In choosing Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as its presidential flag bearer, the. People’s Democratic Party (PDP) flagrantly repudiated its rotational system by giving its ticket to the highest spender, thereby humiliating its members from Southern Nigeria. This decision casts a further slur on the credibility of the party that once, as a ruling party but now opposition party. Unfortunately, the exit of Peter Obi from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) unequivocally put an end to the credibility of the primaries elections of PDP. In Obi’s exit, PDP lost a decent candidate by using money politics to push the articulate politician out of the leading opposition party in Nigeria. Obi is now the presidential flag bearer of the Labour Party.
Winning the 2023 presidential elections in Nigeria has come down to a credibility issue. There is no doubt that President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) has laboured in the last seven years rebuilding the nation from economic ruin since taking over from the PDP under the leadership of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in 2015. PMB needs global credibility after he leaves office as the President who laid the foundation for the infrastructural development of a new Nigeria where the needs of the masses are met. If no credible leader succeeds PMB then all his efforts in the last seven years will be a waste.
This is why he himself, in his recent address to APC Governors and strategic stakeholders, pleaded to be allowed to choose his successor for continuity. The most credible presidential aspirant who can guarantee continuity of the infrastructural development initiatives of PMB is someone who has been part of the herculean process.
As for Nigeria’s immediate past Minister of Transportation and presidential aspirant on the platform of APC, Rotimi Amaechi, he tried very hard to pass the buck to PMB and his team when bandits and terrorists attacked a an Abuja – Kaduna train, killing some people and abducted many others in the process. This singular event has cast a shadow on his ambition and has exposed a weakness in his inability to take full responsibility for a crisis within his remit or even proffer tenable path forward. This shows he cannot offer to continue a laudable national infrastructural development project.
For PMB to truly preserve his legacy and shine in retirement, his successor must be an honest, loyal and visionary leader who understands Nigerians and is passionate about growth, fairness and unity. The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, perfectly fits the bill. He can effortlessly improve on the foundation laid by PMB.
An Osinbajo presidency will clearly put PMB on the global stage as the architect of modern Nigeria. Moreover Osinbajo’s track record as reasonable technocrat that is up-to-the-moment with global developmental trends would greatly boost the confidence of the global community that Nigeria is on track to effectively addressing her complex economic challenges. PMB needs Osinbajo to guarantee that the vision of a greater Nigeria where everyone and everything works is fulfilled. I agree with the writer who said that an Osinbajo Presidency will make PMB proud to the extent that he can boast in future that “…we had a plan and President Yemi Osinbajo finished it!”
The same cannot be said of the other APC presidential aspirant, former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who has assumed the self-defeating habit of attacking the policies and actions of the PMB administration in full media glare. The most recent outburst by Tinubu at a public gathering in Ogun State potentially seals his fate for a glaring lack of decorum. Referring to a serving Governor as “this one sitting behind me” then going on to serenade his audience about how PMB repeatedly failed in his presidential pursuits until he came to his rescue speaks to the arrogant, and haughty temperament that has unmasked he brutally bruised ego and sense of entitlement as the ‘mini-god’ of the APC and indeed Nigerian politics. The truth is no one is important enough to tell the king he became one through him, and expects to be relevant within the equation of power.
Despite what his spin doctors will want us to believe, Tinubu’s candidacy is simply deficient to deliver victory to the APC for the following logical facts. Just as in 2014 when he was declined the Vice President slot, it is simply untenable for APC to field a Southern President and Northern Vice President who are both Muslims. Moreover, fielding a Northern Christian as a Vice President from a region where the majority are Muslims would also be seen as an injustice and place the APC at a significant disadvantage. Given the Atiku factor, it behooves on APC to go for a Southern Christian Presidential Candidate that would mop up the votes from the South and also slot in a strong Northern Muslim as Vice President that would considerably deplete Atiku’s votes in the North. The Northern votes are expected to also be further depleted by Kwankwaso’s bid for the presidency along with Atiku. In this regard, Osinbajos growing crossover appeal among large swaths of the Nigerian population, from popularity with traditional rulers to his affinity with the teeming youths who make up over 60% of the population places him at a strong advantage.
Even polls conducted by platforms favorable to Tinubu gave ominous verdicts regarding Tinubu’s prospects. In a now deleted post on the twitter handle of TVC (owned by Tinubu) Osinbajo trounced Tinubu as the most formidable Presidential aspirant for the 2023 presidential elections. This was the outcome of a poll conducted by TVC on Wednesday June 1, 2022 with the theme, “Now that Atiku has emerged as PDP presidential candidate, who should the APC field as their flag bearer?” Out of 1,721 people who voted in the poll, Osinbajo led with 43% of votes cast, followed by Tinubu with 40%, Amaechi with 8%, and Lawan with 9% of the total votes cast. It is increasingly clear that Osinbajo looms large as the candidate that has struck a chord with the people.
Osinbajo is an acknowledged servant leader whose pedigree, experience and recent performances are not shrouded in mystery. If APC delegates and stakeholders truly want to defeat PDP and its desperate and hugely tainted flag bearer, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, during the 2023 presidential general elections, APC must choose a decent aspirant.
Only Osinbajo has the intellect, integrity and inner drive to defeat Atiku in the 2023 Presidential elections. He is the last credible man standing among the presidential aspirants in APC. All APC stakeholders and delegates must vote for Osinbajo this weekend as the party’s presidential flag bearer. This move will be the only guarantee of the continuity of APC as Nigeria’s ruling party from May 29, 2023. It will be a vote for consolidating our infrastructural development and ensuring our prosperity as a united and productive nation.
• Dr. Walero Ajiwo is a Productivity Consultant