•Beyond Party Lines
Strong indications have emerged that all of the governors from the southern region of the country, have decided to look beyond party affiliations and have resolved to throw their weight behind a southern presidential candidate and particularly the flagbearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the forthcoming presidential elections. It was gathered that this development may be in tandem with the decision of members of the Governors across party lines that they must all work to ensure that the zoning system of power is delicately guided to preserve the oneness of Nigeria.
Sources close to the inner workings of the governor’s secret WhatsApp meetings stated that this decision had been sealed amongst the Southern governors as far back as early June 2022. The governors were said to have been unanimous that the presidency, against all odds, must not be consolidated by the north for another four years or eight years as the case may be.
Our source quoted one of the Governors from the south-south as saying, “In the last 15 years, the north has ruled for 10 years, which makes up two-thirds of the cumulative administration. It will be to our own peril to support another northerner to succeed President Mohammadu Buhari. We will have to work as southerners and not as APC or PDP or whichever party, to ensure that we hold our space. “Failure to achieve this will mean we have sold our spot”, he stated.
“The governors were also clear that only a candidate with the strongest of support base in the north could understand the issues better and make sweeping changes,” the source added. Further checks showed that 15 out of the 26 southern governors are keeping faith in the governor’s pact.
“One is Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, who is said to share a political umbilical cord with his political godfather, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”
“The second is Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State who shares biological ties with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Fayemi is, in fact, said to be preaching this tradition of understanding amongst his colleagues and has maintained a very cordial relationship of mutual respect with Sanwo-Olu and Akeredolu respectively.
The plan is to consolidate the whole of the south for Asiwaju and align with their northern bloc to achieve Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s presidency. Another source stated that some of the governors saw the union as an opportunity to prove their loyalty to Asiwaju after the primary election episode.
“People like Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, know that his chances to return as Ogun State governor is very thin, so he jumped into the united force to work for Tinubu. “His commitment may earn him some sympathy but we do not know if he can use this opportunity to win back the trust of the Ogun people.
Another source close to the Governors’ Forum also hinted that “contrary to the popular notion that Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno will break ranks with his godfather, Kashim Shettima, the former governor’s emergence as Asiwaju’s running mate has killed all the plots that they may have against Asiwaju. Borno state is however locked down for Asiwaju/Shettima presidency.
A Presidency source also disclosed that, to the delight of President Muhammadu Buhari, Asiwaju is said to have displayed exemplary leadership and discretion in the management of his Presidential ambition thus far.
“While many of the other Presidential aspirants made grand entries into some of the States they visited under heavy media spotlights, Tinubu has held far more strategic and productive meetings with political and traditional leaders across the country than any other aspirant in this race. Like they say in war planning, never notify the enemy of your movement,” the source said. “Asiwaju is always several miles ahead of the rest”, he added.
A top politician from Osun also added that the emergence of a PDP Governor-elect in the state will not stop the teeming support for Asiwaju in Osun State.
“I can tell you authoritatively that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has no challenge whatsoever in Osun State, our plans are in order and we are right on course.“There have been about 3 physical meetings and 5 virtual meetings since we launched on this cause. “One of the meetings was the one with Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike that made the headlines some weeks ago”.
When asked, of all the southern candidates, why Asiwaju was the preferred choice? A former Commissioner in Osun State under the PDP told City People that Asiwaju was the choice of the Governors because he showed up and stood his ground to protect the north when the south was about to cheat the northern politicians for the speakership slot.
“When the North was going to be cheated out of speakership of the house position, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu supported Tambuwal to emerge as Speaker. By zoning the presidency to the South, the APC and President Buhari have shown fairness and justice much more than the PDP. The PDP’s choice is in bad faith and hinges on tribal and ethnic sentiments. Such a presidential candidate, after successfully spending eight uninterrupted years as a vice president, can’t be trusted with power anymore,” he emphasized.
This is why we the southern governors decided to work together despite party affiliation, to support one southern candidate for the presidency, and work as a party at their respective state levels. “This simple act has proven that the southern governors have shown commitment to Nigeria’s unity”, he added.