EVALUATION TIME, to rethink and strategize the south-east bid, for Nigeria’s presidency in 2023. Salihu Tanko Yakasai, a former Special Adviser on Media, to Kano State Governor, Abdulahi Ganduje; and son of elder statesman and founding member of Arewa Consultative Forum, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai; on Arise Television, interview “Morning Show”, on Friday, said it is delusion for the south-east to think of producing APC’s presidential candidate in 2023.
Dave Umahi, Governor of Ebonyi State, in November 2020, took a plunge into the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC; from the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; the platform on which he was elected and serving two terms of eight years, as governor; on the idea that APC would give the 2023 presidential slot to the south-east region.
Yakasai, a staunch member of APC in Kano State, said Umahi missed the mark, if the reason why he decamped to ruling All Progressives Congress, APC; from the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; was for the region to produce the next presidential candidate for the ruling party.
He said APC was certain to zone the 2023 presidential candidate to the south, and specifically, to the south-west; and the potential candidate of the ruling party, will come from the south-west and not the south-east. He was, also, specific on possible candidates from the south-west to be considered for APC’s presidential ticket. They include Bola Tinubu, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, or Kayode Fayemi, present Governor of Ekiti State.
SPEAKING ON UMAHI’S illusion for south-east presidency in 2023, on APC’S platform, Yakasai said: “Umahi should tell us if APC has promised him and other governors from his region if they are going to give power to them in 2023. If his reason for decamping is that PDP is not going to give power to the South-East, then, has there been any assurance by the APC that they are going to give power to a candidate from the South-East?
“That is a question that should be put to him because as far as I am concerned, I have not seen any indicator that APC is going to field any candidate from the South-East, to be frank, and candid. I do not have one preferred candidate from the South-West but there are some people that have the potential”.
The south-east has no foreseeable presidential candidate, emerging from that region on APC platform for the 2023 election. Yakasai argued on the difference between indicating interest and ability to win general election. A candidate to win presidential election, he said, should be a “bridge-builder, someone that across the region can galvanize support, galvanize votes and who is being seen as a nationalist”.
Yakasai said there are number of such candidates in south-west which include “Bola Ahmed Tinubu; we have the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo; and to some extent, Governor of Ekiti that is being put out there as a potential candidate. All these people are potential candidates that the party can go for; anyone of them”. And the south-east region has no such candidate to present to the ruling party, if it has, it should present such candidate.
ON WHY THE SOUTH-WEST should produce APC’s presidential candidate, Yakasai said the zone enormously supported the creation of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC. The region also contributed largely to the victory of the party, and the emergency of Buhari as president in 2015 election.
His words: “In the APC, power should rotate to the South and even in the South, I’m of the opinion that the candidate of the APC should come from the South-West in particular and I have my reason for saying that.
“The reason is simply because I know, being a part of APC family, I know what the South-West contributed to the victory of the APC in the 2015 general elections. Even in the formation of the party, they contributed immensely to the formation of the party as well as the success of the party in the general elections.
“And as such, even if you look at the major contenders in the APC, they are majorly from the South-West region of the country. I see no reason why the rest of the party should not put its weight behind a candidate of their choice for the general elections”. And added that it will be injustice for northerner to succeed Buhari.
NOVEMBER 2020, Dave Umahi, Governor of Ebonyi State, and Chairman of South-East Governor’s Forum, defected from the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; to the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC. He claimed that his reason for defecting to the ruling party was because of “injustice” meted to the zone by PDP, which has enjoyed overwhelming support from the region.
At a rally where he announced his defection, Umahi said: “I offered this movement (defection) as a protest to injustice being done to South-East by the PDP. Since 1999, the South-East have supported the PDP. At a time the five states were all PDP. One of the founding members of the PDP was from South-East, the late former Vice President, Alex Ekwueme.
“It is absurd that since 1999 going to 2023, the South-East will never be considered to run for presidency under the PDP. And this is my position and will continue to be my position”; and added that “there are a lot of qualified persons from South-East”.
NDIGBO’S QUEST for rotation presidency to south-east, the sound and the fury. The spirit of welding political power, in the science of politics, has never being on request. In the quest for power — power is sought for; power is negotiated; power involves reaching out; power involves consultations; power involves strategic engagements; among others.
Nigeria’s politics of power rotation, the scramble for power; is the south-east leaders ready for it? What next? Many questions.