•How It Will Determine Their Chances
Lately, you must have noticed that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu & Alhaji Atiku Abubakar have been frequenting some states in the North. We can tell you why. It is because they know they can’t afford to joke with at least 3 of those Northern States.
Though they have not publicly announced it, it is generally believed that both men will be running for the presidency come 2023. Many seem to have forgotten that the presidential election is less than 16 months away, but fingers are already pointing towards the fit, buoyant and fortunate of the aspiring lot in both All Progressive Congress, APC and the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. This lot includes several notable individuals, some of which have already tried their hands at grasping the mantle, only to have it slip past greasy palms. Of all those being primed to star as the lead protagonist in the show, none has experienced more traction than APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
There is the narrative that northerners don’t renege power so easily once it is gotten. This informs the doubting political spectators to believe that power will ever shift to the south when there is a strong caucus of interest in the north.
Since the beginning of the fourth republic, Nigeria’s elections have been determined by three major states in the north which have in the last 20 years polled the highest votes in Nigeria. The state includes Katsina, Kano and Kaduna, they are otherwise known as the 3 K states. In the last five presidential elections, winners of these three key states have eventually won the elections; Obasanjo clinched the 3 states and a few from the north-central to win in 1999 and 2003, Yar’Adua, won in Kano, and Kaduna with a few winning in the south, Goodluck Jonathan also got the support of these states except for Katsina in 2011. Buhari got the 3 states in 2015 and 2019 to become a two-term civilian president. The question of how Asiwaju will clinch these three states in 2023 amid the interest of the northern cabal has become the subject matter of pundits to analyse.
INEC record shows that these three states have over 12 million PVCs collected. Kano alone has about 5 million PVCs collected. This is followed by Kaduna and Katsina. Kaduna has 4.1 million (4,148,831) PVCs collected, Katsina has 3.2 million (3,187,988) PVCs collected while Rivers has 2.83 million PVCs collected. During elections, only 20 per cent of registered voters usually come out to vote in most states in the south, while almost all the voters usually storm the polling booth in the northern region, especially in Kano, Katsina and Kaduna. Getting the votes of these states is believed to be determined by loyalty rather than interest. Voters in these three states are one-way voters. They use their votes so powerfully that it can turn the result of any election around. The votes of these key three states can be equated to all the votes of South-South States put together. Same of Southwest states. This means that whichever candidate has the supports of these three states will only need a few more grounds to cover to clinch the presidential seat.
Asiwaju, as against the prediction of some political spectators, initiated and built a strong relationship with the governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje. The relationship between both political giants can only be imagined. In the last 4 months, both politicians attended events together and have been spotted holding confidential meetings.
Ganduje has built a very strong supporter base for Asiwaju in Kano. He recently held a seminar in the state with thousands of youth leaders on the ground to show their unrelenting support for the Jagaban of the southwest. The beehive of supporters that showed up at the open ground in Kano is the largest any southerner can control in the North.
So far, only Asiwaju has successfully moved around these states for other reasons and gotten popular support for the presidential ambition, which he has not verbally muted. He also has the support of all the lawmakers in Kano and Katsina at the red and green chamber. Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, and his fellow PDP stalwart, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso equally have a fraternity of supporters from the state. The red-capped Kwankwasiyahs are also growing in numbers as seen at the just concluded PDP convention heeled in Abuja.
Asiwaju also has built the same political relationship with the Governor of Katsina, Aminu Bello Masari inside source holds that Asiwaju and Governor Aminu speaks every day on phone about the state of the nation and how to tackle banditry in the state.
The major state in contention however is Kaduna State. Gov Nasir, El-Rufai has been resolute and unbending against godfatherism and southern dictatorship, and the governor saw Asiwaju as one.
He once attended an event in Lagos where he mentioned godfatherism and indirect dictatorship as the bane of development in Lagos, fashioning out modalities to decapitate godfatherism. The media translated El-Rufai’s statement as a slight shade against Asiwaju, and up till today, Gov, El-Rufai has not debunked the claim.
The cold war between Gov, Elrufai and his Kano counterpart, Gov, Ganduje who is also a loyal supporter of Tinubu is another pointer to show that the war is not yet over.
Except for Senator Uba Sani, who is representing Kaduna central, taking over from Shehu Sani, Suleman Kwari of Kaduna North is believed to have a soft spot for Asiwaju. Senator Danjuma Tella La’ah of Kaduna South is from PDP.
There are also indications that the northern states, including the 3 K-States will be more interested in a candidate that comes from the north rather than a southern candidate, this is why the PDP is rooting for a northern president so as to win the loyalty of the highly populated states.
In every historical episode where everybody may have written of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, even where it obviously seems so, he shocks the world by coming out stronger against the tide. It may be too early to determine the chances of any aspirant or candidate for 2023, but the question yet to be answered is that of a better option or alternative to Asiwaju at this critical political period.