Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu

2023: Much Ado About Emergence Of Grand Pa’s As Presidential Candidates

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar

(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) – As political parties in Nigeria put structures in place ahead of the fast approaching 2023 general elections, the odds seem to be favouring grand father’s, especially in the two leading political parties. At the end of the primary elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar emerged as the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, while Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu defeated other aspirants, including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, to grab the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress, APC, on Wednesday.

Coincidentally, the two presidential flag bearers are not new names in Nigeria’s political ecosystem. The APC flag bearer, Bola Tinubu, a grand father, had served as senator of the Federal Republic and also as governor of Lagos State. He also played very important roles in the emergence of the coalition that ousted the administration of Dr. Good luck Jonathan and threw up General Muhammadu Buhari, retired, as president of Nigeria in 2015. It was in recognition of his contributions to the birth and successes of the All Progressives Congress, that Tinubu,  has been acknowledged as the national leader of the party.

The other grandpa, Atiku Abubakar, of the PDP also has to his credit, a rich political history, having served as Nigeria’s vice president during the administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo between 1999 and 2007.He had also been a regular contestant for the number one political office in Nigeria since 2007, and sees the 2023 challenge as his last attempt.

With the emergence of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as the APC flag bearer, tongues are wagging that the grand fathers are dominating the political space and crowding out younger aspirants.Well, some of the claims might be right but the point remains that Nigeria’s Constitution did not prescribe maximum age limit for those aspiring to political offices. It only clearly stated the minimum. Against this background therefore, it will be unnecessary for any one to dissipate his energy on such matters, especially since the major consideration for performance is the soundness of mind of the leader and his sincere commitment to the welfare of the citizens, irrespective of tribe, religion or political affiliations.

While the desire by some citizens to see younger aspirants take over the leadership of the country is not misplaced, we must also recognise that times and seasons appear to be in favour of the grand fathers who have the advantage of deep pockets, relevant experiences and strong political networks across the country. These assets were not acquired in one day, it took them some time and investments in relationships. It therefore means that any one who wants to become Nigeria’s president must understand the process and prepare accordingly.There is no magic.

Now that the two leading political parties are presenting two options to Nigerians, it is up to the electorates to decide who among the two, or a third force that would best serve their interest. One is however of the considered opinion that performance has little to do with age, as has been seen in the poor performance of youthful governors in the past and current administrations. Being a grand father should not be a limitation for a leader who has a true heart to advance the course of development in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress deserve commendations for backing their words with action on the rotation of power to the South. It is a worthy legacy that will not only douse ethnic tensions but will also promote inclusiveness in politics and governance in Nigeria.It is also a credible foundation that guarantees a future for leaders of tomorrow.

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