest. As we read, Tinubu has not announced his decision to run for President in 2023, but it will surprise few if he does. The threat of an EFCC investigation and the APC divided could thwart such an ambition but all the other contenders will have their own crosses to bear.
Asiwaju Tinubu remains a hero in the south, and in the country’s commercial capital. He would prepare his campaign with an acute strategic sense of the voter data and the political messaging.
Tinubu’s critical task would be to bring in allies from across the middle and the north to bolster his national reach – his deal-making in the past has proved effective but this would be his greatest test yet.