Are you not surprised that as we move closer to the year 2023, many top South-West politicians who are interested in the presidential race are not coming out to make their intentions known? City People can authoritatively reveal that despite the fact that many of them are interested, they are afraid to come out for very many reasons.
One, they are not sure of what the shape of things would be in 2023. Two, they are afraid of being seen as opposing Asiwaju Tinubu the National Leader of the APC. Three, they are afraid of the huge amount they will spend from now on, if they reveal their ambition at this stage. But interestingly, right now, many politicians in the corridors of power are scheming and preparing to run for the Presidency, although, none of them has come out to say, “I am Running”, because they consider it a bit too early to say anything about their ambition. But their body language and activities have shown that they are quietly preparing for the race.
So far, the aspirant to beat is Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who though has not told anyone that he is running, but right now has emerged to be the only one with a formidable political machine that can deliver the much needed votes for him across Nigeria.
Despite the fact that he is still keeping mum, there are many influential South-West politicians already working for the realisation of his becoming the next President, across the 36 states. He has a pan-Nigerian structure that no other South-West politician has right now. One of his structures is called South-West Agenda (SWAGA 2023), which has many popular politicians like Senator Dayo Adeyeye, Hon. Soji Akanbi, Hon. Makinde, Israel Ajibola Famurewa, Hon. Adeyemi, Hon. Rotimi Agunsoye and many others as members.
As one political observer put it, “Tinubu is the only one who can start the race tomorrow morning if the whistle is blown today. He is concentrating a lot on the 3 K States up North, hat is Kano, Katsima and Kaduna, because they are the states with big numbers”.
But he is not the only one positioning for the race. Ekiti Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, too is preparing for the race. Over the last one year, he has been criss-crossing Nigeria, especially the North, delivering lectures and interfacing with the Emirs & the Sultan of Sokoto. What is helping him is the fact that he is the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, so he freely interacts with all the 36 State governors. Though he has repeatedly denied wanting to run contrary. He sees himself as the acceptable face of the youth.
One other politician, who is also positioning himself for the Presidential race is Senator Ibikunle Amosun. Over the last one year, he has been operating below the radar.
In Ogun State where he hails from, he is a formidable force to reckon with. In the 8 years he was Governor, he built a political structure that has been described as intimidating. He also has a war-chest that he can deploy to get what he wants. The fact that he controls a large chunk of the membersship of Ogun APC will help him a great deal. He also enjoys the support of Pres. Muhammadu Buhari, who is Amosun’s political godfather.
Equally in the race is Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo. It was learnt that over the last few months, intense pressure has been mounted on the VP to run. The pressure is so intense that it has become a form of blackmail on him to run, so as to favour the agenda of a group in the North, who prefer him to Asiwaju Tinubu.
According to an insider, left to the VP, he would prefer to be left alone to retire back to academics after he completes his present tenure, but there are those who feel that if power must shift back to the South, the VP is the one that can be trusted sufficiently enough to succeed Pres. Buhari. This view is largely popular up North where some key Northern politicians feel that Osinbajo can still be accepted politically because he has no political structure of his own, so he will be easy to control if he accepts to run. Lately, the VP’s body language also has suggested to many that he has been consulting widely, going by his recent trips to the North and Imo State, where he has been meeting political leaders.
One political juggernaut, who has kept a low profile is Ogbeni Aregbesola, the Minister of Interior. His name has been circulating for a long while now as a possible acceptable candidate from the South West.
Rumor has it that he is the South-West candidate that the North would not mind to support if the Presidency is finally zoned to the South-West.
They see in him all they would prefer in any candidate from the South-West to have. Religion wise, he is a practicing Muslim. And he is not confrontational in his ways. Explained a source, it was to position him for the job that he was given a Ministerial portfolio, which used to be the exclusive preserve of the North.
Also tipped to run is a 2-term Governor of Lagos, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola. On account of his remarkable performance as Minister under Pres. Buhari, his name has always popped up in the political calculation of the 2023 presidential race.
He has always been tipped as a possible South-West presidential candidate to watch in the scheme of things. There are those up North who feel he would be a good candidate for Presidency come 2023.
Over the last 2 years, since his name has been making the rounds, he has not said a word, keeping a golden silence.
Equally being mentioned right now is Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank and a former Minister.
Although, his name had been mentioned in the past, it took Obasanjo’s coming out to back him up, to give the rumor some level of reality.