Come September 2022, political campaigns will start in earnest nationwide according to the timetable and schedule of activities released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ahead of the 2023 polls, but Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the flagbearer of the All Progressive Congress, APC presidential election, has begun his underground campaign in earnest.
Ahead of every other political candidate from other parties, Asiwaju has been many steps ahead of the game from the time of primary elections, visiting governors, royal fathers, youth leaders, and people of affluence across the states of Nigeria.
Barely a month after he had won the primary election, Asiwaju launched another stage of his campaign that is within the ambit of the constitution. He has decided to close ranks with key opposition parties across the states and he’s already gaining ground, according to a reliable report.
While the social media warriors are busy mudslinging one another and criticizing their candidates, Asiwaju has re-visited no fewer than 30 key influencers in the opposition parties. This includes the PDP. Yes, you read right.
From the day Asiwaju had been declared the winner of the APC, primary, he had made plans to penetrate the opposition camp and win a cross-section of the faction over. About a couple of weeks ago four southern governors had met with Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike at his state house for an undisclosed reason.
In the meeting was the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Dr Kayode Fayemi, Governor Babaji Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, and former Ekiti Governor, Ayo Fayose.
A close ally to a presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, also hinted at the possibility of a merger before the September campaign between the Asiwaju camp and the camp of his principal, Kwankwaso. While negotiation is still ongoing, Asiwaju’s influencing tentacles have reached the core north from the northeast to the northwest and back to the north central with the purpose of securing a considerable number of voters within the opposition group.
Beyond the major political party that is ready to join forces with one another, there are parties that have huge membership strength that is concentrated in various geo-political zones and can be as powerful as the ruling party once they decide to come together. A close source in the APC told City People that the party now fears the micro party alliance more than the ruling APC, should the unity comes to life. “See, it will not be a child’s play. These parties are very strong in their states and they are coming together with other parties that are equally strong in their respective states. As I speak to you, there are over 15 parties that cut across all the zones, coming together and they are increasing by the day. “And these people are willing to support Asiwaju against Atiku Abubakar of the PDP. They are sure that Asiwaju will move the cause with his millions of followers from the APC and will also propel the financial aspect to push the union.
Last week, no fewer than 200 groups from the North Central declared their support for the presidential bid of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to be President of Nigeria in 2023, these groups stated that they emerged from various political parties in their respective states and have resolved to work only with Asiwaju. Asiwaju Tinubu, despite winning the ticket, has embarked on a nationwide consultation with various stakeholders and interest groups during which he has continued to unveil his vision for placing Nigeria on the path to economic sustainability and assert the country’s pivotal place in world affairs.
The spice of all the proposals is The Forum of Political Parties (FPP) which has thrown its weight behind Asiwaju. The forum consists of political parties (registered and de-registered).
Another group, South East for Tinubu (SET), has begun massive mobilization beyond party affiliation. This group from the eastern region also believes that Tinubu is the only politician in Nigeria that has mentored the highest number of politicians; strategically pooling them, placing them in strategic positions, and giving them wings to fly. These are the reasons behind the sleepless nights of many politicians who are aspiring for the Presidency as Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Furthermore, the recent elections in Osun and the clamour for change of leadership in Ogun State is a clear pointer that most PDP members have resolved to cast their votes for Asiwaju during the presidential elections but vote for their preferred candidate in their states.
In Ogun for instance, the regular voters have declared they will vote for Ladi Adebutu at the state level and cast their votes for Tinubu for President. It is in the same line that the Osun voters also vowed to vote Asiwaju for President despite kicking out APC in the state. These and more, are pointers that the 2023 elections will not be determined by party affiliation but by the personality of the candidate and what the people want.